The term ‘crisis pr’ is today’s term, no question. You’ve seen the news of Sunday’s early morning earthquake. We send our wishes of support to everyone coping with the aftermath.
Here is a checklist and overview of what a winery should be considering in this situation.
One thing which is clear from the early coverage of the Napa earthquake is that the outside world might not realize that many wineries don’t have power or electricity or Internet access. Keep that in mind as you reach out to communicate.
There are several communications to send out. Keep in mind that anything you send out “internally” may make its way to the media, so don’t disclose anything too proprietary or personal.
All of these pieces are equally important:
1) Be in touch with your employees. Update them with how the situation has impacted the business, whether you will be open, how to reach each other if phone lines or computers or power are down.
2) Be in touch with your partners: that would mean non-full-time employees, people who work intimately with you such as your computer website maintenance team or sales fulfillment company.
3) Communicate with your distributors: let them know if the situation is impacting shipping or availability of wines (if you know this yet) and most importantly, give them contact information if they have an urgent question.
4) Consider reaching out to your mailing list customers: if they’re fans of your winery, you can bet they’re eager to hear and may be monitoring your Facebook or website home page for news; hearing directly from you would be very meaningful to them.
5) Have a statement ready for the media. This can be very brief, even one or two sentences. It should be sent to any employee who might answer a phone and be asked to comment. You could literally put a copy by every phone in the winery. It should go on to your Facebook and website home page and other social media channels if possible. In intense professional and personal times of hardship, it is VERY important to have a position and ‘stick to it,’ so that the winery’s image is consistent. This sounds callous, perhaps, but the craft of image-making is very, very delicate, composed of so many strands of detail and personality—an off-hand comment to a journalist can easily undermine all of your marketing efforts over a long period of time.
The use of photos: Crisis situations aren’t different from normal life in that the power of a great photo can easily trump lots of words. Just remember—before sharing and posting photos of damage—that there is the communication of news and then there’s the long-term presence of those images.
We send everyone who was impacted by the earthquake our warmest wishes, and hope these ideas might be helpful.