Seven in 10 global crisis communication experts, linked to the global University of Georgia/PROI Worldwide Crisis Communication Monitor, say Samsung, the most well-known global electronics brands, did not use appropriate communication channels when relaying information about the crisis surrounding the Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphone. More than 80 percent of the polled experts placed responsibility for the crisis squarely on Samsung’s doorstep.
The experts drawn from 22 countries, recorded their responses in examining the efficiency of the response by Samsung to its crisis surrounding the exploding and burning of its Galaxy Note7 Smartphone. 62% of the respondents were CEO, president or director of the organization.
Evaluating Samsung’s crisis response, 74 percent of respondents said Samsung failed to manage early information and thereby was unable to stay ahead of the crisis. 70 percent of communicators said
Samsung failed to provide relevant information on the crisis and did not provide information that would help the public understand the crisis.
Janet Kimani, Director Levanter Africa, a member of the Goergia/PROI Crisis Communication Monitor, said a takeaway lesson should be, “Be brave from the beginning – deal with the truth, take bold actions, accept the reality publicly.”
78 percent of global crisis communication leaders expect Samsung’s business to be strongly affected by the crisis. “Samsung needed to be more sympathetic to those impacted by these incidents, and proactive in its response and communications,” said Ms Kimani.
The crisis was exacerbated because it was perceived that Samsung caused it and bears sole responsibility for the crisis and its outcome. “Samsung underestimated the danger involved, especially as it relates to its mobile devices on airplanes,” said a Georgia-based expert.
Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of global crisis experts disagreed with the statement, “Samsung took responsibility as appropriate.” The drip, drip, drip nature of the response allowed the crisis to grow, according to these experts. “When every time you board a plane, a flight attendant announces that your brand has been banned from flights by a federal regulatory body, you know that your company is in crisis,” said Bryan H. Reber, Ph.D., C. Richard Yarbrough Professor in Crisis Communication Leadership at the University of Georgia and coordinator of the survey.
The Crisis Communication Monitor uncovered 10 insights or lessons learned from these global experts:
- “Corporate culture impacts the ability to identify pending crises in a timely fashion.” (Expert from Italy)
- “Get all the bad news out at once… don’t have a slow trickle.” (Expert from Canada)
- “Use in-country spokespeople to convey concern and empathy and add a human touch.” (Expert from the United Kingdom)
- “When in doubt, recall/withdraw the product and test, test, test until you find the solution.” (Expert from Australia)
- “Provide more information and deliver it quickly, even if it’s negative. Rip the bandage off and heal sooner.” (Expert from Missouri)
- “Samsung needed to be more sympathetic to those impacted by these incidents, and proactive in its response and communications.” (Expert from Michigan)
- “Express safety and customer satisfaction over regulatory protocols as the reason for action.” (Expert from New York)
- Don’t underestimate the problem. “Samsung underestimated the danger involved, especially as it relates to mobile devices on airplanes.” (Expert in Georgia)
- “Acting promptly and taking responsibility for an issue can help protect a reputation.” (Expert from the United Kingdom)
- “Preparation is key to successful crisis communication.” (Expert from Germany)