Previously on Conversations in Crisis and in my upcoming book, I’ve provided my perspective on how Samsung handled its Galaxy Note 7 phone battery self-ignition crisis and its brand management after the flames.
While headlines are no longer focused on the overheating batteries and 2.5 million phones recalled, Samsung continues to work to rebuild its image.
One of the most important and long-lasting efforts of any crisis situation is brand recovery. Not only is a sincere apology and efforts to make amends a necessary crisis post script; it’s also an incredible opportunity for organizations to recognize a need for change and contribute to broader societal good.
Tamper-proof packaging was invented following the Tylenol crisis of the 1980s. Hulled ships were a result of the Exxon Valdez tragedy. Off shore drilling has been made much safer following the BP disaster. Nuclear Power plants the world over have been made much safer as a result of Fukushima.
Throughout the brand recovery phase, it’s important to ask five key questions:
- Did you accept responsibility for your role in the crisis?
- Did you apologize?
- Did you make amends to the injured parties?
- Did you articulate the ways your organization intends to avoid repeating the mistakes in the future?
- Did you use what you learned from the experience to make the world a better place? That is, did your actions contribute to new safety protocols, new technology, improved standards, scientific discovery, or developments from which others can benefit?
The first four questions may seem to have an obvious course of action depending on the crisis at hand – in Samsung’s case it involved an apology, product recall and issue investigation. However, the last question – can be a lofty ask. The natural tendency when faced with crisis is to buckle down and defend business practices instead of flexing creativity and promoting problem-solving.
Ahead of the launch of the Galaxy 8, Samsung announced an 8-point battery safety check for all new devices, going beyond the industry standards for quality and safety control. The test includes temperature stress tests, overcharging simulations, x-ray and visual inspections, accelerated customer use scenarios, and voltage manufacturing review. The safety check could have been rolled out to stakeholders with dense legal language. Instead, they rolled out the 8-point battery safety check with creative, compelling content – strong video, insightful infographics, and dynamic social media content. The content armed the media to tell a new story of rebuilding trust.
Not only does the comprehensive battery check coalesce Samsung’s vision to be both technologically innovative and quality-centric, it also sets a new industry standard on battery safety and design.
Effective brand recovery involves not only addressing an issue but taking full advantage of the opportunity to grow and reshape the future of the brand.