An Aurora of bad PR around P&O

The PR disaster surrounding the cruise ship Aurora left P&O looking unprofessional, uncaring and unimaginative. Trips and hopes of a lifetime have been ruined.

Rather than P&O doing an ER job on the patients of the ailing ship and making sure they keep them just about alive, they should have turned the ship, and the story, around and given passengers some good new-fashioned customer service. They had the opportunity to show the world’s media and potential customers what a caring company P&O really is.

Consumers’ relationships with companies are more determined by what happens when they don’t live up to expectations than when they do.

Extra-mile marketing pounds spent in this crisis would pay big loyalty and word-of-mouth dividends later, generating positive press coverage and reducing damaging PR. Just as with friends, partners and colleagues, investment of time, energy, emotion and money when you are in need goes a long way; and certainly further than the Aurora has been recently.

Vince Mitchell

Professor of consumer marketing

City University

London EC1

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