By Priyanki Brahma

‘Tis the season to gobble the turkey, relish the libations, and enjoy celebrations with the people who matter the most in our lives. In the spirit of the season, here are few lessons a PR practitioner can take away from the holiday festivities:

Food comes later, first PLAN

Planning is the most important part when deciding on the menu for the big night. Being mindful of every guest’s food and wine preferences, setting the table, buying the turkey in advance to avoid last minute rush at the grocery store – helps to ease the pressure off of what may become a daunting process.

Planning is a fundamental and crucial step in public relations for every campaign strategy and tactic to be successful. It helps to be prepared, with actions that are well defined and are directed towards meeting all the possible expectations. Preparation also helps you prepare for the unexpected, a necessity when navigating media waters. Just as you may find out upon arrival that Uncle Richard is suddenly a vegan, you may also discover that a reporter’s beat has changed. The ability to pivot in any scenario depends on how well prepared you are to do so. (p.s. always have plenty of vegetables on hand!)

Be creative, take risks

You are tired of the quintessential Thanksgiving menu and want to ditch the old for something different, but worry if it will be well received. We say take it as a learning experience and go for it – if nothing else, you’ll earn brownie points for trying and for your creativity.

This is same for public relations strategies. It’s very easy to keep repeating tactics that result in easy wins. Definitely keep those close but be open to being creative and taking risks. Last year, outdoor lifestyle retailer REI opted to keep its stores shut for Black Friday to let its employees enjoy the holiday and started what later became the #OptOutside movement. It was a bold move but one that helped REI generate positive brand impact. Brand loyalty amongst customers reached a new level, its social presence thrived, and the media touted them as market leaders.

Crisis, keep a backup plan ready

Crisis can come in any shape or form – burnt food because you forgot to take it out from the oven, spilled wine on your most treasured tablecloth, or last-minute work emergencies. Whatever the case, it’s easy to lose one’s mind in any of these situations. But keeping cool and taking control of the situation is the sign of a leader, even at the dinner table.

There could be million things that could go wrong even when you have the perfect communications plan ready. The best way to deal with it is to anticipate some of the issues that can potentially turn into a crisis and be ready to change course. Even the best laid out plans can go awry, being flexible to amend strategies as needed helps to mitigate further loss.

Gobble, avoid gluttony

It’s gobble and gluttony time, yet avoid the gluttony if it doesn’t suit your body. It’s easy to be tempted to overeat when you have an amazing Thanksgiving spread in front of you, but overindulgence doesn’t always end well. As the adage goes, precaution is better than cure – follow that!

Overindulging your audience with information can only lead to being unsubscribed or unfollowed. The same holds true when reaching out to the media; feeding reporters with extra and unnecessary information will put you in the dreaded ‘blocked’ list and strain relationships – which is, as we know, a publicist’s worst nightmare.

Relationships, they matter the most

The whole tradition behind having a Thanksgiving feast is about bringing the people we love and hold dear together to enjoy a meal. These are the relationships that we value the most.

The word ‘relations’ in public relations says it all. It’s about valuing every relationship – with clients, the public, and the media. It’s about being a trusted advisor and source for valuable and helpful information. It’s easy to ‘know’ someone, but forging a relationship takes time and effort, an investment PR professionals should always make.

It’s Thanksgiving, be thankful

Lastly, one aspect of Thanksgiving that precedes all the binge and merriment, is being thankful for those we love. You may have issues with a family member or may outright disagree with a friend on many things, but their presence in your life is important to you and Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to acknowledge that.

You may be a PR genius, but without that important research material the office intern helped you out with, or a brilliant strategy your colleague came up with to aid you in the campaign planning, you alone wouldn’t have been able to achieve a successful result. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to acknowledge each team member’s efforts and be thankful for the awesome results and the many laurels the collaborative efforts bring.

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