The holiday season is here, meaning it’s time for reflection, friends and family, end of year parties, and good cheer. When you’ve had a little too much holiday cheer, one of the best ways to kick back and relax is to watch one of your favorite holiday movies. In addition to making you feel all warm and fuzzy, these movies often contain important life lessons—and many of those lessons can be applied to the public relations industry, too. So put on your Christmas jammies, get a nice warm cup of cocoa, and settle in for some public relations lessons from our favorite holiday films.
CHRISTMAS VACATION – Lesson #1: Planning a Successful Event
Are you serious, Clark?
Let’s face it, we’ve all got a little Clark Griswold in us. We have grand event plans and then before you know it, the Christmas lights don’t work, cousin Eddie drives up in a ramshackle mobile home, the tree blows up, and Christmas dinner’s a disaster … there goes your “perfect” event.
That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I’m sure we’ve all planned an event that didn’t quite go as expected. When planning an event, whether it’s a grand opening, trade show exhibit for a client, or influencer event, the old adage is still true: hope for the best and expect the worst.
Plan early and evaluate that plan often. Create a timeline, budget, list of roles and responsibilities, schedule social media in advance, develop a shot list for your photographer, and delegate when you can.
Most importantly, draft a contingency plan and think through potential scenarios. What if you run out of food? What happens if the trade show creative isn’t what you hoped for? What if a scheduled speaker doesn’t show up? Don’t leave anything up to chance.
Finally, manage your expectations. Things might go wrong, but it’s all about how you respond. While you can’t control everything, having a detailed plan in place will certainly help you keep a cool head if any issues do arise.
HOME ALONE – Lesson #2: Resourcefulness
This is my house. I have to defend it.
When young Kevin McCallister finds himself home alone after his whole family accidentally flies to France without him, he is elated. However, panic quickly sets in when two bumbling burglars start ransacking homes in Kevin’s quiet Chicago suburb. When Kevin finds out that his home is next, he is forced to rely on his wits and household tools to protect himself and his family’s home.
In the PR industry, we’ve all been asked to do more with less. These days it seems that the profession encompasses a lot more than it used to. In addition to the “traditional” job functions we’ve always had, we’re now often expected to be social media specialists, content developers, graphic designers, website managers, digital marketers, photographers/videographers, and the list goes on.
Sometimes we have to improvise a little and work with what we have to accomplish these tasks. No budget? We’ll find a free tool to get it done. A reporter is interested in your idea but too busy to cover the story? That’s fine, we’ll track down sources and get hi-res photos. Client needs a byline? Cool, we’ll draft it.
While we’re not necessarily faced with breaking and entering on a daily basis, we often have to think on our feet and be resourceful. In this industry, developing creative problem-solving skills and a little scrappiness can take you far. To succeed, going above and beyond is almost always necessary and can differentiate you from competitors. Learn to work well with the resources you have, and continuously educate yourself on related industries like digital and content marketing, social media, and graphic design.
ELF – Lesson #3: Maintain a Positive Attitude
Smiling’s my favorite.
Working in public relations can be difficult. Sometimes you don’t see eye to eye with a client, the media ignores your pitches, or your coworkers use all the coffee creamer, leaving you with a cup of boring black coffee.
When you start to feel like your soul matches that coffee, remember these wise words from Buddy the Elf: “The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is to sing loud for all to hear.” Maintaining a positive attitude will not only help keep you motivated, it will inspire others around you to do their best work.
This industry is challenging, and we’ve all had a project, pitch, or meeting that didn’t go our way, or maybe an idea just plain failed. Learn to view these negatives through an alternative lens—as opportunities for creativity, or a teachable moment. Remember, energy is contagious. Excessive negativity can bring a team down, but positivity can keep everyone going. When a group is properly motivated, great things can happen.
So, make sure you’re continuously working to move the needle on the claus-o-meter forward.
Whether your favorite movie is on this list or not, holiday films often touch on things that are profoundly human — which are ideal for an industry like public relations. As you reflect on 2017 and look ahead to next year, remember these lessons and you’ll be on your way to productive 2018.
Enjoy this post? Here are a few more you might like.