Artisan Marketing Communications offers clients PR and marketing communications advice, practical support and implementation.

Monday, April 30, 2007

A real life PR crisis for one of my clients: the Dale Street Fire

I was watching the breakfast news and the story concerning a fire on Dale Street in Manchester.

I tried from the pictures to identify the buildings affected but it was hard to determine the exact location.

I had been talking to Nick Towle at the South Manchester Reporter on Friday about one of my clients Nick Rhind of CTI, a Manchester based software company. I was speaking to him again on Monday morning trying to sell in Nick and CTI, some luck but not everything I wanted.

About half an hour later the mobile went, "Hi it's Nick." Strange I thought you sound different, it took a few seconds to click. The next thing Nick of CTI told me that his offices were in one of the buildings on fire. Plans for Monday had changed.

Nick had taken precautions and backed up his office IT systems at his home: there is a dedicated broadband and a back-up server and laptops aplenty. The disaster plan came into play and Nick estimates that by Wednesday CTI will be running at 100%.

In addition to this good news Nick has already had an offer of an office from a client based in the Northern Quarter. Next week CTI could be running a few doors down from the burnt out buildings.

Unfortunately, of businesses that have suffered a fire 80% are badly affected and it happens to over 3,000 enterprises each year, according to the 2003 Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

So how is the PR playing out?

The key thing is to let everyone know that CTI Support Network Limited is still able to supply the service to the same standards as before. Most clients were phoning in to check the situation and Nick was on the mobile to reassure them. I will ask Nick to check if there is any client that has not been in contact - this will include leads and past clients - to make sure anyone planning to ask for a quote does not believe that CTI will be unavailable or distracted. It will also help re-engage with potential clients.

The local media has been contacted and Nick has been interviewed at length by the South Manchester Reporter and the Manchester Evening News on Monday.

To reinforce the above messages a press release will go out today to the broadcast media and will be followed by the business magazines.

The message about backing up key data as a priority action will also feature. Nick stresses that this is crucial and this episode demonstrates that Nick and CTI has put his words into action and have displayed the level of competency and responsibility that his clients expect.

I suppose we now have some case study to approach magazines that have forthcoming features on disaster recovery and the importance of back-up plans!

There looks as though there will be no PR crisis whatsoever.

If this is being read by a journalist and you wish to interview Nick please call me on 07957611834 and I will be happy to set-up an interview.


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