2.Uluslararası İtibar Yönetimi Konferansı - Crisis Communication Management via Corporate Website - Asst. Prof. Ahmed Farouk Radwan
Crisis Communication Management via Corporate Website
Asst. Prof. Ahmed Farouk Radwan
University of Sharjah
2.Uluslararası İtibar Yönetimi Konferansı
3-4 Ekim 2013, İstanbul
Crisis Communication Management via
A case study of Toyota recall crisis 2010
Ahmed Farouk Radwan
Public Relations Department , College of Communication
University of Sharjah – UAE
• Toyota had one of the worst crises that a
corporation may encounter. Towards the end of
2009, millions of cars had to be recalled to deal with
braking defects in the service centers.
• In 2010, the carmaker had to apologize for the
defects and the car recall after the American
administration clearly criticized the corporation.
• Toyota, employed its website to deal with the car
recall crisis .
• This study aims at identifying the way the
website is used to deal with the crisis, which
constituted a challenge for the corporate
reputation, growth and status in the market.
•Toyota Motor Corporation
•Toyota Motor Corporation, is a
Japanese multinational automaker
headquartered in Toyota, Aichi, Japan.
Headquarters: Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
Founder: Kiichiro Toyoda
Founded: August 28, 1937
CEO: Akio Toyoda
Purposes of the Study:
– Identifying the ways Toyota website is used to
handle the car recall crisis;
– Identifying the communication tools that are used
through the website; and
– Identifying the ways the interactive communicative
tools of Toyota website are employed during the
• The study falls under the Descriptive case study category
aiming at monitoring, analyzing and describing the way
the corporate website is used to overcome the recall
crisis of Toyota.
• The study uses the qualitative approach as the
researcher analyzes the discourse of the website to
identify the features of the communication message
encompassed in the website and to identify the
communication strategies that are used to overcome the
• The researcher analyzed the main website of Toyota
(http://www.toyota.co.jp), the press room
(http://pressroom.toyota.com) and the Facebook page
The Corporate Crisis-Related Goals as
Announced on the Website
• Stressing that the main goal of the
corporation is to repair the defects that
are discovered in some models
• Explaining the defects and how they can
Crises Communication Strategies
• The corporation apologized through its president
and top administrative staff for the clients for the
defects that were discovered on some models.
• The apology was accompanied with:
• Direct apology for the defects.
• Asking the clients to give the company another
• Thanking the clients for understanding.
• Corrective Actions
• The company announced a number of corrective
actions to fix the defects that were discovered in some
The corrective actions included:
• Car recall.
• Announcing the phone numbers and emails of the
corporation, service centers.
• Stressing that the repair would not take long.
• Stressing that the service centers and the mechanics
were professionals, well-trained to fixing such defects.
• Explaining the mechanical process of fixing the defects.
• Announcing the New Corporate Policies
• The corporation announced during that period a number
of policies to support the capacity of the company.
• The policies focused on the following:
• Announcing the corporate standards for applying
transparency, information availability, quality assurance
and customer service;
• Announcing offering additional check-up, repair and
maintenance for affected cars;
• Foregrounding the Support and Cooperation of Other
• Foregrounding the Social Corporate Responsibility.
• Changing the Negative Connotation of
• The company attempted to change the negative
connotations of the word ‘recall.’
• The positive understanding of the word depended on the
• Recall is a commitment of the company before its clients.
• Recall reflects the desire of the company to apply quality
• Recall reflects the tendency of the company toward its
• Recall reflects the company’s quick response to problems.
Communication Tools Used on the
• The communication tools used on the website were
various. These tools can be classified as follows:
• Press releases .
• Links .
• Social Media
Message from Chief Executive
• The website includes a message from the Chief Executive of Akio
Toyota published on July 2012. The message includes the
• The title of the message reflected the attitude of the company to
turn over a new leaf with its clients.
• The president thanked all the people and agency which
supported the company during the crisis.
• He apologized for what Toyota caused of the clients’ worries over
the cars’ quality and safety.
• He thanked the distributors for commitment to sell Toyota and
convince the clients of its worthiness.
• He thanked the employees for their efforts to regain stability
• The press releases issued during that period can be
classified as follows:
• Press releases which focused on the technical problems.
They explained the problems that were discovered in
some cars, and how the driver should handle them.
• Press releases that were published in the period following
the start of the process of car repair. These press releases
focused on the development initiatives that the company
undertakes to produce cars which are safer, more
appropriate and of higher quality.
• The company used its Facebook page to invite the
users to contribute by writing his/her story with
Toyota and its role in his/her life on the page, which
reinforces the relation between the clients and the
company and showed how important Toyota was in
their daily life.
• The website included a number of video files with TV
material as follows:
• 1. TV commercial stressing the importance of safety. The
commercial used the slogan ‘Safety First.’
2. TV commercial that aimed at demonstrating the
clients’ trust in the company.
• 3. Programs and meetings video recorded with officials
in the company stressing the following:
Forming a team to solve the mechanical problems in the cars
Talking about the repair steps.
The development of Toyota and its keenness to follow quality
standards in production and its responsibility toward the clients.
Toyota tests on its cars and the features of the techniques used in
the fuel pedal and the efforts of the company to repair and
Questions and Answers
• The questions and answers section included a
group of enquiries by the clients which dealt with
the recall process and the defects that are
discovered in the cars.
• The company depended on chat with the leaders
and officials in the company through the internet
using applications such as Chatting and Twitter. The
company announced the time and the link for chat.
• Toyota used a number of communication
strategies to overcome the crisis. It depended
on apologizing for the existence of defects in
some of the cars.
• The company did not only apologize, it also
announced corrective actions. Announcing
these actions on the website was part of the
attempt by the company to maintain its
• The company used its website to market its
efforts and communication activities as the
company issued a number of press releases
and held a number of press conferences. The
company launched a campaign to regain its
good image and valued reputation.
• The company made use of the interactive
capabilities of the internet as it allowed a chance
for its clients to comment on the published
material on the web.
• The company made use of the social media such
as Facebook and Twitter to communicate with
the clients in addition to the TV commercials and
programs on Youtube.