GroundFloor Media & CenterTable Blog

With the holiday season upon us, it is time to bring back this blog post I did for Ragan’s PR Daily on crisis planning and how it relates to the “WKRP in Cincinnati” infamous turkey drop.

And for those unfamiliar with the late 70s and early 80s sitcom or the hilarious episode, check out the clip below and then read about crisis planning tips. The best line? “As god as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

Here are some crisis communication response tips that might’ve helped WKRP, or other companies, respond to a disastrous PR event:

  • Be targeted. Focus your messages on your audience. Who are your trying to reach and what do they need to know?
  • Be prompt. This demonstrates that the company or organization is addressing the issues, and it can diffuse a negative situation from spiraling by presenting the facts early on.
  • Be concise but comprehensive. Crisis communication should be compact, delivering the right information in a timely manner and providing updates as more information is available.
  • Be transparent. Perhaps more so than any other content you create, crisis communication must be honest and clear if your target audiences are going to trust you to get through the event.
  • Be forthcoming. Articulate what the company is doing and, whenever possible, how long the process might take. The latter can be difficult to estimate, so don’t commit to a timeframe if you aren’t sure of it; but if you know a solution is not imminent, it’s best to be honest with customers about that fact.
  • Be compassionate. Regardless of the source of the problem, in most crisis situations you may have let your customers down; acknowledge this, and then get to work to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

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