Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.
- Anthony J. D’Angelo
Admit it. The winter weather has power, and a lot of it. After just being hit with winter storm Maximus, the city is being slammed with more flakes and freezing rain. So what impact does the adverse weather conditions have on business? More specifically, how does the weather impact public relations?
For starters, businesses function and depend on transportation. Whether it’s commuting in to work, or making deliveries for clients, there is an undeniable reliance upon the world of planes, trains, and automobiles. It all goes back to the old adage “if you bought it, a truck brought it.” The interesting thing about this topic is the wide range of industries impacted by transportation. It doesn’t matter if you work for a tech company, a restaurant, or a luxury fashion label – in some way or another your industry relies on some form of transportation.
When the colder weather arrives, it is important to consider ways in which your client’s business or industry will be impacted by delays or cancellations. This includes understanding how
transportation (or the lack thereof) may cause some public relations issues, or a crisis situation. Below I’ve compiled a list of impacts that you may face with your client, or your client’s business. As well, I’ve included potential ways to alleviate the issue, and prepare for a scenario before it takes place.
- Internal Relations – When the weather gets bad, you need to consider the safety of all your employees. While you have a duty to your clients to be punctual for meetings,
or conference calls, one thing you can’t control is the weather. The last thing you want to do is jeopardize people’s safety. In this situation, being prepared is key.
If you are aware of potential weather conditions, have communication material ready to be distributed to your employees. This should include what will take place if it is unsafe to travel to work. If there are scheduled meetings to take place that day, be sure to have a strategy in place to reschedule or make the meeting virtual.
- The Client – If you own your own firm, or work for an agency, you need to be prepared to communicate to your client about the inclement weather. Make sure you bring home client numbers and contact information if you are not able to travel to the office. Keep in mind that not all clients will be located in your city. Business is as usual on their end.
- The Audience – If you manage in-house communications, have proper material in place for letting your audience know the effects of the weather on your business schedule.
This includes operating hours or intended early closures. The best way to alleviate
frustration due to a surprised closure is to inform the public as soon as possible
about any changes.
- Understand the Industry – As I mentioned above, each industry of public relations will be impacted by weather conditions differently. Road closures can impact the delivery of
sample garments required for a magazine shoot happening downtown. On the other hand, scheduled flights for a celebrity’s interview with press might be canceled.
Make sure you’ve considered these scenarios and potential solutions, especially ones that
impact your industry directly. It all comes down to being prepared for these situations before they occur.
What other ways does the weather impact public relations? Tweet me @Sam__Dickson