Anatomy of a PR crisis
Jason Wincuinas, Managing Editor of Campaign Asia, wrote a telling take on Lenovo’s crisis communications concerning a recent issue which I believe they successfully handled. His article can be accessed here and my comments contained in the story were as follows:
In separate conversation on the subject, Bob Pickard, Asia-Pacific chairman at Huntsworth in Singapore, commented that another dimension to look at is the brand’s origin. “Lenovo is a Chinese multinational,” he said, “and in global markets Chinese companies are subject to considerable skepticism about their quality and trustworthiness. Fairly or unfairly, the bar is set higher for Chinese products, and the last thing Lenovo should be doing is stoking new fears stemming from old stereotypes.”
In so many ways, Lenovo has been “surefooted in its march to become a mighty global brand”, and so this incident was surprising and attracted disproportionate attention, Pickard said.
Pickard also observed that for Lenovo “It looks like someone was asleep at the switch, but the good news is that they are turning on a dime to correct the situation and I expect this to be a temporary setback.”
“The company admitted ownership of the problem and undertook to make things right with their customers. Lenovo didn’t try to point the finger and blame someone else like some coward companies do when they lose their cool under similar circumstances. Lenovo expressed their company’s feelings using candid and human language in taking responsibility for what happened, with the same kind of refreshing candor which helps to restore trust in a hurry. It was really a textbook case of the right way to say sorry.”