We hope you’re all ok after the recent quakes and floods that plagued New Zealand. Since then, Helen and Dianne have been watching and thinking about how reliant we’ve all become on digital media and cloud based solutions. We learnt how essential it is to get our your communications during a natural disaster.
How kiwis deal with a natural disaster
As soon as the shocks from the main earthquake wore off on Sunday evening, many kiwis were straight on social media. Geonet’s Twitter page was the busiest it’s ever been in New Zealand. Tweet after Tweet send out a new aftershock report. Many kiwis began checking their local Civil Defence’s Twitter to see if evacuation was necessary, only to be left in the dark with no information. The next step was to Google Tsunami safe zones and find out where the nearest equation point was.
Checking into local radio stations, streamed by laptops, Kiwis listened to classical music from Radio New Zealand. We were wondering why there weren’t safety broadcasts on every channel, wondering if infrastructure was safe, wondering if we needed to evacuate, wondering if the rest of New Zealand was safe. Once the initial danger seemed to subside, smart phones buzzed with Facebook notifications as friends and family marked themselves as safe. Traditional media channels left us with nothing. So Dianne’s flat finished the evening, camping out in the hallway with hot chocolates and retiring around 1:30pm when they felt the aftershocks finally subsided.
The calm before the storm
The next day Wellington’s CBD was closed for inspection leaving many unable to go to work. But businesses still needed to operate as Christmas is looming. Meeting deadlines are essential if small businesses are to survive the quiet New Years period. We all logged onto cloud based services from home. Facebook posts communicated businesses opening hours and our social media feeds drip fed us updates as the news unfolded. Those who could, returned to their everyday lives on Tuesday, cleaning up smashed glass and debris. We saw first-hand, just how lucky were were that most of our important documents are now digital – saving them from potential ruin.
Digital floods pour into reality
Then the flooding hit. Some people were stuck at work, unable to return home. Again, social media was a frenzy, with kind hearted kiwis offering their homes to those in need. The whole week has been fraught with disaster and love. When at work, we were all a little distracted, checking our computers to see the latest news, and traffic updates.
What did we learn?
We NEED and have come to expect communications during a natural disaster. It’s no something that’s ‘nice to have.’ It is essential that every New Zealand business has a digital presence. Social media is not the icing on the cake. It is the flour that binds everything together and if you do it right, it is the yeast that will make your cake rise above all others. For the companies we manage, their websites, newsletters and social media were easier and quicker for us to get key disaster related communications out. Having the marketing systems already in place made a big difference in timing during emergencies and unexpected situations.
Your online presence is a must have in this digital age. So, if your company struggled to get communications out during a disaster contact Synthesis Marketing.