To: CEO Gianni Infantino
From: Nichamon Roongroj
Date: May 29th, 2018
Subject: The best practices in regaining public trust after a scandal
Dear Mr. Gianni,
In light of the crisis faced by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), it is worth discussing the urgent need to rebuild the image of the organization and trust of the public. A thorough analysis of the existing real-world examples has revealed that the key strategy to tackle any crisis is communication. Being transparent, acknowledging the issue, providing a sincere apology, and staying committed to the action plan are of utmost importance. These recommendations on regaining public trust are described more fully below:
United Airlines handled their PR crisis incorrectly by staying silent
In 2017, United Airlines faced a dramatic crisis, which was caused by the lack of the proper response to a controversial situation. The crisis began on April 9, when one of the passengers was dragged out of his seat by the personnel in a highly rude and damaging manner. After this incident, the video made inside the airplane became scandalous, rapidly gaining a lot of attention on social media. In response, there are several major areas where the company failed and caused an outbreak, which are:
• failure to recognize that social media is a powerful tool that shapes public perception and can help maintain the company’s reputation
• failure to provide a sincere apology
• not having an appropriate crisis management team
Domino’s Pizza moved beyond its crisis by focusing on communication and transparency
In 2009, Domino’s faced a great crisis related to a video posted on YouTube. On this video, the company’s employee puts ingredients up his nose and nasal mucus on the sandwiches. As a result, this viral video attracted millions of users and disgusted even more customers. To move beyond the incident, the company has designed a new marketing and product strategies, which are based on the following points:
• issuing an apologetic video by the company’s president
• making an emphasis on transparency
• developing a new recipe for Domino’s products
• offering a money-back guarantee to customers who do not like new recipes
• launching a new $75 million ad campaign to promote the new recipe
Toyota Motors regained consumers’ trust by acknowledging the incident and taking action
In 2009, Toyota Motors faced a challenge with its credibility. The company was accused of the death of 19 consumers due problems with its vehicles’ accelerators. In fact, for Toyota, which had been acknowledged as one of the seventh most trusted consumer brands in the United States, this incident could have led to serious consequences. However, the company made the appropriate start. They acknowledged the situation, issued an apology, and recalled more than 10 million vehicles. Toyota succeeded in this context and is on the road to regain its reputation and trust of the customers.
Rebuilding the credibility of FIFA through transparent communication and action plan
As a result, as the cases of the United Airlines, Domino’s, and Toyota demonstrate, the first and foremost step when trying to regain reputation is providing a genuine apology and ensuring the transparent relationship between the organization and its audience. This principle meets the framework developed by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which serves as guidance for organizations facing a PR crisis and trying to recover their lost reputation. This framework includes the following four steps.
1. Be in control of the situation, which means acknowledging the situation, making sure that the issue is addressed, and assuming responsibility for the issue
2. Address crisis openly and trust the clients by creating awareness on how the company is solving the issue to their trustworthiness
3. Investigate the cause of the crisis, which requires starting an internal investigation to understand the true nature and reasons for the crisis
4. Commit to change, which requires making credible commitments and demonstrating that the company adheres to those promises
A detailed analysis of the situation faced by big corporations, such as the United Airlines, Domino’s Pizza, and Toyota Motors, has revealed that the most important step to address the crisis of FIFA is the communication, including acknowledging the issue, providing an apology and keeping their strategy to solve the crisis transparent. Finally, staying committed to the changes made will rebuild the reputation of FIFA and gain back the public’s trust.
Please let me know if you have any questions or need additional information.
All the best,
Public Relations Executive
Laurie, Burkitt. "Domino's Launches Massive $75 Million Ad Blitz". Forbes.Com, 2009. https://www.forbes.com/2009/12/21/dominos-pizza-recipe-ad-campaign-cmo-network-dominos.html#44d76529a70a.
Laurie, Burkitt. "From Trusted To Busted: Brands Have A Credibility Crisis". Forbes.Com, 2010. https://www.forbes.com/2010/02/25/toyota-tiger-consumer-faith-cmo-network-trusted-to-busted-brands.html#4e96eede383b
PwC. "Rebuilding trust after times of crisis". Pwc.nl, 2015. https://www.pwc.nl/nl/assets/documents/pwc-rebuilding-trust.pdf
Leland, Karen. "What? Five Ways To Handle a PR Disaster". Inc.com, 2018. https://www.inc.com/karen-tiber-leland/has-united-airlines-become-puppy-killers-passenger-bruisers-how-to-handle-a-pr-disaster-right-way.html
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