With the recent UK flooding impacting thousands of businesses, our very own MD – Felicity Wingrove – was invited to present at Shropshire Chamber of Commerce and Visit England’s Flood Workshop last month to provide vital issues management support to tourism businesses affected.
Following a natural disaster – or a business crisis – public relations can be utilised to maximise the positives, diffuse a situation (if necessary), and present the public with information and answers in a timely way.
So how exactly can PR serve those who have been affected?
As Edwin Luis Cole once said, “You don’t drown by falling in the water. You drown by staying there,” and this is certainly true when it comes to responding to a natural disaster such as flooding. If you’re still open for business following the floods, tell people. If you’re not, make sure you tell them when you will be; and remember that the media can be both your friend and foe – although they mean well, they are looking for a story and may focus on the more sensational elements. Whatever you choose to do, make sure that you communicate fully, honestly, personally, and well.
After a crisis, remember to thank your customers. Reassure them that you’re open for business and perhaps what you’ve done to prevent future issues, then consider incentivising them and adding value to encourage their return. Once your business is back on track it’s worth investing some time in developing an issues management plan for the future, and developing a proactive strategy to put you in good stead should another disaster occur.
It should cover a number of key areas including whether or not your organisation should go public and speak out, key messages, a short positioning statement, and who in the company will be the spokesperson should the worst happen.
Find out more about how we can help you prepare for any eventuality here.
For a copy of Felicity’s Flood Workshop presentation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org