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Volume 32, Issue 2

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Tuesday, 23 April 2019 16:08

Boeing Case Reveals That B2Bs Are Not Immune To Volatile Brand Crises

Grounded Boeing Angers A Whole Value Chain

Boeing’s having a tough run. The self-proclaimed world’s largest aerospace company is under “intense scrutiny” after two crashes involving its 737 MAX jets, with governments around the world grounding planes, massively affecting travel and airline operations. Boeing finds itself in the center of a terrible storm of angry consumers, buyers, and regulators.

Not The First Time . . . But The Worst Time

This isn’t the first time Boeing planes have crashed — but PR-wise, it’s the worst. What’s different serves as caution for all leaders, regardless of industry. The zeitgeist has changed: No company is immune to the demands of empowered customers, not even B2B companies like Boeing. In Boeing’s case, the empowered customers are not just airlines but also the flying public. B2B companies never really had to worry about public scrutiny with its volatile fury. In an industry’s value chain, they played safely in the background, behind their B2C buyer. In this case, airline manufacturers historically didn’t interact with passengers post-crash but instead worked with regulators. A US presidential tweet hurled the issue into the public realm, a virtual court whose norms disregard protocol.