Toyota Needs to Shush.

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And shush its mass communications. At least until it knows the extent of the problems.  They can’t offer heartfelt apologies and tell us they’re working “day and night” to fix things and each day break a new recall story.  Yesterday, after weeks of apologies (months if you include the Prius floor mats) Corolla came under suspicion.

Toyota needs to go dark with its advertising and put that money into data mining, engineering analysis, added shifts and most importantly finding and identifying “proof” they’re doing something.  Proof is good. Talk is bad.  Proof might be a visual image or story consumers can relate to. Something that one consumer can tell another proving Toyota is doing something dramatic.  (Repairing “up to 50,000 cars a day” is in the neighborhood, but  no Rosie the Riveter.)

When AT&T was about to get its lunch eaten by MCI because the government legislated 800 numbers could be moved from carrier to carrier, Joe Nacchio emptied AT&T’s corporate building putting anyone in a suit or skirt on the street calling on customers. AT&T didn’t lose share.  He went all Rose the Riveter on them.

Newspaper apology notes? That’s grade school PR stuff.