At this point in time I would not be happy being a part of the PR practitioner team for Toyota. If you would have asked me threeyears ago I would have felt very differently, but with the publicity nightmare and public scare that has happened over the past couple of months I have realized what a difficult challenge being a PR practitioner can be like.
Not only did a solid company take a hit, but they took it in a time where social media and 24 hour news prevails. Twenty years ago the situation that Toyota finds it self in would have been able to be managed and kept more quiet than it can be in today’s world. Twitter, Google, Facebook, and 24 hour streaming news stations have allowed the mistakes of the company to reach the next level of distribution.
Though this has been a rough time for the PR team for Toyota, there have also been many consumers that stand by the company. Some people have sent out rumors of the U.S. government making this situation worse, and some people have even tried to benefit off of Toyota’s mistakes by making false claims. These rumors and claims have been viral and this is where crisis management takes place. It is important for a practitioner to understand the steps of crisis management.
Once all of the commotion and viral news stories settle down I believe that there are lessons that can be learned from Toyota.
Here are a few takeaways from Abliene Biz for business owners and other organizational leaders from the Toyota crisis:
1. Accept that it can happen to you. If companies such as Toyota and Johnson & Johnson (Tylenol) can get hit with major crises, so can your organization.
2. Plan ahead. When a crisis hits, executives no longer have the luxury of deliberating and responding with a news release for tomorrow’s newspaper.
3. Know where to find the experts. If
4. Get active on social media now.
5. If a crisis hits, assume responsibility and act.