Crisis Expert Says Toyota Makes Right Decision on Safety Issue

Jan 27, 2010, 11:03 ET from The Margulies Communications Group

DALLAS, Jan. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- An expert in crisis management said today that Toyota made the correct decision when it stopped the sale of most of its popular models due to a safety issue.

"Toyota is following the model used by Tylenol in 1982, when it pulled all Tylenol products off the shelves after a 12-year-old girl died from a Tylenol capsule laced with cyanide," said David Margulies, president of The Margulies Communications Group.  "Tylenol was able to reclaim its share of the market after introducing safety sealed packaging.

"Many organizations are in a state of denial when a problem occurs," said Margulies. "They hope it will go away or that the media will not pick-up on the issue.  After failing to respond, when the issue does hit the media, the company must then not only discuss the problem, but also allegations that they covered it up."

In the Tylenol case, Johnson & Johnson also undertook an aggressive media relations and advertising program to communicate their actions to the public.  The company set up an 800 number for consumers and executives appeared on national television to talk about the issue and what the company was doing to address it.

"Although Tylenol was the victim of an attack from outside the company, many of the strategies they utilized fit the situation at Toyota," said Margulies. "Decisive action with consumers while engineers look for a solution to the mechanical issue is the best way for Toyota to put this situation behind them.

"We frequently recommend clients be the first to go to the media with bad news," said Margulies.  "In that scenario they are able to explain the issue and often the solution in their own terms."  

David Margulies is a leading expert on crisis management and crisis prevention. For the past 23-years, The Margulies Communications Group has worked with government agencies, corporations and non-profits providing litigation support, crisis management, media training and crisis prevention programs.  

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David Margulies

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SOURCE The Margulies Communications Group