News at Smith

GM Recall Probe Spells ‘Brand Suicide’ in Social Media Age: UMD Marketing Expert

Mar 13, 2014
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Hot Topic Alert: March 13, 2014
Attention: Business and marketing reporters and editors 


Responding to the reported U.S. attorney's office criminal probe into General Motors’ timing and handling of an ignition switch recall, University of Maryland Smith School of Business marketing professor Roland Rust says: 

“Today’s social media world creates a PR echo chamber in which customer reactions to brand crises reverberate and amplify themselves. 

“GM's 'let's keep things in house' delayed reaction to the ignition problems was anachronistic. Today it's impossible to keep things quiet, which means anything other than complete honesty and transparency in a timely manner is brand suicide.” 

“Brand harm” is Rust’s current research focus. He also is an international research fellow at Oxford University's Center for Corporate Reputation. 

In the Smith School, Rust is the Distinguished University Professor and David Bruce Smith Chair in Marketing and founder and executive director of two research centers: the Center for Excellence in Service and Center for Complexity in Business. 

Contact him at  or 301-405-4300.

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business 

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty masters, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.