MAY ISSUE: Minimizing Risk, Building a Brand

Reputation management, crisis response assume new importance.

Reputation Management, Crisis Response Assume New Importance

By Leah Etling, Contributing WriterSuccess and achievement business concept

In the days after Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 mysteriously disappeared en route to Beijing, PR and crisis management experts around the world watched the news and cringed.

“I’m not so sure that you stay off their airline or their brand is ruined, but right now I don’t feel too good about Malaysia Airlines because of their very weak response,” said Roger Conner, an expert in crisis management for the hospitality industry, 10 days after the flight went missing. Conner’s opinion—reinforced by his experience with 9/11 and multiple other international terrorism incidents while he was vice president of communications for Marriott International—was reinforced in the media. Canada’s National Post called it a “master class in crisis mismanagement,” on the part of both the airline and the Malaysian government.

Malaysia Airlines was lauded for introducing a brand-agnostic website to provide crisis updates on the mysterious disappearance, but criticized for not working fast enough to determine exactly what happened with the flight. And families of the passengers emotionally and publicly protested the lack of information available while they waited anxiously for news in Beijing, the flight’s intended destination. With the further speculation that the flight had been lost in the Indian Ocean, their complaints only intensified.

Read the full article in the May 2014 issue of CPE. Access is free!