Malaysian Airlines Reputation Management Case Study


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A case study on how Malaysian Airlines managed the MH370 crisis and their reputation through all communication channels

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Malaysian Airlines Reputation Management Case Study

  1. 1. @madhusudhancr April 1, 2014
  2. 2. Source: Urban Legends (
  3. 3. Source: AFP Malaysian Airlines
  4. 4. Source:
  5. 5. Source: The Wall Street Journal
  6. 6. Source:
  7. 7. Source:
  8. 8. Control & Amplify Sincerity & Compassion Informative & Transparency EarnTrust
  9. 9. o Created a micro-site within parent site o Amplified updates through Facebook andTwitter o Established it as the “single source of truth” Control & Amplify
  10. 10. Sincerity & Compassion o Focus was sincere and made clear – coordination with emergency responders and mobilizing support o Microsite was shaded dark and called a “dark site”. Colours, Images and Promotional material removed from SocialChannels.
  11. 11. Sincerity & Compassion o Go-Team of 250+ caregivers & senior management were mobilized in 5 locations o Consistently posted messages requesting public not speculate but pray for lives o Flight codes MH370 and MH371 were retired as a mark of respect o Gave CLOSURE to families and public on Mar 25 by assuming that the flight must have crashed in Southern Indian ocean
  12. 12. o All updates were published in English & Chinese o First media release contained distinct contact numbers for Public & Media queries and support facility building details with directions o Passenger and crew details were published in accordance to Malaysia’s Personal Data Protection Act o Consistent messages in Social Media Channels about SAR details and efforts underway even when there were no specific updates Informative & Transparency
  13. 13. o Maintenance schedule (last done & next due) of the aircraft was published o Date of aircraft delivery to the airlines and total flying hours were published - 53,465.21 hours with a total of 7525 cycles o Details about Aircraft Communications Addressing & Reporting System were published o Process that would be followed (once the aircraft is found) for Family Management of kith and kin of Passengers & Crew was outlined o Common queries from the media were addressed – off-loading unaccompanied baggage, passengers traveling with stolen passports, passengers flying to India instead of KL etc. o Full communications transcript between MH370 & ATC Kuala Lumpur was shared with the family members Informative & Transparency
  14. 14. o The first press release was made by the Group CEO o Statements from the Malaysian Prime Minister and Minister of Defense and Acting Minister ofTransport were amplified to gain trust during the SAR mission o Airline did not comment on queries about pilot role in Hijack or Crash – Created a “Police Investigation” section to update on specific queries. o Clarified that personal data of passengers and crew cannot be shared due to the Malaysian Data Protection Act however, released “shareable” data o Transcript of conversation between MH370 and Malaysian Air Traffic Control and the Cargo Manifest was duly sent for investigational analysis prior to sharing with affected families EarnTrust
  15. 15. Press release by Group CEO in 1 hour Amplified toTwitter & Facebook instantly Updates were made 3-4 times a day o Airline waited for an hour after estimated landing time to report “No-Contact” o The fact that airline flew for few more hours outside trajectory was not published in the first 2 days o Updates were not released round the clock o No timelines were indicated for future updates o No press conference until next day - March 9, 2014 o Transcript between aircraft and ATC was released after 3 weeks
  16. 16. Pros o Prompt clarification of media and public queries/allegations o Sincere and transparent in communication o Discouraged speculation, encouraged to pray Cons o Hash tag #MASAlert was used while #MH370 and #MalaysiaAirlines were trending o Airline website did not allow viewers to share the message (No share buttons) o Majority of the updates in Social Media did not specify the update, just links to home base were provided which frustrated viewers o Timelines were messed up - no press conference on day 1, going back and forth on passenger list, delayed delivery of transcripts, sent text messages to few families that aircraft has crashed
  17. 17. o Establish schedule - Let viewers know when to expect next update o Use appropriate #tag and recommend viewers to use the same o Allow more amplification by letting viewers to share updates o Summarize the update in social media channels and provide details in home base o Provide video updates in social media channels – quick update for people on the run o Use InfoGraphics to provide updates on search area