SoIS ADJUNCT FELLOW SHARES THE MAS EXPERIENCE OF MANAGING THE CRISES THAT FOLLOWED THE TRAGIC LOSS OF MH370 & MH17
UUM ONLINE: The two aviation incidents of tragic magnitude that befell Malaysia Airlines (MAS) within a span of four months in 2014, took a heavy toll, indeed, on the airline.In spite of that, MAS has now bounced back to steadily rebuild its reputation, which was badly affected by the twin tragedies of flight MH370, which went missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, China, in March 2014, and flight MH17, which was shot down while flying through the airspace over eastern Ukraine in July of the same year.
To share the experience of MAS in dealing with the double disasters that shook the world, the School of International Studies (SoIS), Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM), hosted an International Business Adjunct Fellow Talk entitled "Crisis Management in a Malaysian Multinational Company: A Lesson From Malaysia Airlines," with the former Head of Strategic Communications, MAS, Dato' Najmuddin Abdullah, as the guest speaker. The talk was held at the SoIS Auditorium, yesterday.
Dato' Najmuddin Abdullah, who is currently the Director of Strategic Communications and Stakeholder Relations, Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn. Bhd. (MRT Corp), shared some of the high priority measures taken by MAS in handling the crises from the early moments of the catastrophes that overtook the two ill-fated aircraft.
He explained that there were three levels of communication management, which came into play during a crisis, namely, the code red level, which dealt with the initial aspects of the crisis; the pre-recovery level, which focused on the management of public perception to rebuild the business; and the final level, which centred on recovering critical business operations.
"The first step in the code red level is making an official announcement about the incident, followed by broadcasting over the media, managing social media, sending letters to family members, briefing family members with updates, setting up support centres for the families involved, making announcements to the in-house staff, and managing the external stakeholders," he explained.
He added that the second level was the pre-recovery level, i.e., managing public perception to rebuild the business."To restore public perception concerning MAS, we conducted campaigns via social media, organised media interviews with MAS spokespersons, distributed solidarity ribbons and button badges, and provided counselling for the staff.
"The final level pertains to the recovery of critical business operations, which involves conducting strategic and tactical marketing campaigns," he said.