Tag Archives: toyota

feel the tweet, luke – feel the tweet

toyota's vaunted brand image was trashed by twitterAccording to Indian website TopNews, Toyota’s PR department discovered early on that within hours of the historic sales embargo and accompanying recall, following right on the heels of steering, floor mat and gas pedal recalls, social media site twitter was responsible for painting a picture of a crippled giant. Twitter members generated an exponentially catastrophic message rate that at one point measured over 30 new tweets a minute, unleashing a torrent of negative publicity impossible to counter or control.

The metric that emerges as a result? There is no PR antidote that can stop or slow the viral nature of a global, near instantaneous stampede for the exits. In a time of widespread acceptance of crisis management by top corporations, the options for damage control are for significantly reduced, and in Toyota’s case, zero.

In Toyota’s case, where the problems are cumulative, the results in some cases fatal, and a definitive cure nowhere in site, the problem for successfully surviving the fallout becomes even more difficult. Previous worst case crisis’, like the Tylenol poisoning scare in 1982 that generated the template for PR intervention, would probably have been controllable even in today’s unfiltered social media atmosphere by the twin decisions of immediate recall and the suspension of product sales until tamper-proof packaging – and a sure fix – could be instituted.

toyota’s new brand – too soon to discuss?

time to start thinking about a replacementThere’s talk over in LinkedIn’s public relations groups about Toyota’s handling – or mishandling – of their disasterous recall performance. I posted the following comment earlier in the week on the subject, surprised that nearly two weeks after first announcing a recall there’d been so little actual hard reporting on the massive problem.

As of today, I don’t think it’s too soon to begin speculating on their eventual rebranding. That’s if they survive the other shoes waiting to drop. But first, time to rethink the rush to dismiss the importance of brand in the oceanic swell of social media first. If you’re a marketeer, it will always be about brand.

After the surprising – from a Western perspective – initial non-response, followed by the tepid release announcing Sunday’s ad that was itself the sound of one hand clapping, I’m wondering if… Continue reading