A Triumph In PR Disaster Management

February 18, 2013

Last week I wrote about dealing with a public relations disaster.

By way a real life example, the next day, the media started to report the fire on board Carnival’s cruise ship Triumph. What a clear and dramatic example of a public relations disaster!

Fortunately, no one one was injured…but thousands of people expecting a 5-star cruise holiday were seriously inconvenienced. Certainly if I were one of those thousands of people, you would be reading words significantly stronger than ‘seriously inconvenienced’. But I digress.

In addressing this issue, Carnival Cruise Lines offered an text book example of how to effectively manage a PR disaster.

Instead of denying or misrepresenting the seriousness of the issue, it accepted full responsibility and did whatever it could to look after its guests. Sure there were glitches and problems with the response. But given the circumstances, the company responded really well.

The chairman of the company was even dockside when the ship eventually arrived at Mobile, Alabama. He was there to apologize on behalf of the company. Good for him.

A year down the road, most of the passengers will claim bragging rights for having ‘Survived the Triumph‘. In photos of passengers being taken to hotels after the crippled ship docked, on young man was already wearing a t-short that proudly announced that he had ‘Survived the Triumph’

The emotion of the ‘disaster’ will have lost its edge and most will happily rebook with Carnival, largely because of the company’s response to the issue.

That’s the key to responding effectively to a public relations disaster: doing whatever it takes to look after affected clients so that when they consider a repeat purchase of what we offer, we remain viable options.

We can never go wrong as long we keep as our central focus continuing to look after our clients.


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