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Toyota Crisis Communication

Toyota Crisis Communication

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Published by: ari_mkc on Feb 21, 2012
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Ariel CaraballoCommunication 306: Organizational CommunicationDecember 7, 2011ariel.caraballo@rexmail.queens.edu
 
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Organizational and Crisis Communication within Toyota North AmericaWhen purchasing a car, most people put reliability and safety into high consideration fortheir choice. Each car brand has their own philosophy as to how they are able to obtain andmaintain their customers. For many years, Toyota was known as a brand that could be trusted.Toyota vehicles were viewed as dependable, reliable, practical, and stylish enough for theaverage consumer. In 2010, however, the view of Toyota by many consumers was completelychanged. There was a situation where several of the accelerator pedals in newly made Toyotavehicles were sticking which lead to several accidents and even deaths (www.toyota.com).Obviously, there was a factory mistake on these vehicles. Toyota immediately sent out a recallfor all vehicles created during the time period when there was a potential mistake that couldhave been made in the factory. This recall and the accidents lead to a public relations andmedia nightmare for the corporation (www.toyota.com).Overnight, Toyota went from being a dependable and trustworthy car brand to a companywhich consumers did not view as reliable. Consumers questioned how Toyota could not havemore intricately inspected all of these vehicles for a problem as significant as the accelerator,before sending them out to dealerships. At this point, Toyota was faced with the responsibilityto begin crisis communication for their company. In order to make people believe in them onceagain, they needed to develop a strategic plan in order to gain trust and prove that their carsare actually dependable. They had to show that the recall was a terrible mistake, that thosewho were affected will be compensated, and that the problem would not happen again. Yearslater, it seems that Toyota has taken their crisis communication plan during this time very
 
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seriously. Nowadays, there is little talk of the recall and Toyotas are once again being viewed asa smart car choice (www.toyota.com).Crisis communication is a growing field during this time for public relations agencies, crisiscommunications firms, and organizations in general. There is no question that recently in themedia there has been a long string of crises regarding both organizations and individualsthemselves. It is during these times that the organizations and individuals must prove that theyare based on honesty, integrity, and are capable of being trusted. Otherwise, they have thepotential to lose all of their followers or consumers. According to Zaremba, CrisisCommunication is caused by an event that occurs unexpectedly, could damage anorganizations reputation, values, and performance, and requires effective communication(Zaremba 234). Crisis Communicators have the responsibility to conceive, create, anddisseminate messages to internal and external audiences during times of organizational crisis(Zaremba 234). Overall with crisis communication, the main thing to keep in mind is to be
honest.
Without honesty, problems can go from terrible to disastrous for a company orindividual. If there was already a problem, consumers do not want to be lied to further.Therefore, it is imperative for crisis communication teams to disclose the facts only at all times.(Zaremba 237). Another portion of crisis communication rules which must be kept in mind is toremember the Four Rs. The Four Rs are reputation, relationships, responsibility, andresponse (Zaremba 245). All four of these elements must be examined and taken into accountfor crisis communication to be truly effective.

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