Storm tips from a veteran PR guy

Storm tips from a veteran PR guy

From the Miami Herald.

Hurricane Dorian is an incredibly frustrating storm that currently has the entire state of Florida in the “cone of uncertainty.” Residents and business owners from the Keys to Jacksonville are in “wait and see” mode. It’s almost humorous to me that the weather service, which is in the prediction business, can have forecasts that are off by 500 miles and still be “accurate,” but I digress. I have been through many hurricanes, including the big dog Andrew in 1992, and I have a few thoughts and communications tips as we wait for the next advisory.

  • Do what you can to help your customers and clients. This morning I noticed a restaurant in my neighborhood left its outdoor flat-screen TVs on and tuned to the Weather Channel. Somebody at Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ realized that even though they aren’t open for breakfast, why not leave the TVs on overnight so people who pass by can get the latest info. The Miami Herald lowered its paywall for the duration of the storm. I think they view it as a public service, and the publishing company has a long history of supplying information during hurricanes. If there’s something you can do to help your clients, even if it’s a little thing, give it a try as you can build goodwill over time.

  • Be at your client’s service. Even if you don’t offer services related to storm preparation or clean-up, let your clients know that you are available – for counsel, as an extra set of hands or as another set of eyes. And if after the storm, you have power and your clients don’t, open-up your conference room so they can get some air conditioning and Wi-Fi.
  • Plan to communicate once the storm passes. Even if you are without power at your office, you can still get work done and will want to communicate with your customers and clients. Are all of your passwords stored in your phone, which might die before power comes back on? Or worse, the logins are all on one of your employee’s computers? Do you have the login to your website, so you can post to it remotely? Do you have the credentials to send an email blast? Will you be able to login to your social media accounts and review sites from an unfamiliar computer or laptop? Grab a pad and paper and start jotting.

My hope for all in Florida (and the East Coast) is that Dorian follows that one outlier model and takes a sharp right turn before reaching the U.S. If not, let’s hope for the best while being prepared for the worst.

Be safe. Be vigilant. Be kind.

–John

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