Did the SNL ISIS Skit Go Too Far? A Lesson in Opinion Based Crisis Communications

isis 2By Gerard Braud

In the classic sense, it is not a crisis, but there is an underlying crisis communications lesson regarding the Saturday Night Live sketch on February 28, 2015. Social media is buzzing with opinions about whether SNL went too far.

SNL mocked a commercial where a father drops his daughter at the airport as she heads off to fight for the U.S. military. In the sketch, the punch line is that the daughter joins ISIS, rather the U.S. military.

Is this type of humor over the top. Yes? Is that the purpose of SNL? Yes? Do I care whether anyone else things it is funny or perfect? Not really.

The crisis communications lesson here is that people constantly judge. Their judgment gets loud and amplified on social media.SNL

According to the Gerard Braud “Rule of Thirds,” one third of the people will always love your institution or your company. One third will always hate your institution or your company. Then there is a third in the middle that will swing like a pendulum.

If your company experiences a social media crisis filled with the kind of opinions that SNL is facing, you should never try to win over the third that hates you. Yes, Taylor Swift is correct that, “Haters gonna hate, hate, hate.” In other words, the one third who hate you, for the most part, will never change their opinion.

Your goal should be to persuade, comfort, and win the third in the middle, while supporting the one third who do love your company.

You have likely been taught that you can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

In the world of crisis communications, my expert advice is that you try to please 2/3rds of the people all of the time.

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