For PR New Business & Job Success: Think Like a Unicorn

In a new CommPRO article, I argue that we need to lean into the uniqueness of our businesses or skillsets and think like a unicorn if we are to find new business and career success.      


Unicorn Thinking

Behavioral psychology tends to lead us down the path of trying to make ourselves fit, even when there isn’t a good fit. I wrote in “Tunnels & Funnels: Why we make bad decisions, and how we can make better ones,” when chasing something (usually money) we tend to get tunnel vision. When in tunnels, we need to stop and look up to regain perspective.

Thinking like a unicorn requires us to focus on what makes us different and unique. We also need to recognize that clients and projects are also unicorns – with unique characteristics and needs. It should lead us to ask, “What are my or my company’s unique skillsets and how do I find people who will uniquely value them?” 

In CommPRO, I highlight the story of a colleague and friend, who worked for 20 years for a leading global media organization and the UN. Leaning into his unicorn experience, he shifted focus from trying to customize his resume for generic media relations jobs, to finding potential employers that would truly value the unique capabilities he could bring to them.

The same unicorn logic applies to new business. As I note in CommPRO, “It makes little sense to try to make yourself fit an assignment, where there is a low probability of success.” 

The ideas in tunnels & funnels, relativity & communications (understanding where stand relative to our competitors), and think like a unicorn, provide different ways to view new business and careers in a way that takes into account the behavioral drivers of our actions.     

Unicorn thinking provides a framework for a disciplined approach to new business and careers that make it more likely that there will be a match with what a client or company is looking for. And, as I note, conversations are more likely to start with “You got me at hello”.                           

If we don’t think like unicorns and lean into what makes us different, we do ourselves, our people, and the industry, a disservice.

Focusing on our unicorn experience, and how it matches the unique needs of others, provides a disciplined and efficient framework to target opportunities with the greatest chance of success.


Simon Erskine Locke is founder & CEO of communications agency and professional search and services platform, CommunicationsMatch™, and CommPRO partner. CommunicationsMatch’s technology helps clients search, shortlist and hire agencies and professionals by industry and communications expertise, location, size, diversity and designations. CommunicationsMatch developed the industry’s first integrated agency search and RFP tools, Agency Select™, with RFP Associates. CommunicationsMatch™ powers PRSA’s Find a Firm agency search tools.

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