Public Relations Crisis Communications – What Not to Do

Over the past few months, over 10 million cars have been recalled due to airbags that potentially spray shrapnel on auto passengers.  Honda has been the most unfortunate automotive manufacturer in the wake of this debacle, which has earned the scrutiny and scorn of the US government among other entities.

As a key vendor to international brands, one would assume that Takata, the airbag manufacturer, would be prepared for some sort of crises.  Given that they are essentially in the safety industry and nothing is 100% effective, it is very fair to assume (without the ass of u and me), that Takata might have some sort of plan in place in the off chance (aka almost certaintly) that an airbag might somehow fail.

Apparently not. In 2014, this company had no inclination that they might need a public relations firm on a retainer to deal with inevitable crises. That perhaps they might have a plan in place just in case something went wrong. Say, a car crashes and the airbag somehow fails.  Let alone, a handful of them resemble grenades.

Yep- Takata hired a PR firm December 2014 to help them out. Months after the issue became a crisis. Years after the first incident. Decades after they knew better. They expect a public relations firm to come in and clean up a mess, weeks after the media has reported on this story literally thousands of times in aggregate. ‘The house is burnin’ honey, get that insurance policy ASAP.’

Do I even need to make the point here? Life or death business - you just might need that PR firm before the Takata hits the fan.

So, take a clue, marketer with less at stake than Takata. You need a crises communications plan today! If you don’t have the ability to develop one, get some help. And do it, before the fire(ing) comes.

Back to Blog