It seems the problems never stop for beleaguered Costa Cruise Lines. As the waves settle over the wreck of the capsized Costa Concordia, a second ship, the Costa Allegra limped into port yesterday, following an onboard fire and power failure.
Costa Allegra passengers finally reached terra firma yesterday and were more than happy to vent. Citing unsanitary conditions and unbearable heat once the power failed, they had few kind words to say about their host company.
At the time of the first accident, Costa did a quick finger point at the Captain and successfully moved some of the attention away from themselves into a personal discussion about who the Captain was entertaining that night and what he had been drinking. Second time around it might not be so lucky. While Costa Cruises has done a commendable job talking about the emergency procedures it has put in place for the Allegra and for its hapless passengers, Costa’s PR efforts remain unlikely to salvage a now permanently tarnished brand.
The PR Verdict: “C” for Costa Cruises and its PR handling of these two accidents. Though the firm has handled the crises as well as can be expected, the only possible final outcome is a rebrand.
To paraphrase Oscar Wilde: To lose one cruise ship, may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose both looks like carelessness. No amount of PR spinning can turn around a brand that has been blighted so heavily in less than 3 months. Efforts to resuscitate the Costa Cruise Line brand will be neutralised by ongoing legal issues haunting the headlines. An overhaul and rebrand is needed, and with it a new management team able to talk about the turnaround from a fresh perspective. Happy Sailing.
What’s your PR Verdict on how Costa has handled this issue?
For further reading on the ten most successful rebranding campaigns try: http://www.businessinsider.com/10-most-successful-rebranding-campaigns-2011-2?op=1