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When Rats Attack
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By Darryl Ohrt

NBC New York broadcasts a story about rats at a Taco Bell in Greenwich Village. A few years ago, this would have been a local crisis for PR people in New York.

But now, it's instantly national, with blogs, YouTube, and everything else. Brands need to be ready to respond to these types of emergencies. Like it or not, they're going to happen. When you least expect them.

And, as Church of the Customer points out, your website needs to be flexible enough to accommodate a rapid response. A wicked cool flash only homepage may not be as flexible as you need.

It's a good idea to integrate adaptable promotional areas where HTML could quickly be swapped out - for a marketing promotion, for a new product announcement, for when the rats attack. Just a good design practice. This has less to do with Flash, although there are usually more developers around that can handle an emergency HTML change, and more to do with design. The last thing you'll have time for when the rats arrive, is a complete redesign of your home page.

Taco Bell's site actually allows for this (click on the "Latest News" section.) JetBlue also deserves high marks - they were able to quickly add a customer's bill of rights and embedded video of the CEO to the site.

So, what about your site? Are you ready for the rats?

Darryl Ohrt is the founder of VIA and the chief contributor to BrandFlakesForBreakfast.com.

Darryl Ohrt is the founder of Plaid.
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