The third installment of HBO Max’s hit series “Succession” was one of the most highly anticipated seasons of television in 2021. For those who don’t watch, Succession follows the dysfunctional Roy family, whose patriarch, Logan Roy, owns and operates the largest media and entertainment company in the world.
The second season ended in thrilling fashion, with Kendall Roy, Logan’s son, double-crossing his father in a shocking press conference where he was supposed to take the fall for a company scandal, but instead implicated his father in the scandal and a host of cover-ups and illegal activity.
But, this is a blog about PR, communications and media relations, so enough about the plot summary. Instead, let’s talk about how Season 3 began with Kendall Roy focused on getting his media monitoring tools and strategy in place as he gets ready to take on his father and snatch his media empire away.
As Kendall leaves the press conference, he asks his bumbling cousin Greg to begin monitoring the media and general public for reaction to his statement about his father. Greg, who never quite understands what is going on in any situation, agrees to help without comprehending what exactly is involved; he is essentially trying to manually keep track of the reaction to Kendall’s press conference across all of the internet and social media until a more formal solution is available.
Obviously, this approach fails, and it fails in hilarious fashion (at one point, Greg responds to Kendall by saying that his main takeaway from the media coverage is that “the internet is big”). He is left trying to write down individual tweets, which is both humorous and pathetic. But putting the humor of the situation aside, this episode makes a salient point about the importance of a real-time media monitoring platform, especially during a big news event or crisis. Trying to track all the relevant media and public sentiment for a brand is impossible, as Greg demonstrated.
But even a solution like Google Alerts, or a platform that does not provide access to all media types, is not enough in the most critical moments for a brand. Rather, an all-in-one Earned Media Suite that provides tracking and sentiment analysis for TV, radio, online news, social media and podcasts is what Kendall Roy – and all businesses and brands concerned with their media coverage – needed as he prepared to take on his father.
Succession is one of the most critically-acclaimed and popular shows on TV today, but because of the media and PR focus of the show, there are lessons to be learned for anybody in communications, PR or media. In the season 3 premiere, the lesson was clear – don’t get caught like Kendall Roy did, without a comprehensive media monitoring tool in place.