Within minutes of a power outage in Wellington today, punters were speculating on the reasons.
Power began being restored after two hours, along with a reason for the outage – a substation equipment failure.
But rumours about the outage had already spread rapidly on the streets where office workers unshackled from dead computers milled about, talking and poking at their mobiles. These rumours claimed that fires in various office buildings had caused the outage.
The rumour was fuelled by many fire engines buzzing about the city – ironically called out by the milling office workers who saw smoke from buildings where back-up diesel generators were kicking in to supply power.
From the moment the outage happened, people began to wonder why, and piece the threads together. They were dead wrong.
This is typical of almost every PR issue, not just a crisis:
- People will devise explanations, and reactions, before you provide one
- So your explanation needs to get to them very quickly
- Your explanation needs to be more believable than the one they already created