Hurricane Matthew revealed an interesting trend in mobile and social media. During the hurricane mobile technologies were able to offer assistance while brands leveraged digital platforms to keep the public informed and help those in need.

A recent post by Brielle Jaekel on Mobile Marketing reported that during Hurricane Matthew, brands in the US, including Walgreens (an online pharmacy retailer) and media houses such as NewsON and CNN, as well as Florida’s State Emergency Response Team, used mobile technology to help people in affected areas to get access to goods and services.

Stronger wireless networks combined with the current generation of smart phones allowed an entire spectrum of communications to take place, including text messages, video and even content relating to natural events. It allowed people to stay in touch with what was happening, no matter where they were.

Companies that stepped forward to help those affected by Hurricane Matthew assisted in a multitude of ways via mobile platforms – from enabling the fast-tracked filling of medical prescriptions before the storm arrived to simply keeping consumers up to date.

NewsOn, for instance, launched a streaming news application which not only assisted with relief efforts for those who were injured, but also provided continuous coverage for people who were still enduring the effects of the hurricane.

Florida State Emergency Response Team used mobile to provide informative messaging to users as well as up-to-date news. Users were able to have access to tips on how to prepare and protect themselves during the hurricane and what precautions to take.

CNN, on the other hand, made use of WhatsApp to gather information calling for users to send photos and information.

Western Union created a mobile app which allowed users to send convenient and accessible money transfers, allowing for those in need to be supported without having to leave their homes.

Ultimately, mobile applications proved to be extremely useful both in the build-up to and during hurricane Matthew, allowing for ease of communication and transfer of vital information, relief and funds at a time when access to information was challenging.

The big take-out: Mobile has changed the way in which brands and services are able to respond to and support consumers.

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