TUESDAY 3 DEC 2013 4:38 PM


As 2013 comes to a close, a look back at the past 24 months shows a good deal of crises with which business had to contend. Open Road has examined the impact crisis has had on trust and reputation in 2013.

Four of the companies that were judged to have had the best response to a crisis were involved in the horsemeat scandal. Tesco ranked first as its CEO kept consumers updated and aware of what was going on throughout the scandal. Asda, Aldi and Iceland also rank highly with BBC’s management of the Savile crisis also drawing notice.

Poor communicators in times of crisis were Google and Starbucks during the tax scandal and G4S’ handling of Olympic comms. News International and Wonga bring up the rear. Surprisingly, Starbucks’ voluntary payment of £5 million in tax and assertive consumer response resulted in massive backlash across the country. Google, however, which was caught up in the same scandal, saw few complaints.

Rebecca Reilly, Open Road director says, “Despite a sustained period of negative headlines relating to the horsemeat scandal, the big supermarkets’ proactive, fast and comprehensive responses to the issue were well-received by the public, meaning that they have managed to maintain a strong level of trust in their businesses. Whilst handling of a communications crisis doesn’t necessarily translate into loss of sales, with negative media coverage comes increased government scrutiny – and the potential for unwanted regulation.”

Over 2,000 members of the public and about 200 opinion leaders were polled.