The aftermath of a major natural disaster, Hurricane Sandy in this case, can potentially exemplify good and bad PR. There were countless businesses around the world that stepped up and lent a helping hand whether they were personally affected or not.
Duracell, based in Connecticut, sent Rapid Responder four-by-four trucks to Battery Park, one of the worst areas affected by the hurricane when lower Manhattan was powerless after the initial hit according to the article, “What These Companies Did In The Wake of Hurricane Sandy Will Restore Your Faith In Big Business” in the Business Insider. The trucks were not only there after the initial hit but have since been on the streets of New York and New Jersey to aid people with power. Comcasat is providing non-customers with free Wifi until Nov. 7. “New York Sports Clubs that were unaffected by the storm have opened up their doors to victims of Hurricane Sandy,” according to the same article. Banks such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Citi among others are waiving ATM and late credit card payment fees. These are just a few examples of what some businesses are doing to lend a hand.
Although there are numerous businesses across the nation that have donated or aided to the victims of Hurricane Sandy in some way, some actions by other businesses have been puzzling. There are a handful of brands and businesses that attempted to capitalize and use the storm as a ploy to make money. “Retailers ranging from the usual suspects (American Apparel and Urban Outfitters) to more sensitive brands (Gap and Jonathan Adler) blasted out emails and tweets full of hurricane puns and special, limited time Sandy Sales,” according to the article, “The 9 Biggest Brand Fails Exploiting Hurricane Sandy” in the Business Insider. During the wake of the storm Urban Outfitters tweeted, “This storm blows (but free shipping doesn’t)! Today only…#frankenstrom #ALLSOGGY.”
Throughout a natural disaster it is sometimes difficult to determine what the appropriate action is for your company. Some companies attempted to make light of the situation by creating parody statements along with discounts or deals that they distributed to their customers. In the end, I think that these actions were way too soon especially since the death toll continues to rise, some people are still without power and there is extensive damage throughout the East Coast.
What are your feelings about the actions that some of these companies took during the storm? If negative, what should they have done differently?