Epic Failure for Sony PlayStation’s PR Crisis

Last week’s hacking of the Sony PlayStation online network and Sony’s subsequent reactions (or non-reaction) is a complete failure in Crisis PR Management 101.

A few things Sony got absolutely wrong that makes me wonder who’s managing their Crisis PR department:

  • Sony waited a week before releasing a public statement regarding the hacker attack. With a powerful network of 77 million gamers Sony can’t afford to remain silent because Microsoft and Nintendo would be more than happy to take a chunk of that 77 million. Lesson for Sony: response time is everything to your brand and reputation. When crisis arises, being proactive and sensitive to the situation and the impact it has on customers potentially helps to mitigate the crisis.

  • …And when Sony finally released its statement that personal information including credit card numbers were compromised, they warned customers to “remain vigilant” by monitoring identity theft or other financial loss. How sensitive of Sony…NOT. If Sony really wanted to massage the situation, they should have offered free credit monitoring for those whose financial information were compromised. Lesson in Crisis PR: show empathy for the people involved.
  • Carl-Niclas Odenbring of Releasy Customer Management in Sweden was commented in the NY Times as saying, “Sony is pretty much doing everything wrong.” You bet they are. Even prior to Sony’s statement, the company began posting sporadic messages on the PlayStation website that the network was down. There’s never nothing good about sporadic messages in time of a crisis and when you have 77 million people connected to your network, you had better use it effectively. Lesson in Crisis PR: effective use of multi-channel communications is a critical component to your messaging strategy.
  • We couldn’t say it any better than said at The Drum: It’s not the crisis itself that damages your reputation, it’s the way that you are seen to be addressing it.

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