Corporates turn to social media in crisis

March 30, 2010 at 9:57 pm (online media, Public Relations) (, , , )

It seems like an increasing number of corporations start to change their attitudes towards social media. Although, it is still seen by many PR chiefs as a source of threat. The are obvious dangers that social media pose to corporate reputation. News travels fast and it is virtually impossible to control information once its out there.
Probably this led corporations to use social media effectively to their own benefit.
On the other hand as Neil Bayley from Porter Novelly suggested this is trend that still needs to develop. The main problem is testing the use of social media in a crisis situation. The ability to respond the right way is an ability that corporation are yet to acquire.

The research done by Dynamic Markets suggest that bloggers are seen as a greater threat than the traditional media.
The agencies that participated in this research claimed that clients had reputation crisis problems that included social media. Almost half of them complained about journalists going to the wrong people. Through social media various sources with various levels of credibility are accessible.  It is easy to see why this is a problem, especially in a crisis situation.

It is necessary foe corporation to ultimately integrate social media in their PR practices. Social media just gets bigger and stronger, as things seem right now.  Companies big or small need to keep up with the digital sphere. They also need to do so with people who are trained and/or experienced in social media. These people are essential to responding well because of their strategic understanding of social media. The other valuable thing to take away from this, is preparation for crisis. Having flexible but tried and tested plans are the best assets a corporations can have in such an uncertain environment.

For more info go to:

Corporates increasingly turn to social media to mend damaged reputations


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Toyota: the PR crisis

February 20, 2010 at 11:18 pm (Public Relations) (, , , )

The Toyota story in PR is huge nowadays. There are so many mistakes. It is not just the pedals that have problems. Toyota need to fix is PR as well.
In class we spoke so much about the importance of body language in Japan and how a bad bow can turn things worse.
But what should one think about Toyota if the president Akio Toyoda uses an Audi?
This is yet a another mistake that damages the reputation of Toyota. Those who represent the brand, (especially the president) should put down the flashy car and show that Toyota is safe. This incident really sends the wrong message, right from the center.
Mr. Toyoda was also reported to give only short statements.  This is really unwise as so many others speak question the safety of these cars.
It will take longer to counteract this air of ignorance around the leadership of Toyota than the time it takes to fix the cars. People who have no choice but to drive to carry on with their lives do have a reason to be worried.  Even if statistics  show that the likelihood of the accelerator or the break in the car malfunctioning is minimum, Toyota drivers can’t keep asking themselves: Will I be the next one? Will my car stop?
The slower the recalls and repairs take the more the panic will grow. Therefore the company really needs to communicate and fix, and should have done so from the beginning.
Probably the long term PR priority will be to rebuild the trust and the reputation for safety, by putting it out to the media as often as possible.  Toyota can no longer take trust for granted. I imagine they will need to enter competitions, compare themselves with other cars in the category and prove through there, where they stand.  It some way it is possible they have to start form nearly the beginning (depending on the damage  this crisis end up resulting in). As for being represented it is possible that Toyota will possibly need a new “face” , someone who people can connect with more. This representative has to have a very good rapport with the media. I wouldn’t be surprised if the would  get a (car racing) celebrity on board to enhance the image.

Future will tell how and if Toyota will be the safe brand again.

Meanwhile look at:

Friday Drop Bad week for Toyota UK Head PR Scott Borwnlee

Toyota CEO Will Now Testify Before Congress (Video)

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Positive thinking in crisis.

January 25, 2010 at 10:29 pm (Public Relations) (, , )

I have just been reading the book called Risk Issues and Crisis Management by Michael Regester and Judy Larkin. They raised an interesting point of view about crisis management.
Instead of thinking about all the damage it can to to a company, (all the loss of trust and the anger of stakeholders), crisis management can be looked at as a source of opportunity.
If there is a plan for a potential crisis and when bad luck hits the company shows how well they can handle it can actually win them friends, support not to mention a reputation of reliability.
It is really important though to make a clear distinction between promises and actions.
Covering up a mistake with a nice story can backfire. The right actions have a much bigger value.
Unfortunately the past of the company can really affect any plan to do crisis management. If in the past it had been known for mistakes, attempted cover ups, and mishandling of issues then the harder it will be to shake that reputation.
I am wondering how difficult it is to turn a company with a less then perfect past around? Is it possible? After all, the media like to go and dig up other negative stories when a crisis emerges, which makes matters worse. If so, how does a PR professional deal with that?

Is it all a matter of positive thinking?

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