In our last post about the media being mean, I talked about the “Mean Media” making up news about Tiger Woods. This was after he crashed his truck and hadn’t yet spoken to the media. Well, here is the next instalment (sorry, it’s Toyota’s turn, enough on Tiger).
A few weeks ago there was a report that Toyota was going to recall a bunch of their cars due to a sticking gas pedal. At the time the news did not report any accidents caused by the sticking gas pedal. Nobody had been hurt and there was no cause for alarm (other than it was impacting 2.3 million cars). To date, there still aren’t any injuries resulting from the recall/faulty part. Regardless, the resulting media storm caused the value of Toyota to drop, and is calling into question the “safetyness” of the entire brand! All of this happened before the CEO of Toyota stepped forward, expressing his heartfelt regret for the gas pedal recall. Since his apology, the value of Toyota has gone back up and they have settled into a regular recall.
What does all of this teach us?
Before the CEO came out with the apology, the media speculated about the recall. They thought it was going to be a long-term black eye against the most reliable car manufacturer in the world. Since the apology, the wind has been taken out of the sails of the media and they have left Toyota alone to complete the repairs to the gas pedal. When something like this happens to you, these are the exact steps you (and your company) need to take. Address the problem, make amends and go about fixing the problem before it festers so far out of control that you’ll never recover. Keep your customers up to date about the facts and don’t let the media dictate to your customers about your disaster.
As a note: Tiger Woods is still the top brand by an athlete.
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