Crisis communications in the YouTube Age Why you need to leverage on social media in your investor relations strategy The Asia Business Forum, March 24-25, 2008, JW Marriott, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Presented by Julian Matthews, Director, Trinetizen Media
Case study 1: Dell laptop explodes at Japanese conference By INQUIRER.net newsdesk: Wednesday 21 June 2006 An Inquirer reader attending a conference in Japan was sat just feet away from a laptop computer that suddenly exploded into flames, in what could have been a deadly accident. Gaston, our astonished reader reports: "The damn thing was on fire and produced several explosions for more than five minutes"… For the record, this is a Dell machine," notes Gaston. "It is only a matter of time until such an incident breaks out on a plane," he suggests. Our witness managed to catch all the action in these amazing pictures….
Dell to recall 4 million laptop batteries CNET News.com, August 14, 2006 Dell and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission plan to recall 4.1 million notebook batteries on Tuesday, a company representative confirmed. The recall affects certain Inspiron, Latitude and Precision mobile workstations shipped between April 2004 and July 18, 2006. Sony manufactured the batteries that are being recalled, the representative said. This looks like the largest battery recall in the history of the electronics industry, said Roger Kay, an analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates. "The scale of it is phenomenal."
Good news, get it out fast Bad news, get it out faster
Sony delays response,problems deepen… • Aug 15, 06: Dell recalls 4.1m batteries • Aug 24, 06: Apple recalls 1.8m batteries • Sept 15, 06: Virgin Atlantic, Qantas and Korean Air ban use of Dell and Apple laptops on board its planes, unless the battery removed. • Sept 28, 06:Lenovo/IBM: 526,000 batteries • Sept 29, 06:Dell increases recall to 4.2m • Sept 29, 06:Toshiba recalls 830,000 batteries
ThinkPad explodes in LAX airport “So we're waiting for a flight in the United lounge at LAX, this guy comes running the wrong way, pushing other passengers out of the way and quickly drops his laptop on the floor. The thing immediately flares up like a giant firework for about 15 seconds, then catches fire…,”posting on Gizmodo.com, Sept 16, 2006
Sony finally responds… Sept 30, 2006: Sony announces global recall of 9.6 million PC batteries. The recall and replacement would cost as much as 50 billion yen (about US$423 million).
Dell’s Response • Determines cause – battery supplier. • Works with U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to announce global recall of 4.1 million laptop batteries. • Sets up recall website for customers to check affected units. • Guarantees replacement batteries are safe.
Sony’s crisis post-mortem • Was slow to take blame, disclose information and coordinate global recall • Let clients make multiple announcements first, escalating crisis • Only worked with US Consumer Product Safety Commission (and Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry) to coordinate recall and replacements with clients, after clients did so themselves
Sony execs’ bow not deep enough? “We want to put this behind us. I take this problem seriously and I want to finish the replacement program as quickly as possible for the sake of our users and corporate customers,” Corporate Executive Officer Yutaka Nakagawa, Oct 24, 2006 Oct 26, 2006: Battery snafu leads to massive loss Sony posted a 94 percent loss for its July to September quarter. Net profit dove to ¥1.7 billion (US$14 million) from ¥28.5 billion (US$240 million) a year ago.
Social Media Many ways to snack: Blogs, podcasts, RSS, wikis, social networks, mobile networks, YouTube, Twitter. Consumers = producers: Anyone can publish text, pics, audio, video and interact within that space Amplifies virally: Two-way, lean-forward media, searchable, archivable, infinite replay, timeshifting Growing influence: 24/7, places higher expectations on speed, transparency and accountability
Case study 2: Kryptonite Bike Lock Fiasco • Cyclist posts that circular bike lock that costs US$35 – US$90 can be easily picked with a ballpoint pen on bikeforums.net • Manufacturer was silent online and ignored bloggers “because of higher priorities.” • Bloggers rail at company until it finally announces replacements at the cost of US$10m – only 10 days later
Ingersoll-Rand Endures Kryptonite's US$10 Million Hit OCTOBER 25, 2004, MONTVALE, NJ -- Kryptonite delivered a $10 million hit in unanticipated costs in the third quarter to the Security and Safety division of parent company Ingersoll-Rand. Kryptonite's financial drubbing began in early September after Internet video clips demonstrated the apparent ease in cracking its tubular locks with the shells of ballpoint pens. Kryptonite launched replacement programs for consumers and retailers, and accelerated retail delivery of new product. Those moves, however, hit the security division's operating margin. "Operating margins of 16.5 percent (in the third quarter) declined compared to 2003, reflecting approximately $10 million of estimated costs related to Kryptonite cylindrical bicycle locks," the NYSE-listed company reported Oct. 21 in a filing with the Security and Exchange Commission.
Eg. of local companies in crisis • Accounting irregularities: Transmile, Wimems Corp, Megan Media • Mismanagement: Proton, MAS • Immigration snafu: Top Glove • Health Ministry raid: High-5 bread factory • Pollution: Carotech
Managing a crisis in YouTube age • Openly and quickly share available facts with the public, create crisis webpage and direct press there • Crisis management unit can use new media tools to engage affected customers, search for details, verify and counter allegations • Show you care online and accept responsibility when you are at fault
Use social media tools • Blogs:Short for weblog,instant, push-button, self-publishing system with increasingly powerful feedback features. eg: Blogger, Wordpress • Podcasts: Pre-recorded audio or video dispersed through the Internet via subscribed feeds.eg: YouTube,vlogs, moblogs • Social networks: eg: Facebook, Bebo, MySpace • Wikis: eg: Wikipedia, pbWiki • RSS: Really simple syndication or rich site • summary, a news feed of a blog or website
Companies blogging internally or externally Apple Computer Avon Boeing Cisco CitiGroup Dell Disney FedEx GM Google Halliburton Hitachi Data Systems HP IBM Intel Lockheed McGraw-Hill Merrill Lynch Microsoft Mitsubishi Motorola New York Times Nike Oracle Pepsi Radio Shack Raytheon Shell Starbucks Sun Microsystems Texas Instruments Time Warner Toys R Us Wells Fargo Yahoo!
Dell’s IR blog “We let the vast majority of posts through. We want this to be a free and open means of communication,” Dell's IR director Robert Williams. Some of the news it shared: conclusion of an accounting investigation. a US$10B share repurchase plan. new partnerships with retailers. “We feel very strongly about the democratization of information, specifically financial information. The information should be out there, available and usable to all types of investors.” Link: http://dellshares.dell.com
Make your online IR section count Nielsen Norman survey of 20 sites by 42 users -- professionals ranging from financial journalists to individual investors: • 35%couldn't find the companies' most recent quarterly reports • 77%were unable to find the high/low stock prices for previous quarter. Suggestions: • Update daily, start a blog and use RSS • Make it searchable, fast to download, accessible • Post quarterly, annual reports not just in PDF format • Simplify content, navigation, charts: Investors, reporters want it in layman’s terms and easy to figure out.
CEOs are blogging Bob Lutz, GM http://fastlane.gmblogs.com/ Jonathan Schwartz, Sun http://blogs.sun.com/jonathan/
ROI of Blogging* *Note: Forrester estimates that GM's Fastlane blog generated US$578,000 in value on an investment of US$291,000 in 2005
Blogging can be an IR tool • Understand how blogging works and its growing influence • Counter by starting your own blog eg. employee blog, customer blog or IR blog • Show personal side, become a thought leader • Can be powerful media and investor relations tool
Why blog? • Opens line of communication, engages customers, builds brand loyalty, encourages conversations • Provides insider views of company direction, promotes upcoming products/services • More personal, opinionated, flexible than press releases • Creates a knowledge database for staff, investors, suppliers, partners
“In the world of the Internet, you don't own your brand. Your customers and your users own your brand,” David Sifry, founder Technorati, leading search engine for the blogosphere
Using Facebook to reach global customers, Personal Money Mag, March 2008 Links: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=4629441044 http://www.shoesshoesshoes.com.my
Ung Yiu Lin, shoe entrepreneur “Before Facebook I relied solely on emailing our catalogues…with files being too large and slow to download. We are start-up and we do not have a big budget for marketing. Facebook allows us to reach out to overseas customers for free.” Jonathan Teoh, trulylovingcompany.com “Facebook allows people the freedom to voice their suggestions and grouses, and we can respond to feedback in a transparent way. While this may sound scary we gain immediate insights on the sentiments of our products.” Chris Tan, lawyer, Chur Associates “Legal services are commoditised and as a small firm we need to stand out among the big boys. So we must be different. We use it to communicate our brand values in a personal way. ”
Summary: social media and IR • Challenges: • Fear of change, individualistic nature of management • Lack of training in new media skills • Perceived lack of resources • Lack of management commitment, don’t see ROI Opportunities: • Those who embrace change will thrive • Successful IR in the 21st century will require both online and offline engagement • Go where investors are: Social networks, blogs, mobile networks, video networks and build your brand and investor confidence there