Thought Leadership

From ‘Selena’ to the Super Bowl: How Jennifer Lopez Has Stayed Relevant for 20 Years

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You just can’t pin down Jennifer Lopez. At 50, the iconic superstar is as relevant as ever, thanks to a whirlwind few months that saw her star in “Hustlers,” one of the year’s surprise hits, and land the 2020 Super Bowl halftime show, a gig that’s among the world’s most prestigious.

Somehow, 22 years after the release of the movie “Selena” and 17 years after the song “Jenny From the Block,” Lopez is as popular as ever.

As communicators, we may not be able to wear an iconic designer dress, perform a concert or make millions at the box office, but we can take inspiration from the way Lopez has stayed relevant, continuing to evolve while staying on the biggest stage. For more than two decades, she’s been providing the content her audiences want, and so can you.

Here’s how your team can learn from J-Lo:

1. Keep your content diverse.

If you were defining Lopez, would you call her a singer? A dancer? An actress? An entrepreneur? As it should be with your team, J-Lo can’t be defined by just one aspect of her impressive career.

Whatever her career needs at that moment, she is prepared to go the extra mile. She started as a backup dancer, working with the likes of New Kids on the Block and Janet Jackson. Soon after she started acting, landing a few small roles before breaking out in “Selena.” Then, she turned her “Selena” success into a solo music career, and the rest is history.

Your team can take inspiration from J-Lo by being willing to see the next opportunity as a chance to expand your brand and diversify your offerings. Just like Lopez is more than a singer or dancer, you should think about your business as more than public relations or social media.

The PR world is changing. Today, content is king. If you’re not already offering content as part of your PR offerings, then take the J-Lo attitude and not only provide content to your target audience, but create content so well that they’ll be begging for more.

2. Be ready to pivot.

J-Lo doesn’t know what it means to slow down. Since 2000, she’s made 27 films, released seven albums, headlined a variety of musical performances and made stops on “American Idol,” “World of Dance” and more. She even has her own clothing line, fragrance and production company.

Just like Lopez, your team can’t rest on its laurels. It’s important to follow your industry’s trends and stay on the cutting edge of what comes next. Just like J-Lo was willing to pivot to her next big break, your team needs to be willing to pivot to what’s most relevant to your clients and best for your results.

In public relations, staying relevant often means adjusting messaging, using different platforms and ensuring you’re working with industry experts. If J-Lo had stuck to being a dancer, then she likely would never have become the ever-present star she is today.

Similarly, if your team still operates exactly as it did 20 years ago, then you may not be relevant either. 

3. Keep striving for more.

Throughout her career, Lopez has had plenty of chances to say, “That’s good enough,” and she’s never taken any of them. Her list of awards and nominations is so long it has to be its own Wikipedia page.

At MediaSource, we’ve had plenty of big wins for clients and we’ve won our fair share of awards. But that hasn’t been enough — we’re always testing the next approach to get PR results to stay on the cutting edge of our field.

Like J-Lo, you’ve got to keep looking forward. In a 1998 interview, she told Movieline, “I’ll just get better as I go along because I’m open to getting better. I’m not the best actress that ever lived, but I know I’m pretty good.” That willingness to change, adapt and improve has propelled her to where she is today, and the same attitude can be applied to your PR strategies.

We might not all have Lopez’s talent, but as PR pros, we can take inspiration from her willingness to diversify, evolve and improve. 

Lisa Arledge Powell is president of MediaSource, an award-winning communications agency that specializes in video production, public relations, social media and strategic insights, constantly securing national exposure for major brands. Connect with Lisa on Twitter: @LisaArledge

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Lisa Arledge Powell

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