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Succession and Public Relations

Reading Time: 2 minutes In HBO’s “Succession” (2018-present), there are a few characters who work in public relations or…

Written by Joe Robison
Last updated 1 month ago

Reading Time: 2 minutes

In HBO’s “Succession” (2018-present), there are a few characters who work in public relations or are involved in managing the public image of the Roy family and their media conglomerate, Waystar Royco:

  1. Hugo Baker (Fisher Stevens): Hugo is a senior PR executive at Waystar Royco. He often advises the Roy family on crisis management and helps to craft their public narrative.
  2. Karolina Novotney (Dagmara Dominczyk): Karolina is the Head of PR at Waystar Royco. She plays a significant role in managing the company’s public image and works closely with the Roy family.
  3. Siobhan “Shiv” Roy (Sarah Snook): While Shiv is not a PR professional herself, she works as a political consultant and strategist. Her background in politics often influences her approach to handling the family’s public image.

These characters showcase the importance of public relations in managing the reputation of a powerful and influential family and corporation. They navigate complex situations and crises, demonstrating various aspects of the PR profession.

In HBO’s “Succession,” the characters who are involved in public relations or image management each have their own unique approaches, successes, and challenges. Here is a brief overview of their strategies, along with some lessons that PR professionals can take away from their experiences.

  1. Hugo Baker:
  • Approach: Hugo is pragmatic and focused on damage control. He often advises the Roys to take the most cautious route to protect the company’s image.
  • Wins: He is generally able to manage the family’s crises effectively and is a key player in preventing the worst-case scenarios.
  • Mishaps: While he successfully navigates crises, he is not immune to the Roy family’s power struggles and manipulations, which can hinder his effectiveness.
  • Lessons: PR professionals should prioritize damage control and have a crisis management plan in place. However, it’s important to remain objective and not get caught up in internal politics.
  1. Karolina Novotney:
  • Approach: Karolina is loyal to the Roy family and works tirelessly to maintain their public image. She is dedicated and skilled in crafting narratives that suit the family’s interests.
  • Wins: She manages to minimize negative press and position the Roy family in a positive light, despite their many controversies.
  • Mishaps: Her unwavering loyalty to the Roys sometimes results in her being too closely aligned with their interests, which can lead to ethical dilemmas and questionable decisions.
  • Lessons: While loyalty is important, PR professionals should maintain a level of ethical integrity and be prepared to make tough decisions when necessary.
  1. Siobhan “Shiv” Roy:
  • Approach: Shiv uses her political background to shape the family’s public narrative strategically. She is skilled in navigating complex situations and leveraging her connections to influence outcomes.
  • Wins: She successfully advises her family on how to handle various crises, such as the company’s sexual misconduct scandal, and often presents innovative solutions.
  • Mishaps: Shiv’s personal ambition and desire for power can cloud her judgment, leading her to make decisions that may not be in the best interests of the family or the company.
  • Lessons: PR professionals should leverage their skills and connections strategically but remain focused on what is best for the client rather than personal ambitions.

In conclusion, “Succession” offers valuable insights into the world of PR and crisis management. PR professionals can learn from these characters’ experiences, including the importance of damage control, ethical integrity, and strategic thinking, while being mindful of the potential pitfalls associated with personal ambitions and internal politics.

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