Landor Perspectives 2009 – Spanair: Turning a crisis into an opportunity

Luis Manzano
is general manager in the Madrid office of Landor Associates.

On 20 August 2008, Madrid suffered a terrible airline disaster in which 154 people lost their lives. The investigations are ongoing, and while Spanair is trying to clarify the circumstances of the catastrophe, it has remained associated with this tragedy. What is the real impact of this horrific accident of flight JK 5022 on the brand image of the airline company?

Companies shouldn't ask if they will suffer a crisis, but rather when a crisis might occur. Nobody escapes them: from the prestigious newspaper whose reputation was damaged by a correspondent who admitted to inventing news, to a multinational oil company responsible for an ecological disaster. A ready communication plan is essential for just such a crisis—it should always be included in a company's contingency plan.