The 600ft Costa Allegra, owned by the same company as the Costa Concordia that capsized off the Italian island of Giglio six weeks ago, lost power on Monday after a fire in its main generator room.
The liner spent Monday night drifting in waters plagued by Somali pirates with no power, lights or air-conditioning.
To have two incidents within a month of each other can only be described as unfortunate and any PR pro’s worst nightmare come to life.
The case of the Costa Concordia was a classic textbook crisis, one that followed, almost to the letter, the four stages of a PR crisis: The golden hour, when the story breaks and speculation begins; the unfolding stage, as events become clear and the media and world watch; the blame stage, as authorities and media search for bodies to blame and finally the rebuilding stage, as the brand and sector start to rebuild reputations.
This crisis should have been foreseen as any good PR pro should prepare for the worst scenario and in doing so prepare a crisis plan detailing exactly what to do in any such situation. However, it seemed Costa Cruises weren’t prepared for the impending crisis. The media seemed to control the story, rather than the PR company representing Costa Cruises. Neither company seemed to have prepared anything by way of a crisis plan. The entire PR strategy rested upon blame of the ships captain at the first sign of trouble, in an effort to save Costa Cruises reputation.
What will they do now they have been landed with their second crisis in six weeks?
I suspect, the best long term solution will be to re-brand the entire cruise ship operation. It will be interesting to watch this second case play out. Will the company, once again, try and pin the blame on Costa Allegra’s captain? or will they admit fault with the ship? Either way, their reputation will take a big hit and the company’s future rests on how they deal with this crisis.
Love Niamh x