Car-nage – can’t keep Toyota outa the news

PRWeek’s Reputation Survey on 26 February found:

41 per cent of the UK public would be put off buying a Toyota car in the future

40 per cent said their confidence in Toyota had been dented by the car maker’s problems

40 per cent believed that Toyota had handled the situation well.

According to the respected magazine, Toyota is now set to review how perceptions of the company have changed in the wake of the recall crisis that has battered the brand’s reputation for safety and reliability. The company has also launched a branded channel on TweetMeme called ‘Toyota Conversations’ to promote transparency and help repair its image. The site features news tweets, news stories and videos about Toyota.

It transpires that Toyota does not retain a global PR agency with its Japanese HQ handling comms through its longstanding ad agency Dentsu. Whatever the thoughts and management process behind this, is does reinforce the importance of establishing a proper “worst case scenario” crisis management plan. Did Toyota have one? It would seem not, as rumours are now rife of one agency being asked for input after the event.

The Press For Attention Prescription

Whilst mistakes are there to be learned from it beggars belief to think that they did not have these bases covered. I would urge anyone to have a plan in place – it doesn’t mean spin – it means accuracy and timely dissemination of information before inaccuracies add further fuel to the fire. Take some time to think  “what if?” You buy insurance to cover the physical loss. PR should be a part of your disaster recovery plan too.