Social media has changed the public’s expectations in the response to a crisis. It has also changed dramatically the way that organisations need to prepare and plan to execute a communication strategy. The public often expect an immediate response through an open and honest dialogue, whether expressed through website, Facebook or Twitter posts or other social media. Whilst satisfying a need for important information to many with a vested interest, whether it be a global audience, victims’ relatives, shareholders or the mainstream media, its primary objectives when exercised as part of a crisis management plan is invariably to mitigate brand and reputational damage.
A well planned and exercised cohesive communication strategy is necessary to mitigate many issues arising during a crisis, whether it be the speed at which the incident becomes known or to react to ill-informed or deliberately misleading or damaging press and mainstream media communications. 28% of crises spread internationally within 60 minutes and 69% internationally within 24 hours. This therefore demands a much quicker response and prompt decision making by people closest to the crisis. This is particularly true in the case of global organisations, operating across different time zones where a more centralised structure and hierarchal culture exists, where approval has proven to cause delay and significant impact on the management of crisis, resulting unnecessary in financial loss, loss of customer confidence, plummeting share price or other reputational damage
An example of this culture resulting in the mishandling of a crisis was evidenced when Toyota managed the global recall of 9 million vehicles with potentially lethal faults commencing in January 2010. The press started to vilify the company in 2009 when the initial recall started but there was significant delay in identifying and addressing the situation which many commentators have suggested was due to a failure to communicate through the layers of the company. An example of the criticism in response to the perception of the mismanagement is observed in the following article.
“Details usually unworthy of public attention, such as internal memos disagreeing over public relations strategy, became smoking guns that convinced the press and the public that Toyota vehicles had electronic problems causing runaway vehicles — and that the company was hiding this from the public” 
Toyota was trending (negatively) on Google and Twitter which was a unique situation faced by the car industry. Although Audi had a similar issue in the 1980’s there had never been a situation where events were being seen through the social media lens. Toyota (North America) had a social media team that had been in place for a few months and were receiving numerous communications from the public as consequence of the recall. They responded in two ways to mitigate the escalating situation. Their first action was to use the now defunct social media site DIGG in February 2010 as their platform of choice to set up a question /answer facility using DIGGDialogue for Toyota owners and within the first week they had received 1.2 million views  They also posted a video of their North American Sales President Jim Lenz on YouTube who attempted to reassure the public and provide an apology .
Jeffrey Liker and Tim Ogden were critical of the culture that existed at Toyota at the time and attributed this to the mismanagement of the crisis When stating “Crisis response must start by building a strong culture long before the crisis hits,” they were commentating on the facts subsequently acknowledged by Toyota that the managers closest to the crisis were not making the decisions and that the company grew faster than it built and developed its workforce. Critically, there was an absence of a cohesive and well developed communication (and social media) strategy which exacerbated the situation.