Picture a serene and composed Varys on his balcony, hands in his sleeves, suddenly disrupted rudely by a "Knock, knock, knock!"
"Who's there?" he says, "HODOR! Just kidding, it's Joffrey, open the door at once!"
"Ugh, not this sneering little devil again," Varys mutters under his breath as he opens the door. Joffrey squeals, "Varys, I command you to make me likable again."
"Do what my lord?"
Joffrey repeats, more forcibly, "VARYS! I am the king and I demand you to make me the most loved man in all Westeros!"
Varys looks piercingly into Joffrey's eyes, "If I may say so my Lord, any fool with a bit of luck can find himself born into power, but earning it for yourself -- that takes work."
If a conversation like this occurred, Joffrey might have learnt the art of good PR... but then again... just maybe.
Here are the Game of Thrones characters who got PR wrong, and those who got it right.
WHO GOT IT WRONG?
He's definitely the most hated character in all of Westeros -- arrogant, psychopathic and just plain dishonorable. He even makes Joffrey look good. Ramsay could definitely use better PR to make up for the fact that he has no redeeming qualities whatsoever (Just ask Reek). Ramsay is insecure about his bastard status, and he handles fear with violence rather than smart negotiations. He's made enemies within his own camp, and those who follow him do it out of fear and not respect. After all, who would respect someone who pulls out a bow and arrow when challenged with hand-to-hand combat?
The Maester says: The most obvious one: Don't be evil! Anger and fear don't make for a good strategy; to build an image, you need wise planning and good intentions.
Joffrey's very public and petulant temper tantrums and impulsive commands made his subjects distrust him. It almost made it enjoyable to watch him die.
The petulant child who thought that because he was rich and was the king he could do whatever he liked. His actions always failed to inspire the goodwill of his people especially when he had Ned Stark -- the most loved character of all -- killed. His very public and petulant temper tantrums and impulsive commands made his subjects distrust him. It almost made it enjoyable to watch him die.
The Maester says: It takes patience and empathy to create and have an image, without it, you will make a ton of enemies and be powerless to handle crises when they arise.
He relied too heavily on his title as Lord Commander and didn't take into account the sentiments of his army when acquiring help from the Wildlings, their sworn enemies. He may have had the best of intentions to save probably every human from the ice zombies, but it led to him being stabbed multiple times by his own men. He also has the reputation of knowing nothing, which probably explains his permanent pout.
The Maester says: Failure to communicate your intentions transparently to your team can lead to conflict and delay in reaching your communication objectives.
He's an intellectual, knowledgeable, and polished knight who never gets what he wants. Even though he tries to impress Daenerys, he will always be exiled to the dreaded friend zone because he doesn't make the right moves to get what he wants. His past history as a spy has cost him the trust he deserves and to make matters worse, he is unable to say the right things to earn his trust back.
The Maester says: In PR it is crucial to know your audience and be clear of your vision. Which then translates in effective steps to show them, how you can uniquely fulfill their needs despite initial setbacks.
Even though Jorah Mormont tries to impress Daenerys, he will always be exiled to the dreaded friend zone because he doesn't make the right moves...
WHO GOT IT RIGHT?
He is the master of secrets, mysterious and unpredictable. Varys's power lies in his network of informants so he always knows what others are saying about him. His calm and collected demeanor demonstrates his wisdom to handle any crisis situation without losing his respect or advantage. His best quality is that he does everything keeping the bigger picture in mind and not necessarily for self-gain.
The Maester says: A good communication person has a wide network that helps him to be privy to the most powerful weapon of all -- information. He/She will also have the edge to interpret how this information can impact and strategize accordingly.
He distances himself from his well-hated family and doesn't let his short stature take away from all his well-known qualities -- being small didn't even hold him back from fighting and winning a war. Tyrion clearly knows that humour and wit are his strengths and has an unwavering personality brand no matter what situation he finds himself in. He is also the type of guy who can slap Joffrey and get away with it.
The Maester says: Small businesses can also be on top of their PR game once they have discovered their unique qualities and strengths as a brand, which in turn enables strategic positioning amongst bigger players.
Tyrion doesn't let his short stature take away from all his well-known qualities -- being small didn't even hold him back from fighting and winning a war.
She is a fierce and confident ruler who makes fast decisions due to her strong sense of moral standing. Though her decisions may sometimes cause political fallout, she can always "fly out" of any crisis situation (see what I did there?) and come back ten times stronger. Khaleesi is ruthless to her enemies and loyal to those who follow her.
The Maester says: Never compromise on your moral compass in PR -- your long-term integrity and reliability is always more important than making an extra buck. Also, it helps to have a dragon on your side as the ultimate ace up your sleeve.
These people had what it takes to be successful at PR. If you want to do the same, regularly ask yourself if you are getting the type of response that you're aiming for, and if not, it may be time to learn some new PR tricks from these pros. Mastering them will help you conquer your Westeros.
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