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What PR Pros Can Learn from the Mouseketeers

It has been 20 years since JT, Gosling, Xtina and Britney joined “The Mickey Mouse Club” and–oh!–how far they’ve come. Two decades on, these former Mousketeers are Grammy-award winning singer-songwriters, Golden Globe-nominated actors, restaurateurs and successful businesspeople.

So, how have they remained relevant all of these years later – through career shifts, meltdowns and entrepreneurial ventures? Here are a few things we as public relations professionals can learn from these entertainment industry veterans:

  • Take Risks. Christina Aguilera made her solo album debut in 1999, which featured the teen-pop hit “Genie in a Bottle.” Following the release of a few more records that saw limited success, Christina took a big risk; she grabbed creative control of her next album – and ultimately her image. Moving away from her bubblegum pop persona, she shocked audiences with her next record “Stripped,” which included chart-toppers like “Dirrty” and “Beautiful.” Recently, she took another big risk and made the move to reality TV with one of America’s favorites, NBC’s “The Voice.”
  • Make Mistakes and Recover Effectively. Following personal struggles including a psychiatric hospital hold and yes, a cringeworthy head-shaving incident, Britney Spears made a comeback in 2008 with an MTV documentary that drew nearly six million viewers called “Britney: For the Record.” Later that same year, she released her “Circus” album, which debuted at number one in the U.S. Britney hasn’t backed away from the spotlight since and just this Fall announced a two-year deal to perform a residency show in Las Vegas, which will feature a mix of new and classic hits. She’s certainly got a lot to work with.
  • Allow Your Brand to Evolve. Justin Timberlake came to mainstream fame as the youngest member of ‘N Sync, which sold a half billion albums during its career and drew the hearts of young girls across the globe. After seven years of boy-band fame, Justin debuted his solo career which has skyrocketed at a steady pace with hits like “Cry Me a River,” “SexyBack,” “Suit & Tie” and “TKO.” He’s also brought his humor to late night comedy shows, acting chops to roles in the “Social Network” and “Trouble with the Curve,” opened Southern-style restaurants across the country and even developed a golf course, among other ventures.
  • Persistence pays. Ryan Gosling had a solid career as a child star in “Are You Afraid of the Dark?,” “Goosebumps” and “Young Hercules.” When he turned 19, he decided to pursue more serious roles. It wasn’t an easy road. He was quickly dropped by his agent and had trouble securing roles with his resume as it stood. Ryan ultimately landed the lead role in “The Believer” which, while a commercial bust, drew industry recognition for his character portrayal. Working his way through titles like “Murder by Numbers” and “The Slaughter Rule,” Ryan became a household name in 2004 while starring in “The Notebook.” And the box-office hits have kept coming since!

As we reflect on how far these stars have come and how we can apply their learnings to our own approach, I’ll leave you with Britney and Justin singing “I’ll Take You There” on MMC:

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