For those of you who anxiously await the arrival of our latest blog posts, we apologize for the delay. Unfortunately, Mr. Gustav and Mr. Ike decided to stop by for an unexpected visit, and things got a little messy here on the Gulf Coast Highway. So, in honor of recent events I thought it would be a good idea to take a break from our normally scheduled program of brand insight to talk about our recent adventures.

Fortunately, and I mean very fortunately, our immediate area of Lafayette was spared from annihilation from Gustav. Side note: Was it just me, or did the guys on the Weather Channel seem disappointed, if not completely annoyed that the storm wasn’t bigger?  Other areas further south though did not fare as well and are still in the process of recovering. Ike was kind enough to only pass through on its way to Texas, but the havoc it left there will be felt for many years to come.

The good news during these events was that our Government seemed to have learned from mistakes of the past, managing to evacuate all those in harms way.

It has been two weeks since Gustav hit, and other than the stacks of fallen debris from the trees that line our streets, everything for the most part is back to normal. Kids are back in school, businesses are re-opened, and life has regained its step. I hope Texas finds the same normalcy in the days to come.

While this article has little to do with branding, there is one particular note of interest that warrants mentioning. It has to do with a local DJ here that I feel embodies the very best of branding. His on air name is Fast Eddie, and he normally works the morning shift at KQIS here in Lafayette – but during the hurricane, Fast was transformed into a lifeline for thousands of people who were either displaced or hunkered down as they rode out the storm. I say transformed because he went from a fun morning jock, to a calm and reassuring voice of information – delivering updates for what seemed like days on end with no break. He didn’t deliver this information as a professional newsman, but moreover, as a trusted friend – who understood the fear, anxiety and frustrations of his listeners. It was honest, real and refreshing, and while it was obviously not his intended goal – I feel he did more for his brand and brand of the station than any arbitron rating ever will.

This is not to say that all “regional” media coverage wasn’t on the spot, they were. But for a locally owned station that promises to be a community partner – this was an ideal example of how they showed up when it mattered most. You can tell that during these events it was no longer just a job for Fast - it was something more.

As a proud son of Louisiana, this was unfortunately not my first dance with a hurricane, and I am certain it will not be my last. It is an undeniable truth that we must contend with here on the Gulf Coast, just as on the West Coast they deal with earthquakes and fires, and in the Mid West, random snowstorms and tornadoes that seem to drop from the sky.

Michael Russo
Creative Director
The Russo Group