Tagged 'natural diaster'

Duracell, Verizon, AT&T offer electricity for hurricane victims

During disasters and the prolonged relief efforts that follow, access to information and the ability to connect with loved ones is crucial to alleviating anxiety—which we noted back in 2010, following the Chilean earthquake, and last year, after Hurricane Irene. Now, in the wake of Sandy, one of the largest hurricanes to hit the United States, companies large and small are stepping in to help with at least one major issue for victims—lack of power.

Duracell unleashed a “Power Forward Community Center” in New York City’s Battery Park, enabling people to charge devices and also get online at computer terminals. And the company’s “Rapid Responder” four-by-four truck, which is suited up with power outlets, is roaming the streets of New York and Hoboken, N.J. People can also get free Duracell batteries to keep their radios and flashlights going.

Similarly, Verizon sent out mobile charging stations to several affected areas in New Jersey, West Virginia and Ohio. Yesterday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said AT&T will provide charging spots at the food and water stations the city is setting up. And, in areas where they are operational, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile retail outlets are allowing visitors to charge their devices in-store. Some local businesses also lent a hand where they could: In New York City’s East Village, for example, one restaurant, Percy’s Tavern, posted a sign reading “Friends and neighbors, please make use of our generators for phone charging to contact friends & family to let them know how you are.”

During times of distress, relatively low-cost gestures like these can go a long way in restoring a sense of normalcy for people affected while building good will toward the brand.

Photo Credit: news.verizonwireless.com

In Japan, Kit Kat decorates Tohoku train with messages of support

In Japan, Kit Kat has launched World Variety, a new multi-pack with three Kit Kat flavors from around the world. With each purchase Kit Kat is donating 20 yen to the Sanriku Railway, a vital lifeline for many Tohoku coastal communities, which were heavily damaged by last year’s earthquake and tsunami. With the reopening of a key section of the railway line this month, the brand is also decorating the outside of trains with messages of hope and goodwill from Kit Kat fans around the world. Fans can submit messages of support in their language to the brand’s Facebook page.

We called this initiative Kit Zutto Project to let people in Tohoku know we will be there for them: Kitto means “surely” and zutto “for a long time.” Last July, we posted about Kit Kat selling a special Northern Japanese flavor nationwide, with Nestlé donating a portion of sales to the Japanese Red Cross.

Yahoo! responds to Japan’s energy shortage with ‘Power Usage Indicator’

As a result of the earthquake and nuclear crisis, a shortage of power has become an everyday issue for Japanese consumers and businesses. There is a growing concern that this will impact economic recovery, with factories stopping operations every now and then, commuters delayed by trains that periodically stop or slow down, and shops and restaurants closing earlier. People have become extremely conscious of the need to conserve power in their everyday lives, especially with the hot summer approaching, a time when power usage peaks with use of air-conditioning.

Shortly after the earthquake, Yahoo! started displaying a “Power Usage Indicator” on its home page. It uses data from the utility TEPCO to show how much power is being used, updated by the hour, giving people a tangible way to gauge the current situation. Until the earthquake, most people didn’t think much about their energy consumption and used power as if the supply were infinite. The indicator makes people constantly aware of the issue and lets them know when to be especially careful about their own usage.

This is a good example of “branded utility”—finding practical ways to help people in response to the difficulties that arise during our recovery process.

森田尚子 - 東京




Lonely Planet lends a hand to stranded travelers

lonely-planetWith the massive travel disruptions caused by the volcanic ash cloud over Europe, Lonely Planet turned chaos into an opportunity to get on the radar of the numerous travelers stranded in unfamiliar cities. It is offering 13 of its iPhone guides for free for a period of a few days, focusing on the most affected cities; the apps normally sell for $15.99 apiece. The simple initiative will score goodwill points with anxious travelers, helping to drive consumer engagement while making more people aware of the brand’s iPhone guides.

Photo Credit: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/campaigns/iphone/