CONDUCTOR vis-à-vis PR

03.01.19 / Posted by jirehconsult

Among the key skills of top-quality orchestral players is their ability to watch the printed music at the same time as watching the conductor, while also listening to other sections of the orchestra. This is quite a sophisticated job of multi-tasking.

In addition, performances that involve a substantial ensemble – be it in the theatre, film, ballet, or others – almost always depends on a singular vision or interpretation if it is to have any real impact on an audience. This is where the role of the conductor is most apparent.

Whether one likes the interpretation or not is another matter. To say that an important musical experience can be created largely by getting the notes right is meaningless – that would be a mechanical achievement, not an artistic, emotional or inspirational one.

People often ask about the role of a conductor. He or she is the only person on stage who doesn’t make a sound. Most of their work takes place before they ever meet up with an orchestra, studying, exploring and analysing the music, seeking to understand the composer’s vision.

For the finest conductors, this is a never-ending journey throughout their lives. An example can be found in Leonard Bernstein, who towards the end of his life, threw away all his Tchaikovsky symphony scores in order to study them all over again with minimal preconceptions.

During rehearsals the conductor prepares his or her interpretation. With the great conductors the ‘performance’ only happens during the concert itself, and it can be different every single time. There are many factors that influence how conductors see a piece of music each time they take to the stage, and their role is to create the performance anew every time.

Parallels can be drawn between the role of a conductor and that of a PR practitioner. Before a pitch can be made, work has to be put in to study the business the client is in order to understand  them better.

Pitching activities to the client means understanding the way they work, understanding their concerns and what they hope to achieve. Activities that do not resonate with their vision and mission will be thrown quickly out the window.

A PR agency worth their weight in gold will strive to have knowledge and deep insights into every client’s value propositions and ethos, along with their challenges and any sensitivities. All these take place before crafting and aligning any communiqué with what the client stands for.

The company’s activities have to be channeled through the relevant media forms in order to make an impact on the identified audience. And just like any perfectly executed musical performance, the timing of the communiqué is crucial. For communications, this is done through PR, à la a conductor.

For the media, stories and angles have to be compelling enough to entice them into covering them. Run-of-the mill stories that do not suit their audience are unlikely to see daylight with them. You might even get a bad reputation for not taking the time to understand them as a media outlet, the change in the media landscape, and current situation. 

It takes time and a good working relationship to manoeuvre effectively between different clients and the media, in order to cater to their wants and needs.

Good PR practitioners create compelling narratives that resonate with the audience at the right time for both the client and media. People often ask, ‘what exactly does PR entail?’ Well, like a conductor, the job is all about translating observation and interpretation into action and performance.