At Recycled Glue we've been blogging about reputation and crisis communications a lot lately. Could the two be releated? Sure, the proper handling of a crisis can save a company from disaster, but can it actually improve their reputation?
Apparently, it can. An article in the December 5 issue of PRWEEK about Delahaye's Media Index of Corporate Reputation revelead that Wal-Mart moved into the top spot due to the positive coverage they received from their response to Hurricane Katrina. According to the release from Delahaye, Wal-Mart’s efficient response to hurricane Katrina generated large volumes of positive media coverage as the company delivered emergency relief to affected employees and citizens.
For those with experience in crisis communications, this does not come as a surprise. The PR Crisis Bible references a study from the Henley Centre, which found that when the consumer receives good service from a company and is happy with the goods provided, loyalty stands typically at 60 percent. If, however, something goes badly wrong and the company deals courteously and effectively with the problem, loyalty can rise to as high as 90 percent. Wal-Mart is merely the latest example.