In time of crisis, a public relations specialist must pull a specific strategy for each audience and understand how each audience it is going to react to this strategy. The public relations specialist needs to watch and analyze the audience to determine if its strategy is effective or not. If the strategy chosen it is not providing the results expected the specialist should make a smart move and change his plan. For this reason it is extremely important to always have a public relations specialist in every organization because it is essential that in a time of crisis there is an expert who will know how to handle the situation.
In the case of Toyota, this is a company with a solid foundation that has been in the market for more than 20 years, but unfortunately last year had to face a time of crisis after a California Highway Patrol officer died along with his family because of a faulty accelerator pedals on the automobile. Benefits and Risks of using Strategies After the incident, Toyota tried to find a solution for the issue and its spokespeople sent messages out to the media assuring the public of the quality its products.
These measurements were an effort to win back the good reputation that they had prior to this incident. Toyota felt it was necessary to suspend the production of eight of its most popular units to focus on finding a solution to the problem with its automobiles. Toyota Public relations campaign was considered a one of the best public relations campaign in years because their strategy was based on proper decisions and cautiousness to promote the peace of mind of its consumers.
When an organization is diffusing a crisis five paramount principles exist: (1) define the risk for each potentially affected audience; (2) describe the actions that mitigate the risk; (3) identify the case of the risk; (4) demonstrate responsible management action and finally, (5) create a consistent message,” (Seitel 387) In this case Toyota was successful in diffusing the situation because their strategy included all five of these crucial principles. Toyota relied heavily on the use of public relations to reaffirm to its consumers that the company’s main priority was the safety of their customers and not and not making a profit.
Toyota chose to use public relations because it allowed the company to target specifically its customers and critics through press releases, speeches, and blogs to explain the reality of the problem and how they plan to fix the issues. According to BNET-CBS ORGANIZATION (2010), “In the immediate aftermath of the siege of negative publicity and news coverage on the recall crisis, Toyota embarked on an intensive media ad campaign that centered on company concerns for public safety regarding the affected car models and ensured owners that immediate repairs would be available, at no cost, at dealers throughout the U.
S. and worldwide. The ads, which aired on prime-time television, the internet and national newspapers, sought to insure public confidence in the Toyota Brand, although a huge amount of money was spent on advertising” (Business Publications, para. 7). The only risk in Toyota’s campaign was that the company’s main focus was on saving face and trying to reverse the negative impact of the recall on the company. Toyota did not focus on their loss and how their stocks were going down in the stockholders market.
In time of crisis the management should always focus on the efforts of minimizing potential loss and balance the economic situation of the organization. Were these strategies effective or ineffective? Explain your answers. Luckily Toyota started this recall catastrophe with a very loyal customer base and extremely good reputation. Using an intensive public relations campaign strategy and the five paramount principles of diffusing a crisis has been very effective and Toyota’s reputation has remained mostly untarnished.
Despite Toyota’s recall troubles, the company has been doing very well financially. The campaign has been successful and despite an estimated expenditure of two to five and a half billion dollars, the company still managed to make a profit in 2009 and 2010 (“Despite recalls Toyota still profits”). According to most research customers still have confidence in Toyota vehicles despite their recent troubles. Most people do believe that Toyota is making the necessary improvements to the safety of their vehicles and Toyota’s resale value remains high (Jackson).
In a case that proves that customer confidence in Toyota remains high, trying to profit from Toyota’s troubles a few other American automakers offered extra incentives to customers who traded in a Toyota for a vehicle from the dealership. The campaign had little success. According to Marge Weigt, general sales manager for Kokomo’s Button Dodge “We’ve had a few come in, but very few seem interested,” said “As long as the car has been properly repaired, we would be fine with a trade-in, but we haven’t seen a lot of those, either”(Jackson).
Would you have used different PR crisis communication strategies in this situation? Explain why or why not. I believe that Toyota’s strategies for diffusing this PR crisis have been very effective, and I would have made similar decisions. Focusing directly on maintaining and continuing to build on their customer’s and critic’s confidence is extremely important, especially in times of crisis. One major area where I would have focused more attention would be on Toyota’s potential customer base, or people who have never owned a Toyota but might in the future.
Data has show that Toyota’s customers have remained loyal because they have seen proof with their own vehicle. However, people who have never owned a Toyota and base their opinion solely on what they have seen or heard, are probably less likely to purchase a Toyota today than they were before this crisis. Toyota should focus a campaign on those potential buyers that includes data about exactly what the company has done to improve their vehicles and exactly what sets Toyota vehicles apart from the rest.
The focus of this campaign would be to not only maintain their current customer base but to also work towards increasing it. Describe a possible crisis one of the following organizations might face. Starbucks is one of the world’s biggest chains of coffee shops that they have rapidly grown during the 90s and continue its expansion through the world based on outstanding customer service and its amazing product. Last year was one of toughest year for the corporation who needed to face its second biggest crisis ever, closing more than 600 not profitable locations in the United States.
Starbucks crisis started in 2008, when “its shares slumped by 42%, making it one of the worst performers on the NASDAQ stock exchange and according to analysts this is the result of a company that has grown far too fast” (“Global Agenda,” 2008, para. 2). At that moment Starbucks had more than 10,600 coffee shops in the United States, and it was planning to open 20,000 shops in America and another 20,000 around the globe, but this was an ambition that has its doubts.
Other specialists describe Starbucks crisis as a loss of identity because after many years in business, Starbucks did not longer projected the image that its founder wanted for its retail chain, a romance experience and the pleasure to enjoy a cup of coffee in an outstanding environment. Nothing is convenient about the products of this corporation because this is an item for consumption that could easily be made at home, avoiding paying exorbitant prices for a cup of coffee.