Hurricane Irma is set to come knocking on our front doors in the coming days. Though you may have already prepared your home, you must also make sure your brand is set to weather the oncoming storm.
By following these simple tips, your organization can keep team members and clients informed before and after this emergency situation while sending messaging that avoids some common PR and social media faux pas:
- Prepare for PR Delays: While the news is dominated by updates on Hurricane Irma as she approaches, your company’s PR efforts are likely to be lost in the shuffle. Expect to delay that big PR push until after the storm and subsequent recovery.
- Double Check Your Social Media Schedule: As many of us often schedule our social media posts weeks in advance, it’s a good idea to revisit these planned features to ensure they aren’t insensitive or in bad taste within the context of the incoming storm and the days (perhaps weeks) of recovery to follow. Consider sharing a safety-conscious post that details how your clients or customers can prepare for Hurricane Irma.
- Create an External and Internal Communication Plan: In these emergency situations, communication is key. With the possibility of losing power and internet access, you should outline and share a detailed emergency external and internal communication plan. Collect and physically write down contact information of team members and clients in order to lessen downtime and provide updates on recovery. Also, ensure that each team member knows who to report to and how to do so once the storm has passed.
- Announce Your Hours of Operation: Make your planned hours of operation known to both your team and customers/clients. Your team should know in advance how much time they will have to prepare for Hurricane Irma, as well as when they will be expected to report back to work. The same consideration goes for your clients and customers, who you want to keep informed at every step.
- Minimize Your Email Marketing: Much like your social media and PR efforts, it is best to put a hold on your email marketing, unless it has to do with sharing pertinent information, such as your hours of operation or other need-to-know news about your business.
- Hold Your Website Launch: If your new website has the unfortunate luck of launching near the forecasted arrival of Hurricane Irma, you may want to hold off until we are able to return to our normal lives. Most will be more concerned with storm updates than checking out your new site in the coming days.
Let us be clear, your organization is (and should always be) put after your life and the lives of your team. Make your people the priority by giving them, and yourself, ample time to prepare and hunker down before Hurricane Irma strikes. Once personal safety is secured, you can focus on keeping your brand safe from inappropriate messaging or a lack of communication with both internal teams and those your organization serves.
We may not know the full extent of what Hurricane Irma has in store for us but through a bit of preparation now, we can lay the groundwork for an easier recovery and, ultimately, getting back to work. Stay safe out there, Orlando.