Building PR like Springsteen

Creating dedicated fans, whether in rock and roll or PR, helps ensure success.

Share this post


Using a core out approach to achieve PR programming “Glory Days”

I recently listened to Mojo Nixon serve as the guest DJ on E Street Radio, the Bruce Springsteen channel on Sirius/XM. As Nixon was describing his motivation for including the songs he was playing in his mix, he explained how Springsteen’s first few albums — “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.,” “The Wild, the Innocent, & the E Street Shuffle” and “Born to Run” — did a fantastic job of speaking to the people of New Jersey and the surrounding cities of New York and Philadelphia. The songs were mini stories about characters from that specific region, and they gave the listener a clear understanding of what it was like growing up in that area at that time.

Interestingly, while Nixon (a North Carolinian) appreciated those early records, Springsteen’s fourth record, “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” made him feel a stronger connection to the Boss’ lyrics. His rationale was that on “Darkness,” Bruce was no longer singing stories about where he grew up. The songs now were broader in scope and told tales of characters Springsteen met or conjured up after touring the country and having the opportunity to see the world outside his Greater Garden State homeland.

Broadening the reach and gaining a broader following

Springsteen’s subsequent two albums, “The River” and “Nebraska,” further expanded the artist’s ring of fans and popularity due to their expanded geographical narratives. With this much larger pool of followers, or “Bruce Tramps,” it was only natural that it was a massive commercial success when “Born in the USA” was released in 1984.

Without question, the quality of the songs on “Born in the USA” played a large part in its success, as did Springsteen’s legendary live shows and relentless touring schedule. Yet I submit that the foundation established by Springsteen’s earlier work was equally important to how well “Born in the USA” performed on the charts.

Drawing parallels to PR and the ripple effects of a core out approach

What hit me right between the eyes as I listened to Nixon that morning was the same principle of building success that applies to effective public relations programming!

It is essential not just to identify but prioritize your target audiences. That prioritization sets you up to work “core out,” first gaining buy-in and consensus with those closest to your product or service. Once “sold,” these constituents help convert the next priority group, which helps the next one. By the time you get to the outer rings of influence in your core out approach, you’ve created momentum with all of the inner circles, making converting the masses much more manageable.

My father used the analogy of throwing a pebble in a pond. When the stone lands in the water, it creates ripples of rings that grow larger the further away you get from where the initial splash site is.

Most New Jersians revere Springsteen and sing his praises to all who will listen. When approaching your PR programming, build a similar coalition for your company and products — starting within the very walls of your business. If you can get everyone who works at your company to rave about your products or services, they will help “convert” targets as you move outside your company.

Not an endorsement, just a tried and true path to success

In the interest of full disclosure, I do not know Bruce Springsteen, nor does he endorse me or Comprise. Further, I cannot promise your company or brand the same success that Bruce and the E. Street Band have realized if you work with us. That said, our experience following a similar approach to PR that the Boss has followed with his music has repeatedly resulted in outcomes that exceed client expectations. Reach out today, and let us put the power of a core-out approach to work for you.

Recent Posts