Toyota’s recall and the way that it has handled the problems so far has certainly eroded consumer trust in Toyota. Does this mean that the Toyota brand is dead? Not necessarily; it depends on how the company responds to this crisis going forward.
While there will definitely be a lot of negative sentiment in the short-term, Toyota can come out of this period with renewed strength in its brand if it delivers on the five elements of my C.A.R.E.S. model for service recovery: communication, accountability, responsiveness, empathy, and solution.
There will be twists and turns to Toyota’s brand perception over the next several weeks, but the long-term impact won’t be seen for at least several months. If Toyota can get passing marks for how it C.A.R.E.S. through this period, then it should be able to save its brand. But if it doesn’t, then…
The bottom line: During a crisis, intensify your focus on customers