When Ms. Antoinette was getting mouthy and losing her head, she forgot to empathize and relate to her audience. Maybe she had bad PR advice?
Rant Alert: somewhere in the neighborhood of a Code Yellow on the Dammit! Jack Bauer scale.
So Carnival is in a PR and social pickle (again). This time it’s the Triumph (I’ve known people who’ve sailed and enjoyed that ship) losing power and having to be towed back to Mobile. This isn’t the first time a ship has lost power due to fire, and it’s not a problem exclusive to Carnival.
Now I’m sure the apologies will come fast and furious. Reports already indicate guests will get a full refund and a credit for future cruises, if they want to take their chances again. Emergencies will happen, especially in a business that operates practically 24/7, 365. Put that operation on water, you better believe the contingency plans get complicated.
USA Today ran a short piece with industry experts doing a Q&A on the Triumph fire. At the end there’s some good advice from a VP at a ‘strategic communications firm’ in which he talks about damage control, crisis communications and being proactive with updates with passengers.
Now I’d go much further, also include their families, the media, target social networks. Make every effort to keep people in touch, waive cellular fees, help with travel arrangements and expenses, even for those sans insurance. Mixed in with all the apologies, assurances to figure this out, take better steps to prevent this from happening again. But that’s neither here nor there.
Here’s the line that’s got my knickers in a twist:
“they understand what happened, provided they’re being communicated with and given food and water. Maybe (management) should break out the band.”
Seriously?! That’s the recommended message? “We’re still feeding you and hey, MUSIC?!!” Next thing you know, someone’s gonna want their life back.
“Break out the band” is dreadful advice, an even worse attitude for damage control.
Of course the crew shouldn’t overreact and cause additional panic; and yes they need to do make steps to comfort guests, help passengers pass the time.
But going on as if nothing’s happening? Making it a party? I don’t think I’d be in the mood for a limbo if I hadn’t showered for two days. There are times levity can ease tension, calm the storm — but adrift at sea with limited resources and terrible conditions isn’t one of them.
Am I making a mountain out of a molehill, or is this not exactly the best crisis PR advice?