The recent crash of Flight 3407 that killed 50 was a disaster that affected many in Western NY. The degrees of separation are few in our communities and a disaster like this is never far from touching each of us. In many business meetings over the past few days there has been more than one conversation about a brother of a friend or the husband of a coworker dying.
There have been many recent reports of using Maps in reporting disasters ala the Australian wild fires but I was more than a little taken aback to see Google Maps Local Adwords being using for disaster communication and reputation management.
The more I thought about it, the more it struck me as an excellent idea. Certainly there is a role for company communications in a time like this and what better medium than Maps. The ads didn’t have the garish tackiness of the lawyer ads that one sees cropping up on the main search results during these type of events. The lower profile of ads in Maps provided a subtler and more appropriate way for the company to communicate with both the public at large and those affected by the disaster. I spotted this ad while researching a general business category:
Colgan Air and its parent company Pinnacle Airline were able to quickly target and communicate their message to the local community without seeming exploitive or over eager. Obviously, someone was on the ball there.
Maps is definitely coming of age.Google Maps: Disaster Communications & Reputation Management by Mike Blumenthal