GM’s recall scandal is filled with crisis comms missteps

A look at how the carmaker’s PR, media relations and internal communications surrounding its ignition switch recall could have been better.

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Ragan Insider Content

General Motors acknowledges it somewhere made a very wrong turn regarding the controversy related to its ignition switch defect, where 13 drivers died. But is the carmaker now showing us a new and improved model for handling crisis communications?

Not all is bad, but we don’t see a major overhaul. Here’s what caught our eye:

Public relations: The New York Times tells us the law firms GM hired to conduct an internal investigation have worked for the organization before. This, in the public’s eye, can stall the internal investigation’s perception before it starts. Internal investigations in general already face skepticism. So why employ law firms, which because of their previous working relationships, might erode to even the slightest degree the trust in an internal investigation?

True, those law firms might have superb track records and a motivation to appear objective. But why risk using law firms the public might question even before the attorneys bill the first hour?

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