Lisa Merriam

Toyota Brand Doublespeak: Spinning Possible Recall as “Special Service Campaign”

When a corporation uses slippery doublespeak, particularly for brands with trust trouble, they double down on the damage they do to their reputation.

Brand Doublespeak Doesn’t Fool Anyone

Who does Toyota think they are fooling when they try to paint the new recall of the Tundra as a “heads up” to dealers of a “special service campaign?” Toyota is reeling from waves of recalls and the appearance of being reluctant to deal with their problems. People are already wary that Toyota is trying to cover up mistakes. By using brand doublespeak or a regulatory fine point, Toyota confirms suspicions that Toyota is being less than honest. Don’t be tempted to do damage control with this kind of dubious reputation management.

Our recent video interviews with consumers reveal they are willing to give Toyota the benefit of the doubt, but how far can Toyota push this goodwill before it is gone?

Building back lost trust in Toyota will take time, meticulous service, swift and decisive responses to every issue, and the strictest adherence to truth. Trying to avoid the word “recall” by spinning with the term “special service,” shows that Toyota is more interested in spinning than being forthright. The brand is bound to suffer when “damage control” comes off as manipulation or an outright lie.