The current demand for disaster relief supplies and workforce greatly exceeds the supply at the moment. The recent earthquake in Pakistan has killed 87,000 people and left another 2.8 million people homeless. There is currently an estimated need for $550 million in disaster relief funding and $5.2 billion in reconstruction costs. The disaster relief agencies have been also experiencing lack of manpower to enable successful relief work. It is thought that the supply of people willing and able to perform such duties, even for paid positions may be tapped due to other recent large-scale natural disasters. This is hindering relief agencies from carrying out their core competencies.
The earthquake is currently being seen as yet another disaster, but in reality, billions of dollars are needed to ensure the health and well being of millions. Just supply the public with the facts may not be enough to get the world to take action in this case or in the future. Global climate and environmental degradation may be causing there to be a dramatic increase in the severity and prevalence of natural disasters. The global response to this problem may have a tremendous impact on poverty that otherwise ensue. This situation provides a marketing opportunity to express the importance and urgency of support to these aid organizations in such a manner that people are called to action.
Strong branding efforts on the part of disaster relief organizations may be important for differentiation from other organizations. Many people don’t know the difference from one to the next and are mostly familiar with the American Red Cross. Creating brand equity may be helpful because it may enable the public to take the messages more seriously that they are receiving in regards to a particular disaster if the organization is seen as having a strong presence.
Natural disasters can even be branded by the media and relief organizations. The Pakistani earthquake can be branded as an event where the world turned their backs on Pakistan in a time of dire need. Some more background on the country may be helpful. Many Americans could not find Pakistan on a map and therefore don’t share a sense of kinship with the people. As cultures become more global in nature, natural disasters can be branded as a way for the world to join together and aid their fellows.
Large-scale natural disasters have been a time when the world joins together in efforts to help a given area through the sharing of resources. This reaction will need to continue if afflicted areas are able to recover from these situations without leaving millions in poverty.