Aaron Rodgers, CEO

Rodgers at Bospar
May 8, 2019
Rodgers at Bospar

Last season, quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers hosted the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field.

As I watched the game, I found myself thinking that Rodgers—future Hall-of-Famer, franchise quarterback, superstar and celebrity—makes for a rather fascinating PR case study.

Here’s what CEOs can learn from him.

Rodgers must stay calm in the face of 285-pound pass rushers; CEOs must calmly manage disguised blitzes from pushy reporters  

When faced with a 285-pound pass rusher with 4.5-40-yard-dash speed coming off the edge, Rodgers has just seconds to react. If he loses his cool, he’ll get sacked.

Likewise, interviews don’t always go the way they’re supposed to. CEOs have to be ready to deflect unanticipated, unwanted questions without fumbling for answers.

While you can think of your briefing document prepared by your PR agency as your offensive line, the best tactic is media training by a seasoned PR pro.

Football is a team sport—so is running a company

Now that Rodgers is out for the season after suffering a debilitating injury, the Packers must rely on the “next man up.”  

Similarly, as CEOs navigate the uncertainties of life and business, their ability to rely on their team becomes more and more important.

When all else fails, throw a Hail Mary

Sometimes, in football and in PR, things just aren’t going your way.

When this happens, Rodgers will likely do something like this.

Like Aaron Rodgers, a CEO must pull out all the stops to score the next PR touchdown. This might mean “inventing” news when there is none—by employing tactics such as third-party research, newsjacking and bylines—getting inventive with social strategies, and partnering with analysts, influencers and complementary organizations.

Similar to Rodgers’ style of play, successful CEOs are able to navigate and improvise on their feet when they are truly tested by a strong pass rush. Touchdown!

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