What Disney Songs Remind Us About Public Relations

The PR profession has been around longer than Disney songs, and Alan Menken and The Sherman Brothers probably weren’t thinking about communications while penning their captivating tunes. Nevertheless, the lyrics of some of the most famous Disney songs remind us of concepts we may have forgotten about our great profession and illuminate some current issues and trends.

With the release of “Encanto, Disney’s latest animated musical, have a little fun and try to guess what song/movie the lyrics are from. Answers are at the bottom of the article.

“There’s a time for everyone, if they only learn; that the twisting kaleidoscope moves us all in turn…”

Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics. Don’t forget that your audience is constantly changing and remaining great communicators means changing with them. What worked 20 years ago may not work today, so try new things and you may be surprised with the results.

“It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small and the fears that once controlled me, can’t get to me at all… No right, no wrong, no rules for me, I’m free!”

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that everything is fluid and no ideas are off the table. Once the pandemic is over, don’t be afraid to continue to try new things and don’t forget that everything can change in a moment.

“Hakuna Matata? Yeah, it’s our motto! What’s a motto? Nothing. What’s a-motto with you? Those two words will solve all your problems.”

Gen Z — the current generation of interns and young professionals born after 1996 — craves authenticity. Make sure your brand lives its values. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Not only will your communications be better for it, but you’ll also have the ear of the next generation.

“Up where they walk, up where they run, up where they stay all day in the sun… Wanderin’ free, wish I could be… part of that world.”

As communicators, it’s important that we have a seat at the table. Don’t forget about the importance of the perspectives of public relations leaders to your organization. We have valuable insights that improve operations and outcomes and must advocate to be a part of key decisions.

“You’ve got a friend in me; you’ve got a friend in me. You got troubles; I’ve got ‘em too; there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you…”

Make sure you’re part of a community. Constantly learning from others makes us all better. Obviously, we’re biased to PRSA, but that’s because it’s a great community. As PRSA President Michelle Olson, APR, recently said at the Western District Conference, one of the best things about this community is that “PRSA people answer the phone (and emails) when a colleague calls.” Don’t forget, you don’t have to go it alone and others are always glad to help.

So, take some time this week to be nostalgic. Watch your favorite movie from childhood and look for a message applicable to your work today. You’re never too old to learn new lessons and then belt out a Disney tune or two!

Answers: 1. “Lion King,” 2. “Frozen,” 3. “Lion King,” 4. “Little Mermaid,” 5. “Toy Story”

Eric M. Wilson is a senior public relations educator at Wichita State University in Kansas. He is the immediate past-chair of the PRSA Southwest District, a three-time ICON speaker, a proud husband and father of two sons, an airline dork and a long-suffering Kansas City Royals fan.

Landis Tindell is the communications coordinator for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. Tindell is chair-elect of the national New Professionals section, a 2019 PRNEWS 30 Under 30 winner, a chef and musician.


[Photo credit: anton ivanov]

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