June 23, 2011
Part of the year I live and work in Ashland, Oregon, home of the world-renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF). This award-winning regional theater company performs a variety of plays, in three different theaters, 10 months a year. Their prime season is of course summer. What happens when you discover a major structural problem that closes down your largest indoor theater during the peak of your season? It could have been panic city, especially when all your senior management is out of town attending a conference.

But instead of freaking out, company leadership, actors, support staff, and theater patrons, have all come together to make the best of a bad situation. Using an old military armory, a small college theater, and a giant tent in a city park, the company and its patrons are cheerfully working together to deal with a highly stressful situation so the “show can go on.”

What is the marketing lesson here? Could your company handle a major crisis? In my book (www.powershiftmarketingbook.com) I point out the importance of having policies in place to handle an unforeseen crisis. More importantly, do you have a relationship with your customers that would make them a partner in solving a potential business disaster? It is obvious that OSF had that connection. Congratulations!  

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