Friday, March 16, 2007

Bad Thing But Good Management

Earlier ago before spring break, I came across an article from PromoMagazine on listing ways to handle crisis and showing the timeline of Turner Broadcasting handling the Boston Bomb Scare incident. While the incident has created chaos and might possibly lead to negative WOM, I personally was quite impressed by the way Turner Broadcasting handled the incident. Let alone the nature of the incident and the issue on guerrilla marketing (i.e. whether the types of WOM marketing the campaign used was constructive or destructive or if further regulations guerrilla marketing is needed), in my opinion, their way to handle the incident was effective. The timeline showed in the article that the same day of the incident occurred, Turner Broadcasting put concern on the incident and within 24 hours Turner Broadcasting took full responsibility of the incident. Also, there was an apology from Turner CEO, Phil Kent, the day after. The article showed several ways to handle damage control: implement the crisis communication plan, respond to the crisis quickly, accept the responsibility, and demonstrate empathy. This is similar to one of our guest speaker, Jackie Huba, discussed with the class that the first thing to do when a complaint is made or crisis happened is acknowledgment and be prepared to respond. The reading that we have “Naked Conversation” also mentioned that “responding quickly saves lives” and can “save millions of dollars and preserve a company’s reputation.” Responding to a crisis at a blink speed, in one way or another, might hold down the spread of negative WOM and put a lid on a crisis, in comparison to deny, ignore or hide the communication.

Besides, in my opinion, I found the apology from Turner CEO is an effectively communicated message to the public. I remember from an organizational communication class, I learned that there are five criteria (including timeliness, clarity, accuracy, pertinence, and credibility) need to be met when sending a communicated message effectively to the public, and I found that the apology seems to meet the criteria.

Despite the Boston bomb scare incident itself was bad and created chaos, it always helps if the organization responds quickly and is truthful and honest to admit what they know and what they don’t know. At least this way the organization shows the public that they care about what is going on, regretted what they have done, and take care of the consequences. This is also what we have mentioned in class that a negative WOM might possibly end up turning into a positive WOM if the complaint/ issue is sincerely being taken care of. Or even though a negative WOM might not turn into a positive WOM, the number of negative WOM would probably not add up.

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