Holly Boldrin, left, of Priority Marketing assists client Norman Love with Hurricane Irma relief efforts at the Veterans Community Park FEMA Relief Center in Lehigh Acres, FL.
Having been in business for 25 years, Hurricane Irma was not the first unexpected and unavoidable crisis that Priority Marketing has had to face. All that we’ve weathered over the years has taught our team how to best serve our clients during difficult times. As a business, organization or non-profit, it’s imperative to understand how to respond to the needs of your customers, employees and your community. Here are our 25 tips for pre- and post-disaster marketing and communications.
- If you haven’t already, consider creating a crisis communications plan that can be evolved to fit any situation.
- Marketing can’t sleep during a disaster. Immediately communicate with consumers once it has passed.
- Develop a marketing and communications plan for how your clients or your business will convey information both during and after the event.
- If you are the President or CEO of your company, give your employees regular updates about the movement of a storm and potential closures of the office. Also update clients, customers or the media about potential closures or other possible effects of the emergency.
- Consider taking hard drives out of the office so you can continue to work remotely throughout the course of the storm.
- Continue to communicate with company senior leadership and regularly check up on the safety of your employees.
- Offer to give extra assistance to clients, customers or the community once the natural disaster has ended.
- Draft sample updates and replies for your team to post on clients’ channels, to send out to clients or customers via email, or to give to approved spokespeople.
- Create a list of important links and phone numbers for the appropriate audiences to find updates and answers to questions.
- Consider your advertising: should any be pulled or revised? Should you create new ads to address the situation?
- Remove any scheduled social media content that is not relevant to the impending emergency.
- Use social media to give updates to your clients or customers.
- Share online how your business or your clients are providing aid to the community and/or those affected by the disaster.
- Use photos to tell your post-disaster success story, whether that you’ve reopened for business or that you’re volunteering in the community.
- Think about your audience- what do they need to hear at this time?
- Partner with other businesses to provide unique resources for the community.
- NEVER take advantage of a natural disaster to create business or profits, and NEVER use opportunistic marketing.
- As conditions improve, take the opportunity to promote the resiliency of the area and the community.
- Look for unique and appropriate ways to remind the community how your business is relevant even during a time of hardship or confusion.
- Think about how to use your company’s expertise to provide consumers with helpful tips both during and after the emergency, and how you can provide relief.
- Dealing with the aftermath doesn’t mean shut down your marketing plan, but rather alter it to make your marketing efforts relevant and appropriate during the recovery efforts.
- Practice sensitivity in all areas of communication following a crisis.
- Consider a special event or sale where proceeds will go to aid victims of the natural disaster.
- Assess when it’s time to smoothly allow marketing and communications to return to normal.
- Reflect on what happened during the most recent crisis so that you can face the next one with increased preparedness, efficiency and responsiveness.
Unfortunately, crises are inevitable, yet there are many proactive measures you can take. For help developing a comprehensive crisis communications plan so that you can be better prepared in the face of a disaster, contact the professionals at Priority Marketing.