By: Samantha Bankey
With 8 million people without power and businesses and residents forced to evacuate buildings on the East Coast, Hurricane Sandy isn’t just another storm. However, efforts are being implemented immediately to help victims. Not just funding, but reaching out to specific audiences on a PR level.
I can honestly say that I am impressed with the PR efforts of businesses affected by this disaster. Mobile apps, emails, and websites from all sorts have reached out to their customer base to explain each unique situation. Here are just a couple that have reached me:
Chase Bank: In their mobile app, they currently have an announcement for bank customers that have been affected. They express condolences and wish safety for customers and their families. Chase then explains that branches and ATMs can be checked for availability through their app’s ATM/Branch Finder and that it will be updated regularly for the most current information. Customers can also call the 24-hour number or tweet them @ChaseSupport. It may seem silly to some to remind disaster victims of ATM availability, but it’s actually quite important. With electricity lost in majority of places, debit cards and credit cards may be impossible to use. ATMs and branches might be an essential place to be open during this time.
Emails of PR Pros: I hold a new position as a social media intern for a makeup artist based out of New York City. She has flocked to Chicago during the storm, but her publicist (also based in NYC), hasn’t been so lucky. Since she provides me with information to post on these accounts, she is sending me e-mails throughout the week. One simple thing that struck me with her is her auto-replies through her e-mail address. They say something along the lines of, “Thank you for your e-mail. However, during the disaster of Hurricane Sandy, I am limited with Internet and cell phone use. I will respond to your message as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience and understanding.” Something so little makes a big impact, especially in the PR world. I’ve seen this come from companies and other PR professionals’ Twitters and social media accounts, including Rent the Runway, Girls PR, American Eagle Outfitters, and even the beloved mascot of MSU, Sparty.
Of course, there are many other ways that brands, PR professionals, and companies are reaching out to help victims of this terrible hurricane. What stories do you have to share about disaster relief or good wishes?
And of course, even here in Michigan, we’re thinking of all those impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Our thoughts are with victims and we’re wishing all of you safety and well-being.