Case: Brand Risk During Crisis
On March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 crashed into the ocean killing all 239 souls on board, including 20 employees of an international technology manufacturing company. Conspiracy theories about the crash quickly emerged, including that a shipment of the client’s advanced defense weapons components on board caused the crash. As the search for the wreckage wore on, the client began receiving inquiries about the rumors from concerned customers and messages from individuals claiming to have information about the crash.
A multi-disciplinary task force was created to contain and mitigate the impacts of the tragedy. Drawing on its large network of experts in the fields of public and transportation safety, international law enforcement, and government intelligence, the Task Force was equipped to synthesize the complex data and determine the facts of the crash. The task force leveraged access to proprietary data integrators to monitor, collate, and analyze press, social media stories and theories regarding the crash. Investigators interviewed persons who claimed to have information about the tragedy. Customer-facing company sales representatives engaged with worried customers to assuage their concerns. Information from the Task Force was fed directly to company senior executives and its public relations team to effectively counter false negative publicity.
Engaging experts to help understand the data was critical to the company’s ability to respond effectively to the MH370 tragedy. Aided by these vital capabilities, the client was able to assist and administer benefits to the families of lost company employees, correct inaccurate negative publicity, ease the concerns of its customers, and prevent the company’s good name and brand from being tarnished by a tragic accident.