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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Recall Communications are not like Sending a Wedding Announcement

Since 2006, laptop batteries have been recalled.  In August 2006: Dell recalled over 4 million notebook batteries, after a number of instances where the batteries, made by Sony, overheated or caught fire.  Most of the defective notebooks were sold in the US, however some 1 million faulty batteries could be found elsewhere in the world.

Following Dell's battery recall, Apple Computer also recalled 1.8 million Sony notebook computer batteries. Similar to Dell, most of the notebooks were sold in the United States. However some 700,000 units could be found overseas.

Between September and October 2006: Matsushita (Panasonic), Toshiba ,  IBM/Lenovo, Hitachi and Fujitsu recalled a minimum of 1,000,000 batteries.

In February 2007: Lenovo and Sanyo recall 200,000 batteries.

None of the recall announcements went very well in the last year.  Some of the recalls were triggered very publicly with YouTube videos of burning laptops at conventions and airports.  A recall does not trigger a joyous event like engagement announcements for your daughter's wedding.

They inspire fear and anger and reactionary behavior.  That doesn't mean that the message should be slowed down or that any portion of the truth should be held back.  Consumers need to know that they can trust your company again after a recall and that requires coming clean truthfully and completely right away.