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NEW YORK TIMES ANALYSIS OF RECENT CORPORATE CRISES

A good analysis of BP, Toyota and Goldman Sachs on crisis appears in the New York Times, Sunday, August 22. http://nyti.ms/9KT2ck. Peter Goodman’s article makes several strong points:
  1. First, it’s one of the better factual recounts of the events for each enterprise involved in the spill and the cleanup. BP et al are now buzz words, very few people actually know or remember what actually occurred.
  2. Goodman does a good job describing the tensions between legal departments and PR. Lawyers are primarily concerned with litigation and proofs in court, and with shareholder actions. The PR teams, while aware of these issues, face the need to communicate with regulators, shareholders (not with their lawyers), customers and consumers.
  3. He notes that for the lucky organizations that haven’t been in the public eye, start now and develop a crisis plan. This will save time and confusion during a crisis.
  4. In the middle of the really big crisis, he writes, no organization is really “winning” particularly when all facts are not in and the regular and social media has the events in hits 24/7 gun sights.

We would have added a few more items to make it a fuller article:

  1. Goodman barely mentions the role of social media and its impact on crisis planning and response. Perhaps he didn’t think it played much of a role in this year’s biggest crises. Yet he should have found a couple of experts to talk about how social media is a game “impacter” in the current media landscape.
  2. Besides Goodman’s recommendation to start planning for crisis, we also recommend that companies think through what we at CommCore call the RPM “Reputation Protection Model ©” through the lens of how the company, agency, organization or brand is viewed at-large.
  3. Goodman, like other reporters on crises, uses Tylenol as one of the comparisons to this year”s bumper crop. The point he misses is that in addition to making the right moves, Johnson & Johnson benefited in that they were never perceived by the public as the bad guy. In the cases of BP, Toyota, and Goldman Sachs, each of the companies did something to either start and/or make the crisis worse. J&J was essentially minding its business when the attackers placed poison in the bottle.
As we track crises, we have a perspective on the recent salmonella egg recall: http://www.commcoreconsulting.com/resources/observer.html