How automakers can use tactical consumer PR to win trust
It is no secret that the country is in an economic crisis and has been for several years. People continue to struggle day to day and businesses have to work harder than ever to make a profit. A major part of this for every company is attracting new clients while garnering repeat business. Public relations play a huge role in a company getting business, especially now when the public is more cautious about spending money. Industries that have lost the favor of their customers face hard times ahead, and currently the auto industry is facing these struggles.
It has been five years since the government bailout that directly saved major automobile companies General Motors and Chrysler while indirectly saving Ford. These companies were on the verge of bankruptcy when the government spent over ten billion dollars to bale them out. Ford claims that had General Motors and Chrysler collapsed, it also would not have survived as a company.
Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors are huge American companies that employ numerous people and provide greatly needed vehicles to customers. Had these companies collapsed, the impact would have been felt across the country and would have decimated the economy further. Jobs would have been lost and other companies would have felt the effects and possibly deteriorated or gone under. The whole country would have been impacted.
Despite the cataclysmic outcome of these companies going under, many Americans are of the opinion that the bailout was a bad idea. In fact, six out of every ten adults in a recent poll believe that the government should not have spent billions of dollars to bailout these companies. The people state that these companies got themselves into a mess and needed to get out of it on their own rather than relying on rescue from the government and taxpayers.
General Motors and Chrysler now face a PR situation that could either improve public opinion or lower it further. Though most of the public angst is directed towards the government and the decisions made by the government, these major automobile companies are also feeling the sting. This is a chance for their respective public relations departments to turn public opinion in a more positive direction.
These companies should look at the benefits of the bailout to the American public. Many people do not consider the consequences of major companies like GM and Chrysler going under. The ripples would be felt everywhere. As Ford pointed out, other companies would also suffer and possibly go under. PR for Chrysler and General Motors should focus on this angle to try to turn public opinion towards the benefits of the bailout.
Major companies sometimes come across as out of touch with public opinion. The negativity surrounding the government decision to bailout General Motors and Chrysler will affect these companies, and in this difficult economic time no one can afford negative public opinion. These two major automobile companies need to turn things around by changing the public opinion through a positive public relations campaign.