5 good examples of how to CEO "change direction" communication crisis

What should the CEO do when the brand is criticized by the public? Refer to the following 5 examples of how to handle a typical communication crisis.

The fact that Mark Zuckerberg testified before the US government about the Cambridge Analytica incident “heated” international newspapers. This is considered one of the biggest crises in the history of the world’s largest social network development. The true nature of this PR crisis is still quite complex to be seen.

From the point of view of a CEO and marketer, Jayson DeMers – founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, a SEO services agency in Seattle (USA), said that the important thing the public is waiting for is how Facebook handles it wrong. how wrong is this


Currently, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg – COO of Facebook are constantly looking to newspapers to apologize to users. However, according to Jayson DeMers, the founder of Facebook responded quite slowly when the crisis had just begun. This led to the fact that Facebook was unable to control key pieces of information when the crisis was high.

Zuckerberg’s way of being criticized for his inability to control press interviews leads to the question: What should the CEO do to handle criticism from the public well?

Jayson DeMers – author of the book named The Definitive Guide to Marketing Your Business Online (roughly translated: Essential guidelines for marketing when doing business online) Give 5 examples of how brands “reverse” crises are as follows:

1. Adidas recovered from a careless email

During the 2017 marketing campaign, Adidas sent out a promotional email to the Boston Marathon participant with the headline: “Congratulations on surviving the Boston Marathon!”. This message was immediately reacted by the reader because it reminded of the event that the Boston Marathon was bombed in 2013.

Careless email sparked Adidas’ media crisis at the 2017 Boston Marathon.


Maria Culp, an Adidas spokeswoman, immediately realized the problem, after only a few customers who received the first email discovered. She quickly posted a post to apologize to the public: “We are extremely sorry. We had no thought of sending an unsophisticated email on Tuesday. We deeply apologize. about this mistake “.

Her responses are rated sincere, good-willed, straightforward and especially important, given immediately. This apology has helped avert a PR crisis for Adidas.

2. Taco Bell thanks for … being sued

In 2011, Taco Bell’s parent company was Yum! Brands has faced a lawsuit related to the restaurant’s meat quality. The plaintiff sued the brand because Taco Bell’s beef product is actually only 35% beef and asked if the Taco Bell palanquin was lying in its ads?

Before this incident, Taco Bell released several statements and videos showing the truth about the preparation of its beef product line, consisting of 88% beef and 12% secret ingredients.

Taco Bell “Thank you for suing us” letter.

After that, Taco Bell also decided to reveal the ingredients in this secret recipe, and the plaintiff lost the lawsuit.


Greg Creed – CEO of Yum! Brands commented on this crisis-handling strategy: “The incident has generated tremendous interest in the premium quality of the beef and the honesty in our company’s ads”.

This is a prime example of how to prevent an advertising crisis. Taco Bell’s success in handling this communication crisis is largely due to its transparency, rapid response and response through various channels about incidents.

3. Virgin Galactic overcomes catastrophic accident

In 2014, when Virgin Galactic was planning to test a space travel service in the Mojave Desert, a serious accident happened. A pilot dies and an assistant is injured.

Virgin Galactic CEO Richard Branson immediately learned about the tragedy, wrote a brief message about his heartbreak, as well as said he was directly to the scene of the accident to assist the victim.

Virgin Galactic CEO Richard Branson expressed mourning after the 2014 plane crash.

He then wrote a longer article about the causes of the crash, expressed his shock and proposed solutions to prevent similar situations in the future.

Branson’s image shined in this incident with its prompt response and enthusiasm to handle it. He dropped all work plans to go directly to the scene and at the same time company representatives gave feedback to the public. He is also constantly updating every detail that is available to his clients about the incident.

4. JetBlue accepts errors by not blaming

In 2007, a blizzard swept across the East Coast caused JetBlue to cancel more than 1,000 flights within five days. The customers of these 1,000 flights were shaken. That was when JetBlue CEO David Neeleman took action.

JetBlue CEO – David Neeleman.

Instead of blaming the weather and giving clichéd feedback, Neeleman wrote a letter of apology to JetBlue’s customers and offered to cover all customer costs. Specifically, this CEO said he would compensate customers for costs incurred due to flight cancellations, along with a list of things JetBlue is willing to do to assist customers who have canceled flights. .

However, this effort to apologize and compensate is still not enough to defuse a strong response from customers. And Neeleman stepped forward to accept responsibility for the company’s mistakes. He listened to every inconvenience the customer was facing, and continually acted to show customers how JetBlue could do things better.

5. Cadbury paused to move on

In 2003, Cadbury’s chocolate factory in Mumbai (India) discovered that there were two chocolate bars mixed with worms. Whereas in the four examples above, the brands were immediately responding and correcting the errors, Cadbury did not.

Chocolate bar was found to have worms at a Cadbury factory in Mumbai (India).

At that time, Cadbury denied the information and suffered a battle of criticism from the press. A few weeks later, Cadbury’s marketing team took all the company’s ads off the street (in the middle of the year’s biggest shopping season). At the same time, Cadbury also launched a awareness campaign to the retailers and did its best to repair its manufacturing processes and product storage.

Four months later, after the renovation was completed, Cadbury gradually restored the image of the company in the press and the advertising signs were also on display again. Cadbury continued to closely monitor the process until it could be certain that the same incident would not occur again.


Obviously, preventing incidents is much better than responding. But in fact, any manager understands that 100% crisis prevention is impossible.

In case your startup or business is being attacked, criticized or having problems that damage your brand image, consider the 5 options for dealing with crisis above. The most basic handling principle is to think about your customer, and try to act honestly, to take care of the root of the problem.

Linyi / Entrepreneur
* Source: Saigon Businessman


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