It’s holiday season and you’re stuck (or excited to be) hosting Thanksgiving. Though you probably should have started planning your T-Day PR campaign in July, the week before the big day is as good a time as any to plan your Thanksgiving objectives, PR-style.
Set your goals
As with any PR campaign, the first step is to establish measurable goals. The most common Thanksgiving goal? Feed X number of people. To determine how much of each dish you’ll need, factor in the AVE (Appetite Value Extrapolation) (apologies to the Barcelona Principles) for each dish: determine the average serving size (A), multiply by number of attendees (X), then multiply all that by 1.5 (gluttony quotient) . 1.5AX=Z *
* AVE can drastically underestimate or overestimate standard appetite, especially in the presence of college-age males, and does not account for food allergies, likes, dislikes, or strange diet requests.
If your goal is to just make it through the day with your sanity and reputation intact, you’ll need to drill down into data points to make that measurable, such as: number of dishes broken, number of remarks about your housekeeping skills/cooking skills/weight, tone of said remarks, prominence of said remarks (how loudly were they spoken? How many people were in the room? Did anyone nod in agreement?), share of voice (how much of the conversation did these remarks account for?), and other customized measurements.
To convince people to attend your Thanksgiving (or to discourage their presence), reach out to your communication channels to establish your message. Recruit Mom or a sibling to spread the word that your Thanksgiving will rival Martha Stewart or Pinterest in class and aesthetics.
Since Hanukkah and Thanksgiving coincide this year, consider giving this year’s celebration a fresh angle: latke-stuffed turkey, matzoh ball stuffing, or a trendy, hashtag-worthy name like #Thanksgivukkah or #Hanukkgiving.
Focus on the features and benefits of your particular shindig. For example: “Guaranteed Turducken,” “Bacon cornbread stuffing,” or “Gluten-free vegan organic dairy-free lasagna,” depending on your audience.
Turn your kitchen crisis into an opportunity
Whether you’re the only one in your Thanksgiving Preparation Department or if you have the help of a number of minions, there’s a good chance of Thanksgiving crisis, say, dropping the turkey, a minor kitchen fire, or a failure to adhere to the promised schedule. This will likely lead to a number of inquiries from hungry bystanders, and if you’re going to avoid T-Day disaster, it’s time to go into crisis mode.
Whatever you do, don’t respond with “No comment.” However, you probably shouldn’t lie with a “No, of course I didn’t drop the turkey.” That will cause more fallout when someone discovers pet fur and an errant penny plastered to their crispy turkey skin.
Instead, turn it into an opportunity: A simple, “It’s all under control,” or a more creative “I’m trying out a new spice rub.”
Word will spread quickly so you’ll need to contain the story. Don’t discuss the direct problem – turkey on the floor – but discuss your overall strategies. “I’ve been preparing Thanksgiving dinner for years, and have developed a comprehensive system for ensuring hygiene while bringing out the optimal flavors of this over-sized poultry. I assure you I’m constantly working to assess any problems that arise and continue to create safeguards to protect against similar situations arising in the future.”
Run that turkey under some water, sprinkle some salt on it, and remind yourself that when the Pilgrims ate their turkey, it was probably dirtier, and they were fine, weren’t they?