Does Malaysia Airlines instil confidence in its handling of MH370 incident?


When tragedy strikes, like it has with the disappearance of flight MH370, the company at the centre of it all comes under intense scrutiny. It must demonstrate that it knows what it is doing and has a difficult situation under control – or lose the confidence of the public and all other stakeholders.

If it loses control of the situation it will plunge itself into a deeper crisis as all the frustration and anger of missing loved ones come to bear full force on it.

Fortunately for the families and loved ones of MH370, however, Malaysia Airlines has so far has demonstrated its professionalism in handling this crisis-like situation. Their burden remains heavy, but they can at least take comfort that CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya and his team know what they are doing.

How can you tell if they are doing a good job?  There are several tell tale signs.

The first is that Ahmad and Malaysia Airlines’ willingness to share information. Perhaps a bit slow off the block Ahmad nevertheless addressed the issue in a Press Conference yesterday where he expressed sympathy for the friends and families of the victims, told the public what they did and did not know yet, and what they are doing. This is the Triple R of crisis communications – Regret, Reason and Remedy.

The other indication of what sort of a company Malaysia Airlines is when it comes to crisis management can be seen very evidently  from how it manages its digital assets because in this age of the super-connected public, they are the first points of contact for most people around the world who are interested in the developments of the search and rescue and recovery of MH370 and its passengers and crew. The digital assets are primarily its website, as well as its social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook.

Companies trained in crisis management usually have a Dark Site prepared for incidents such as MH370. A Dark Site is a “dormant” website that is stripped of all promotion materials and designed to provide information and updates about the incident. It is activated only during crisis-like situations.

If you go to the Malaysian Airlines website you will see that they have stripped their website of all promotional materials, with a prominent “pointer” to the Dark Site.

MAS Website

Click on that and you go directly to the Dark Site where you get the latest information that the company has on the incident.

MAS Darksite

But Malaysian Airlines does not stop there. Go to their Facebook page and you will see the same messages being posted to amplify their message on the website. The Facebook page is also stripped of all colour and the airlines logo is grey together with a grey background, to prevent any inadvertent visuals that may not be appropriate for the mood.

MAS FB

This same treatment is also applied to its Twitter account which is also used to amplify the message on its website.

MAS Twitter

Such coordination and activation within hours of the incident suggests a company that takes crisis management seriously and has drilled its employees to be able to carry out such tasks under the pressure of public scrutiny. It should give confidence to the public that Ahmad Jauhari Yahya and his Core Crisis Management Team at Malaysia Airlines are competent, professional and know what they are doing.

In difficult times like this, such professionalism should be a source of comfort for aggrieved families and friends of the passengers of MH370.

 

About unspun

An eternal student of persuasion, communication and crisis management skills, with a propensity to unspin spins
This entry was posted in communications, Crisis and issues management, Malaysia, Public Relations, Social Media, Twitter and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Does Malaysia Airlines instil confidence in its handling of MH370 incident?

  1. I tried to comment on this piece on your blog but it seems a bit unstable and I got an unresponsive script message. I’ll try again later but my main point is that MAS has got the infrastructure in place but the level and quality of content is shockingly non existent.

    Like

    • unspun says:

      Sorry about the instability. Shouldn’t happen as it is a WordPress hosted blog. But what do you mean about the content being shockingly non-existent? I think there is a lot of unknowns here until they track down the plane or its wreckage.

      Like

      • I totally agree. But he’s an example. It’s 2240 hours KL time and the last post on the MAS FB page was 7 hours ago. IMHO that’s not good enough. The Minister keeps telling people not to speculate but if there is no official news from the airline, what can they do but speculate and spread that speculation?
        FB is not for posting press releases, it’s for engaging consumers, as I know you know.

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      • unspun says:

        I think that you have to take it in a Malaysian context. Not so acceptable in the West but for a Malaysian company they are pretty communicative.

        Malaysian Airlines is not the Minister. The government is hopeless when it comes to communications.

        Agree FB in normal times is used to engage with consumers but IMHO during crisis-like situations it can also be sued to amplify and point to the messages on its website.

        Like

  2. Anak Jakarta says:

    Hehehehehe …. Mereka di Malaxia sudah sangat terlatih dan terbiasa melakukan manipulasi membuat sebuah kebohongan menjadi “fakta” dalam segala sektor kehidupan mereka. Jadi tak heranlah jika mereka terlalu gagap menghadapi fakta yang benar-benar terjadi ketika pesawat MAS hilang … Panik, Diam, Lempar Tanggung Jawab dan Menyalahkan Pihak Lain adalah pilihan yang terbaik

    Contoh lainnya … bagaimana reaksi mereka yang terlalu hiruk pikuk di Lahad Datu … reaksi Malaxia menghadapi 40 orang pejuang Sulu laksana sedang menghadapi perang dunia …. Hahahaha

    Like

    • Hidayah says:

      First of all, it’s Malaysia.

      Second is I try my best to follow news about MH370 closely, I literally glued to my device and screens. Must have been missed the part where Malaysia ‘menyalahkan pihak lain’ in this situation. Could you please share with us THAT fact?

      Like

  3. liza anuar says:

    Anak Jakarta, just shut your mouth up! You have no right to say anything about Malaysia because you are an Indonesian. Go away from this site! Keep your stupidity to yourself!

    Like

  4. The Spirit of Freedom says:

    It is clear that Malaysia don’t want us to involve to serach their missing plane ……. Hpw can they request us to search at Malacca strait … meanwhile the plane missed at SCS ..B etul-betul bodoh jika kita mau dikadalin oleh mereka ….Hahahaha
    ———
    The Indonesian Navy has deployed four warships and one patrol aircraft to the Malacca Strait to assist in the search of the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft, despite being far to the west from the location where contact with the aircraft was lost over the South China Sea, off the southern coast of Vietnam.

    But Navy spokesman Commodore Untung Surapati said on Sunday that a search of the Malacca Strait had been requested by the Malaysian military.

    He refused to speculate on why the Malaysian authorities had asked for a search to be carried out in an area far from the South Vietnamese waters where the Boeing B777-200 was believed to have gone missing.

    “In the case of an emergency, you never know. The plane could have drifted far to the north of its actual flight path, or even west. But according to the request from the Malaysian military, they suggested that some radar detections were recorded over the Malacca Strait,” he said.

    Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which was carrying a total 239 passengers and crew, left Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Saturday at 12:41 a.m. Beijing time, and was expected to land in Beijing at 6:30 a.m.

    http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/03/09/ri-deploy-warships-search-expands-malacca-strait.html

    Like

    • unspun says:

      Agree that it would be quite improbable for the plane to show up in Malacca Straits, without it being picked up by Malaysian radar. I’m as baffled as you and the only reason I can think of is that they don’t want to leave any stone, no matter how improbable, unturned.

      Like

  5. oguds says:

    Mudah saja kok bilang MH370 ada di mana, bilang saja lagi di-sodomi sama Anwar Ibrahim. Terlalu banyak dusta di negeri seberang itu, demokrasinya masih terbelakang. Hei Liza Anuar, ada 7 WNI di situ. Tragedi ini menjadi perhatian internasional, bukan cuma Malaysia. Kalo komentar dipikir dulu.

    Like

    • raelene says:

      The Indonesians who commented here are bunch of pathetic losers.Majority of you guys are dirt poor in your own country,high level of corruptions,problems with earth quakes etc but got the cheek to comment about our country.

      Demokrasi terbelakang?Oh,kami tidak mau demokrasi monyet macam di Indon.Demonstrasi tidak habis2 & banyak nyawa melawang.Nyawa rakyat kami bernilai,tidak seperti di negara kamu.Anwar Ibrahim?Dia sudah tidak relevan pada kami di Malaysia.Sorry to dissapoint you guys.

      Like

      • unspun says:

        OK any future comments of Malaysians slamming Indonesians or vice versa will be deleted from this blog. The thread is about whether Malaysia Airlines is doing a good job handling the situation surrounding the MH370 disaster. There are Malaysians and Indonesians in the plane, their families are distraught and anxious. So please take a chill pill guys.

        Like

  6. bengtack says:

    IMO, your assessment is more skewed towards the infrastructure rather than content and hence it may be unfair to generalize and make that conclusion.

    While there may be many uncertainties, the way it has gone abt carrying its press conferences seems more responsive than active. It could for example rule out/clarify any speculation instead of waiting for press to ask abt it then they answer. My 2 cents

    Like

    • unspun says:

      Bengtack: Not really, IMHO. There’s actually not that much action at Malaysian Airlines at this stage for them to put out that many updates.

      Most of the action is with the SAR teams deployed by Malaysian, Vietnamese and other governments. It is they who should be doing the updating as Malaysian Airlines can’t speak for them.

      Neither can the airline speak about the fake passports (except why they did not detect it, but then if you were them you could still be trying to find out and there is little upside opening up that issue voluntarily). The investigation into the fake passports is also not in MAS’s position to speak about.

      But this age of ours driven by live broadcasts and social media demands rapid and constant updates or they get suspicious. MAS now needs to feed this beast.

      The crisis is now transitioning from Stage 2 to Stage 3 (see my previous post) and a dangerous time for MAS as this is when the finger-pointing starts. I still think it has done well until now. How it will fare in the days and weeks ahead remains to be seen.

      Like

  7. QB says:

    I just want to quickly add that unlike online twitter and the myriad of expert opinions (read: conjectures). Malaysia Airlines have to take extra care in weighing its word. After all, the families are looking desperately to these official sites for the OFFICIAL WORD. Such words carry a great deal of weight to the emotional well-being of the family. And importantly, they may have legal implications.

    Like

  8. Pingback: How MAS handled its public communication in times of crisis is commendable | Vulcan PostVulcan Post

  9. Andrew Ng says:

    .

    Focus shall be on the competency of the authorities in running the said “Search & Rescue’ mission, and their professionalism in dispensing timely updates instead of trying to conceal (hide) information ‘deemed sensitive’ from the public’s knowledge at their whims & fancies in the name of “following proper procedure & protocols”, etc.

    Enough of all these insulting mambo-jumbo!
    .

    Like

  10. Andrew Ng says:

    .

    I do somehow suspect that either Malaysian Airlines (MAS) or the current ruling regime knew something deemed ‘sensitive’ that we don’t and thus, therefore, they proceed to continue pacifying us with ‘standard replies’ that made NO SENSE, if not utter insulting.

    It is JUST LIKE the very same way they ‘mis’handled the Sulu incident; looks like they are going to handle everything at their SNAIL PACE speed & mumble-jumble along the way too.

    Question – “Can the government be more forthcoming on missing MH370?”

    http://www.theantdaily.com/news/2014/03/10/can-government-be-more-forthcoming-missing-mas-flight

    Posted on 10/03/2014 – 12:11, Ng Kee Seng, Executive Editor

    I really hope this suspicion is unfounded & it is JUST THEIR USUAL INCOMPETENCIES … and the Chinese as well as the Chinese authorities already voiced their disgusts over this INCOMPETENCY.

    Rumors and fake reporting will come in to fill the VOID where their incompetency has left one. Timely reporting & status updates are crucial & more so during trying times like these.

    They don’t seem to have learned anything!

    What say you?
    .

    Like

  11. Andrew Ng says:

    .

    I found myself repeating …

    Rumors and fake reporting will come in to fill the VOID where their incompetency has left one. Timely reporting & status updates are crucial & more so during trying times like these.

    “Malaysian officials say they are working hard to answer questions. They have reminded people to avoid speculation, but it hasn’t reassured distressed family members” – Jennifer Pak, BBC News, Kuala Lumpur

    They don’t seem to have learned anything!

    What say you?
    .

    Like

  12. unspun says:

    Andrew: Understand the frustration but where MAS is concerned I think they have demonstrated that they are professional so far and should be given the doubt. They may know something sensitive and are definitely privy to all sorts of rumours, facts, half-facts and downright fiction. They have to weigh it all before communicating as lives and feelings of families and friends are involved here (not to mention potential lawsuits).

    You also need to differentiate between the Malaysian Government and MAS. While I think MAS is on solid ground I’ve lost faith of the government and its ministers a long time ago and defensiveness, not being open and downright incompetence is what one would expect of them. The higher they are in the ladder, usually the worse.

    Like

  13. UMNOPutra says:

    Kalau tak suka dan protes dengan cara Malaysia mencari plane ini … Silakan semua keluar dari Malaysia …

    Like

    • unspun says:

      Sounds like an UMNOPutra all right. Now back to the topic…

      Like

    • The Spirit of Freedom says:

      The rule:

      1. Ketuanan Melayu is the absolutely never wrong …
      2. If we are wrong, see rule No. 1

      That is the “rule” in BolehLand. You have to accept it, if not please get out from this holy land …Hahaha

      Like

  14. Ang Tat Hwee says:

    21st century terrorists using two number codes 09 and 11. Kunming terrorism happened on March the 2nd ( lunar calendar was 2nd day of 2nd month) . If add up the single digits will be 3+2+2+2=9. Whereas MH370 missing date was 8th March, means 8+3=11. Way back 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack actual day 27 November . the single digit add up to 9 and double digit is 11.

    Like

  15. Ang Tat Hwee says:

    The next date 7th April .. but also India Election day..

    Like

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