The case Dieselgate, of Volkswagen, of great depth in the media sphere, opens the door to an interesting field of study for communicators: can you live from the inertia of an excellent reputation ?, that is, does the good reputation of a company, built for years, to cushion a serious reputational crisis? Does it help prevent it from translating into economic losses or alleviating them? The answer in the case of Volkswagen has been yes, according to a detailed analysis made by Dr. Paul Capriotti in his Bidirectional blog (https://paulcapriotti.wordpress.com/2019/10/25/dieselgate-crisis-de- reputation-e-impact-in-business /), who encourages studying more cases, even in academic settings, to clarify these issues.
An excellent reputation is one of the greatest intangibles of a company, as experts attribute the ability to act as a “cushion” of reputational crises and minimize its impact on both the value of the brand and its business activity , measurable in sales, profits or stock value. In the case of Volkswagen, there has been no doubt: The company’s excellent reputation and CSR performed this “mattress” function, cushioning the economic damage caused by the Dieselgate’s reputational crisis and helping its negative impact on The business was punctual. The company’s results in the years following the crisis suffered, but they quickly refloated: the crisis was not only overcome but the business could be maintained, thanks to its excellent previous reputation.
The excellent reputation is, therefore, a lifeline that prevents the collapse of large companies and crises, their great opportunity to redefine themselves. Thus, the Dieselgate served as a revulsion for Voklswagen to adopt a new business model, focusing on the electric car and thus offering a greener and more responsible image to its stakeholders and public opinion, although it did so later than other large automotive companies like Tesla and technology, like Google or Apple. Today, going late in challenges such as the commitment to the environment can also damage the good reputation of brands. Watchful eye.