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BP Crisis Brings Exxon Along for the Ride

The BP oil rig explosion just hit the two-month milestone. At last count, I was one of 10,332 writers (my horseshoe-far number) who weighed in with a perspective or two on BP’s crisis communications. Make that 10,333, with the BBC highlighting BP boss Tony Hayward’s gaffes. A byproduct of BP’s PR nightmare involves the resurrection of the Exxon Valdez …more

BP Letter On Crisis Shows Common Sense (In Stark Contrast To Toyota Approach)

The communications controlled by a company during a crisis – not the media coverage – provide the best indicator of competency (or lack thereof). If you can’t get the communications under your control right, you have zero chance of winning over others to carry your story forward. That’s why I characterized Toyota’s crisis communications as amateur hour. The company’s first open …more

Toyota Crisis: Hell Hath No Fury Like a Car Maker Scorned

Scorn makes for good storytelling. It brings out emotion and ultimately unscripted drama. Look no further than the bevy of reality TV shows cranking out the profits to understand the appeal of NOT knowing how the story will turn out. With this in mind, I suspect we’re going to see and read a helluva story …more

Toyota Crisis PR: Customer Letter No. 4 Loses Its Way

When it comes to a crisis, everyone tends to fixate on the “bad press.” I think it’s more revealing to zero in on the communications controlled by the offending company. How are they telling their story within their control? That’s why I find the Toyota open letters to customers so fascinating. Just because you control …more

What Can Tiger Say to Diffuse the Crisis?

Tiger takes center stage tomorrow to publicly share his mea culpa. Every pundit and his brother has weighed in with a view. The local NBC affiliate was in our office today to interview our crisis guru John Radewagen. So I’ll keep my view brief. The statement on Tiger’s Web site doesn’t lead me to believe …more

Crisis PR: Third Toyota Customer Letter Falls Flat

Customer letter No. 3 from Toyota arrived on the scene today. Like the previous two – analyzed in “Open Letter to Toyota Customers Hits Pothole” and “Toyota’s Second Letter to Customers Stays on the Road,” this letter was published in major dailies and on the company’s Web site. Unfortunately, the third time was not a …more

Crisis PR: Toyota’s Second Letter to Customers Stays On The Road

I skewered Toyota earlier in the week in the post “Open Letter to Toyota Customers Hits Pothole.” Instead of addressing the issue head on, Toyota started the letter harking back to its 50-year heritage. The narrative went downhill from there. I don’t think Toyota was particularly proud of the letter either given it’s no longer …more

Open Letter to Toyota Customers Hits Pothole

You know the Toyota debacle has reached a new low when it snares Steve Wozniak. And Woz’s issue isn’t even with the sticking gas pedal (the darn cruise control was malfunctioning). I think it’s fair to say the timing for this celebrity endorsement isn’t ideal. To ensure the “we-care” message reaches the masses, Toyota crafted …more

The Quest to Hide a Train Wreck Story: Crisis Communications

Everybody loves a train wreck and what I affectionately call a “NASCAR story.” Even the promise of a collision tends to attract a crowd. With this as the backdrop, UTStarcom faced a quandary. The Justice Department had nailed the company for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a fancy phrase for bribery. How does …more