10 ‘Hard Knocks’ Lessons to Inspire PR Agencies

Like many football fans, the HBO series “Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Houston Texans” drew in our Houston-based PR agency Fifth Ring. Marketing for oil and gas clients, we noted many inspiring lessons for the C-Suite to communicate effectively and set the right tone.

The five-episode cinema verite series focused on the daily lives and routines of players and coaches as the Houston Texans conducted the franchise’s 14th training camp and prepared for the 2015 NFL series. Second-year head coach Bill O’Brien leads a unique mix of high-profile veterans, emerging stars, free agents and rookie hopefuls. Ultimately, the team cut the roster down from 90 to 53 in just four weeks.


Job loss is something all too familiar for our clients. Since the beginning of 2015, the global oil and gas workforce layoffs reached 200,000, according to the Houston Chronicle. The optics of those cuts reverberate throughout the media, the industry and the organizations.


Watching Head Coach Bill O’Brien and his coaching staff achieve that end goal of cultivating a smaller, top-notch team revealed some public relations cues leaders should take to heart. There’s a right way and a wrong way to go about managing in a crisis.

10 ‘Hard Knocks’ Lessons to Inspire PR Agencies:

  • Communicate effectively. Set clear goals and objectives.
  • Show up. Be present and involved.
  • Lead by example. Charge the hill first.
  • Be honest. Respect your team.
  • Authenticity. Down-to-earth. Real.
  • Flaws are good. Admit failures.
  • Embrace fun. Grow relationships.
  • Prepare for media relations. Establish best practices.
  • Burn no bridge. Islands are lonely places.
  • Strike a balance. Support happy home lives.

Fifth Ring’s watercooler will miss “Hard Knocks,” but we cannot wait to see the Houston Texans make its mark in the AFC South. We wish our hometown team all the best.

While the Texans roster seems fairly set, our clients may continue to experience talent losses through to the end of 2015 and perhaps beyond. Times are tough. It’s more important than ever for leaders to be ready to communicate effectively and set the right tone.

Here’s one of Fifth Ring’s favorite ‘Hard Knocks’ moment of the series. Can someone please get Vince Wilfork his own show?

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