A quick tour of the Stone Junction offices will tell you we love to use historical figures to inspire us. There are quotes on the walls from Maya Angelou, Jeff Bezos, Salvador Dali, Albert Einstein, Mae Carol Jemison, Stephen Hawking, Martin Luther King, Elon Musk and even Winnie the Pooh. It is a fun way to break down complex ideas into simple concepts that we can apply in our work. In fact, I think there are four historical figures who can, between them, teach us everything we need to know about technical PR and marketing. 


Be objective, like Astaire

There is a lovely anecdote about Fred Astaire watching recordings of himself dancing. The film would be playing, and he would be watching intently, the greatest dancer in the history of Hollywood, and he would refer to himself in the third person, saying things like, "He's not doing that right," and complaining about his own technique. 

The dancer had no preciousness about his own work. If it were wrong, or less than perfect, he would correct himself just as he would another dancer on set. As writers, strategists, and people executing marketing activity, we can learn a great deal from this. 

Everyone has had the experience of coming up with a brilliant campaign, seeing it fall flat at first and then having to correct it before it works. Something that correction can entail a complete about turn. Similarly, when writing, everyone has started an article, only to have to scrap it and begin again, when the original concept proves to be a dud. 

It is not only OK to do this, it is excellent practice. Ploughing on with a bad idea, which you are emotionally attached to, would be the only wrong thing to do. 

You must be willing to kill your favourite ideas if they do not work. This level of objectivity is the essential counterpoint to our creativity and the inspiration that we draw from places outside industry.

The bottom line is that great PR and marketing is brave, technical, simple, creative, eclectic and ruthless. It is not easy to be all those things, in fact it is not easy to be any of them. When you need a little help, look to history for inspiration, you will soon find you are standing on the shoulders of giants. 


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Richard Stone is the founder of Stone Junction, a specialist technical PR agency delivering international and digital PR and marketing services for scientific, engineering and technology companies. He loves a bit of Warhol and Duchamp, Beatles and Bowie and even Einstein and Astaire. 

His biggest passion in life is pizza is technical PR though, so if you are as passionate about it as him, drop him line on He loves a chat. 



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