Aramco Services Company (ASC) community relations effort in response to Hurricane Harvey has been chosen as a finalist for the Platinum PR and Agency Elite Awards by the trade group PR News.
Titled “Aramco Answers the Call: Hurricane Harvey Response,” the Harvey volunteer undertaking was guided by the company’s first-hand experience with Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“This nomination is wonderful news, reflecting the efforts of all ASC members who contributed to the relief efforts following Hurricane Harvey,” says Abdulrahman Bayounis, director of Public Affairs. “The Public Affairs staff in particular worked long hours to facilitate the company’s efforts to this major disaster.”
Many communications channels were utilized for Aramco’s response including local TV, radio and newspapers, social media, videos and intranet.
Other award finalists in the Community Relations category include such well-known companies as Anheuser Busch, Allstate, Mastercard and the Atlanta Braves baseball team. The awards cover a wide variety of public relations activities that range from crisis management to digital communication to internal publications.
Communications strategy took two-pronged approach
The company’s response to the disaster employed a combination of our active Community Social Responsibility (CSR) activities, such as volunteerism and donations, along with an approach crafted to be specific to the situation in Houston.
Established relationships with community partners and governmental entities were critical, and served as the first point of contact for research. Immediate needs in a natural disaster are related to survival such as food, shelter and clothing.
As survival shifted to recovery, the company launched an extensive collaboration with community partners and city government to find out how it could best support the long-term rebuilding of Houston. A series of site visits were conducted and an open-ended “how can we help” approach drew new ideas and specific solutions for supporting the Houston community rebuild.
The company’s CSR model was acknowledged by many of our community partners for being innovative and solution–oriented. Unique was the extensive dialogue between the company and its partners that helped uncover what were, at first, undetected needs, which were lost amidst the earlier survival response. This upfront collaboration required significant time, research and commitment, and resulted in providing assistance that was relevant, meaningful and measurable.
In total, 119 Aramco volunteers donated 544.5 hours for seven different organizations. “Our relief efforts following Hurricane Harvey were truly incredible and a testament to the can-do spirit of ASC employees,” saysAlma Kombargi, strategic communications director. “When we put out the call for volunteers, our people responded in immeasurable ways. We knew we could make a difference because we see this positive attitude year-round in our community relations activities.”