Tattoos, the NBA, and PR

FireShot-Screen-Capture-044-Covering-J_-R_-Smith-Slide-Show-NYTimes_com-www_nytimes_com_slideshow_2012_12_29_sports_29smith_ss_html_refbasketball2The New York Times recently interviewed Knicks guard J. R. Smith about his tattoos. If you have ever seen Smith then you know that most of his skin is inked (slideshow right). So what does this have to do with PR? Quite a lot actually.

As I finished the article I was struck by the final two responses Smith gave to the reporter:

Q. Do you think you have a bigger, or different, fan base compared with most N.B.A. players’ because of your tattoos?
A. Yeah, I think they like the way I look. It’s kind of like a fashion statement now to some people, but it’s a lifestyle to others.
Q. What is it for you?
A. For me, it’s a lifestyle.

For Smith tattoos are just part of who he is. The most successful PR people I have ever met share this thinking. It’s in their DNA, something they are compelled to do. The last thing they think about is punching in and punching out.

When I sit across from young, eager eyes asking me how to succeed in PR I usually ask them why they want to get into the business. The hours will never be defined and the workload is completely dependant on how well you want to do your job. Your most valuable relationships will be formed when you are not “pushing” your product, during those moments when you help someone out. I can usually pick out the people that I will still see five years from now by how they respond.

So why did you get into PR?

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