Malaysia Airlines Turns to Ketchum in MH370 Crisis

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By Patrick Coffee

malaysia-airlinesWhat’s the toughest PR assignment in the world right now? If you said “Malaysia Airlines” then you’re right.

Friday brought news that Ketchum, a firm hardly afraid to take on the most challenging accounts around, has signed with MAS to help navigate the ongoing crisis.

The Holmes Report notes that the airline hired Ketchum several days after flight MH370 first went missing but kept the news quiet for obvious reasons.

The most interesting comments in the story come from the former head of communications for Malaysia Air, who admits that the company could have been a bit more sensitive to the concerns of passengers’ family members and avoided problems like the many misleading headlines about the text sent to parents and relatives.

The former director¬†Indira Nair asks Holmes the same question we asked when summarizing the airline’s initial response: what could they have done better?

Unfortunately for MAS, that’s no longer the most relevant question. We don’t doubt Ketchum’s ability to help the company carry out the next stages of its response, but significant damage has been done. Given the fact that the latest “objects of interest” in the Indian Ocean turned out to be fishing equipment, the company must accept that crisis mode is now standard operating procedure.