Flood of Compassion – Turning Crisis Into Opportunity

queensland floods
Queensland has just survived the biggest natural disaster since the floods of 1974, and even Publicity Queen experienced power outages and disruptions to our regular business operations, although thankfully we were spared inundation, stock loss and property damage.  Sadly for many local businesses this was not the case, and the road to recovery has begun in earnest.

It has been interesting watching the local people of Brisbane rally around to get this city back on its feet, but even more fascinating – in public relations terms – has been the response by the corporate sector to this disaster.

While some insurers have stuck to the letter of the contracts of their insurance cover, and refused to make payments to flood-affected people and businesses despite serious personal hardship, others have gone above and beyond and shown genuine corporate compassion (yes, such a thing does exist) and extended a hand-up to their fellow Queenslanders.

There are many examples I could cite here, but I would briefly like to applaud the efforts of Suncorp and Westpac in this area.

Suncorp took the extraordinary foresight in 2008 to extend automatic flood cover to all of its domestic insurance policy holders, and has taken a proactive approach in assisting its customers with seeking their insurance payouts, and used timely radio spots to reach as many people as possible to explain the how to access their assistance.  Suncorp’s website also features a well-designed and informative “flood facts” section, with practical and timely advice on how to make a claim.

Westpac, similarly, took the altruistic line, offering its affected customers assistance in the form of optional waivers of mortgage repayments and credit card payments for up to three months for those worst affected by the floods; and Chair Gail Kelly even made the extraordinary statement that in some cases, mortgages could be waived for some customers.

These big companies have certainly led the way, and their efforts have been supported by business across the State and across the country, where jars collecting funds for the flood appeal seem to be in every bank, shop and cafe that you go to.

This is not just human decency at work, it makes smart business sense.  The public relations bounce that will be felt by companies like Suncorp and Westpac will be felt long after the floodwaters have subsided, the mud has been cleaned up, and life has returned to normal.   Queenslanders and customers elswhere will remember which companies, big and small, stood by their long-time customers in their time of need. 

As Queensland drags itself, literally, out of the mud, it is comforting to know that many members of our business community are taking a big-hearted approach to the disaster, generating goodwill for their own brands, and consolidating their market position at the same time. 

Publicity QueenYours in PR



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Brooke Simmons and Libby Collett, Sally Romano. Sally Romano said: Flood of Compassion – How to Turn Crisis Into Opportunity: http://t.co/POqW81l […]

  2. Dogs_Can_Fly Said:

    This is a very good article…

  3. […] their customers and their spirit of generosity.  Previously in this blog I have written about how corporate compassion can give businesses a great PR boost, while imparting that warm fuzzy personal glow that comes from helping others.  With this in mind […]

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