Toyota In Need of a Social Media Public Relations Turnaround Specialist

Toyota painstakingly built the heart of its brand on reliability. It’s now smashed to pieces. But pieces it still does have – so far. We’re an Online Marketing, SEO and Social Media company, so, how can Social Media help out a vaunted company like Toyota in the dilemma that they have now found themselves in?

You Better Be Good To Me

Toyota cannot have a representative at each customers home holding a hand, but Social Media can provide that “next best thing.” Social Media and other Online / Web 2.0 outlets provide Toyota a 24/7 tool set to let their customer know that they “worship the ground Toyota customers walk on.” Obviously just fixing things, saying we’re sorry and we like you then sending customers on their way isn’t going to be enough to salvage what little customer loyalty they have left. It’s going to take an almost super human effort of action, words and deeds by Toyota to preserve something of their customer base and to hopefully start to rebuild their brand.

Toyota can begin by using Social Media to keep their customers relentlessly informed with quality, timely and relevant information. Help them. Toyota customers are very, very confused now. So, I’ll repeat that - help them, hold the customer’s hand and don’t let go. A “slight” has happened, and Toyota customers are feeling very betrayed. In order for Toyota to take their best shot to keep and win some customers back, (and it’s a very tall order) they must first impart some sense of comfort – the kind of comfort that says Toyota is not taking the customer relationship for granted, that Toyota is doing everything, and then some, to make things right for you, the loyal Toyota customer. They have the resources, at least right now they do, and Toyota needs to be relentless in their usage.

Monitor the Online outlets. Through smart and vigorous Online monitoring Toyota can address, inform and respond in real-time on just about a one-to-one level globally by using Twitter, Blogs, YouTube, email, SMS and customer-centric Micro sites.

This is as big as it gets. Toyota’s fighting for its very life and there is no tomorrow, probably a bailout by us and the Japanese after both countries do a little scolding and finger-waving, but no tomorrow. They may already be doing some of these things, and maybe not. First and foremost Mr. Toyoda needs to be continuously with the customer through this crisis. Without customers a walk-up to Capitol Hill by him really doesn’t matter much.

One thing is pretty clear; a half-measure approach won’t do and it may cause more damage. We’ll know shortly how much Toyota truly values the people who butter their bread – their customers.

Tags: customer base, customer loyalty, customer relationship, Marketing, Public Relations, reliability, toyota

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