Early reports depict that Toyota may be speaking with ad agencies to discuss how their current campaign will change. Currently the campaign is focused on the tag-line, “Move Forward” the irony that is leading to this need for marketing redirection by Toyota stems from a current recall that has been issued by the company.
The necessity for a recall stems from an issue that has been happening with the accelerator pedal, which will either become stuck or continue to accelerate when released. Essentially the car continues to “move forward” given that it’s in drive and not reverse.
The initial response to the pedals becoming stuck was due to floor mats that would get lodged and cause the pedal to become stuck. A quick fix was released at first which involved the use of zip ties to strap the floor mat to the driver seat. This was a sloppy, cheap quick-fix. Later the mats were replaced with floor attached ones.
Still the Toyotas that could were continuing to “move forward,” the problem hasn’t been stopped completely. The cars accelerator pedal is in fact having issues not related to the floor mats. Toyota has launched a significantly large recall to prevent any more accidents from happening.
Toyota is in the middle of a very threatening crisis to their companies core foundation. They have developed a company known for their quality and reliability and suddenly that has all vanished with the necessity to stop sales on eight of their vehicles as well as recalling millions that are already on the road. Is this going to completely destroy Toyota? I don’t believe so however they could learn a thing or two from other companies who have faced similar situations. Tylenol had to win back the trust of its customers when they had the scare of their medicine being tampered with, but unlike Toyota the response was fast as was the fix. Toyota is currently suffering from an inability to develop a guaranteed fix in a timely fashion. Not only has the response time been slow but the cost for a recall as grand as this could result in billions of dollars needed to sustain the image Toyota once had and fix the problems they now face. Toyota is going to need to continue to work diligently to make sure they can reassure consumers that they may have had a problem but they will fix it and they’ll have to rebuild trust that this will not happen again. Strategic marketing, public relations and advertising will be key in reaching out to the masses and finding a way to save their once prestigious image of being a leader in quality and reliability.