The BP oil spill and the Toyota recall crisis once again document that organisational crises pose a major threat to brands. Crises frequently lead to negative word-of-mouth, which in turn may result in substantial financial losses for corporations. An important but challenging task of corporate communication departments is timely and adequate reaction when a crisis occurs. Different stakeholder groups such as consumers, investors, political actors or the general public have different interests in the corporation, which makes it hard to react in an adequate manner. Increasingly, organisational crises and corporate interventions take place in social media such as Twitter, Facebook or weblogs, facing brands with new choices about what to say, where to say it and how to say it.
How to choose the right weapon
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Peter Kerkhof is associate professor and chair of the department of Communication Science at VU University Amsterdam, and holds a special chair in customer media
Friederike Schultz is assistant professor of corporate communication and new media. She has worked as researcher, assistant and lecturer at several European universities.
Sonja Utz is an assistant professor at the department of communication science, VU University Amsterdam. She co-edited the book Mediated Interpersonal Communication.