In a world full of Wet Bandits, be a Kevin.
John Hughes likely didn’t set out to write a cautionary tale about crisis communications when he penned Home Alone. But it’s the holidays, dangit, so we’re going to take a leap and say that he did.
You probably know the story. A huge family accidentally leaves eight-year-old Kevin McCallister behind as they embark on a holiday vacation. A couple of bumbling burglars case the house and decide to rob it. Kevin catches wind of their plan and devises one of his own, which results in the “Wet Bandits” getting whisked away in a police car — with a few bumps and bruises (to put it mildly).
PR textbooks don’t give Kevin, a master of crisis communications, the credit he deserves. Don’t believe me? Clues, in the form of memorable quotes, are sprinkled throughout the movie.
“Go easy on the Pepsi.”
One also could say, “Don’t drink the Kool-Aid.” It’s not a matter of if a crisis will happen to your organization, but when. No company — no matter how awesome it is — is completely safeguarded from a crisis. Acknowledge that it could, indeed, happen to you.
“There are 15 people in this house, and you’re the only one who has to make trouble.”
It only takes one. One misguided email. One expletive laden tweet. One slip down icy stairs. Don’t underestimate the power of one person or event to land you in a crisis.
“Is this toothbrush approved by the American Dental Association?”
Don’t live in fear. Write a crisis communications plan — complete with scenarios and template communications materials — and you’ll be one step ahead. Just make sure that all necessary personnel sign off on it.
“This is it. Don’t get scared now.”
When a crisis happens, remember: You’ve got this. Have confidence in the strategic communicator you are! You’ve got your crisis communications plan and the know-how to face the crisis and come out on the other end.
“I made my family disappear.”
See? You made the crisis disappear. Well, maybe not disappear — but you managed it in a smart way, and it’s time to move forward, complete with learnings from your experience. (This quote was not, specifically, intended to equate our families with a crisis, by the way. Hi, Mom.)
If another crisis happens at some point in the future, you’ll be ready for the sequel.