Executive Briefings

What Can Other Companies Learn from Toyota's PR Nightmare?

Between October 2009 and March 2010 Toyota appeared in the headlines for all the wrong reasons - unstoppable runaway cars, serious safety defects kept hidden from the public, and failure to even admit internally that there might be serious electrical problems causing unintended acceleration. These relentless attacks came from the U.S. mainstream media on TV, radio and the internet and from the United States Congress. Almost nothing being claimed was true. As we learned one year later from a government-contracted NASA study, there is zero evidence of electronic problems causing unintended acceleration.

What do you do as CEO when you know the attacks are damaging your company's reputation, you know they are based on pure fiction, and the attacks are occurring outside your native country? While your inclination might be to come out with guns blazing and go on the counterattack, Toyota took a very different approach.

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Between October 2009 and March 2010 Toyota appeared in the headlines for all the wrong reasons - unstoppable runaway cars, serious safety defects kept hidden from the public, and failure to even admit internally that there might be serious electrical problems causing unintended acceleration. These relentless attacks came from the U.S. mainstream media on TV, radio and the internet and from the United States Congress. Almost nothing being claimed was true. As we learned one year later from a government-contracted NASA study, there is zero evidence of electronic problems causing unintended acceleration.

What do you do as CEO when you know the attacks are damaging your company's reputation, you know they are based on pure fiction, and the attacks are occurring outside your native country? While your inclination might be to come out with guns blazing and go on the counterattack, Toyota took a very different approach.

Read Full Article