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August 14, 2007

What should Mattel do?

Another story that everybody knows about. Not a single parent in America likes Mattel right now, analysts are reporting they've already taken a $30 million hit this year, and with the recent recall are sure to take another financial kidney-punch. Mattel is facing a huge challenge and i'm sure they've got a high-paid team of crisis-management specialists working on the cause, but perhaps what they need isn't crisis management. As an old friend to kids and families everywhere, there's an opportunity for them to respond a little differently.

A quick glance at the landing page of the website is already missing something. Mattelfrontpage_3
Any guesses? That's right, the very first thing a friend should be offering, an apology. Click through to the "voluntary recall information" page and find a letter asking for trust and a 3 minute video with an apology offered in the last 5 seconds. So what would a friend do here? Without getting into much detail, here are a few thoughts;

Offer an apology -- something sincere, heartfelt, and upfront. Don't bury it.

Act apologetically -- think friendship here, not crisis management. Find a way that shows you're sorry and that doesn't mean a 200 page "product safety initiative plan" or a manufacturing scapegoat. A friend might send flowers or take you out to dinner, and Mattel should be thinking along those lines.

Open kimono -- stay in touch and let people know what's going on, how the problems are actually being fixed, not the plans to fix them.

Any ideas what else a friend might do if they've betrayed an old friend?

by Evan Slater

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