Samsung recall: A near perfect case of crisis management 

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Public relations experts are heaping praise on the way Samsung handled the global recall of its hugely anticipated Galaxy Note 7 smartphone. While the recall could be seen as embarrassing for the proud phone maker, PR experts are saying Samsung has handled the crisis almost perfectly.

Although only 35 Note 7 phones worldwide were reported as having faulty lithium batteries that in some cases caught fire, Samsung’s monumental decision to recall all of them indicates the brand’s awareness to the seriousness of the problem and how quickly it needed to be addressed.

“They (Samsung) were bold and got ahead of the problem in almost real-time,” Charles Lankester, senior vice president for reputation management at Ruder Finn Asia told Campaign Daily. “They were brilliant in that they chose to take a massive step and recall globally.

“They could have attempted small-scale ‘market here, market there’ damage control, but this would have failed. Instead they went global.

“Because, as well as being the right thing to do, it’s 2016. Everyone sees, hears, knows and shares pretty much everything about all global brands.”

Marc Sparrow, executive director for technology at Golin Hong Kong, said: “They have taken a necessary decision to put their customers first, be fully transparent and initiate a swift resolution. Quickly alleviating fears or doubts and reassuring customers will be imperative to moving past this unfortunate incident and maintaining the company’s impressive sales.”

Samsung won’t escape unscathed. But the decision to recall was the correct one from a brand reputation perspective, said Lars Voedisch  founder and managing director of PRecious Communications in Singapore.

“Getting it right in this instance was to stop sales and then initiate a recall,” he told Campaign Asia-Pacific. “This is a big move and the only one that makes sense in such a situation.”

“It appears investor loyalty remains,” Sparrow said. “Eyes will now be on the corporate reputation and how consumers perceive Samsung.” Lankester added that while it’s true that the cost to Samsung would be significant, “the bigger picture is that Samsung’s behaviour will be respected, understood and admired.”

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