Boeing’s Ongoing Struggles and How They Can Rebuild Consumer Confidence in the Brand

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Once a titan of innovation, soaring through clear skies of industry dominance, Boeing has hit a period of intense turbulence. The grounding of the 737 MAX aircraft following two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019 sent shockwaves through the aviation industry and left deep craters in the company’s reputation.

The latest situation with a door detaching from an Alaska Airlines flight only made the situation worse. Regaining passenger trust won’t be a quick walk to the nearest runway. It’s going to be a long-haul flight demanding a complete overhaul of priorities and crisis communication management for this brand.

The 737 MAX situation

The 737 MAX was supposed to revolutionize Boeing’s power, but crashes exposed design and software flaws. Investigation revealed issues with the MCAS. Boeing’s attempt at crisis communication management was poorly received – slow, dismissive, and lacking transparency. Public trust eroded, and profit over safety allegations grew. The grounding resulted in massive financial losses for the company. Production, orders, and stock price were severely impacted..

Quality control queries

Unfortunately, the 737 MAX wasn’t an isolated incident. It was the culmination of a string of crisis communication management mishaps that had already chipped away at Boeing’s past spotless image. Issues with the 787 Dreamliner, including production delays and battery problems raised concerns about quality control.

Allegations of unwarranted pressure on regulators and a culture of prioritizing profits over safety further damaged the brand image. But the damage extends beyond safety concerns. Boeing has faced criticism for its labor relations, environmental impact, and role in the US-China trade war. 

These factors, combined with the MAX crisis and the recent Alaska Airlines door incident, where a “plug door” blew off mid-air, have created a perfect storm of reputational damage for the aviation giant.

Safety first

Every decision needs to prioritize safety above all else. This means robust design and testing procedures, rigorous quality control, and fostering a safety-first culture throughout the organization. Open crisis communication management and collaboration with regulators, airlines, and passengers will be crucial in demonstrating this determined commitment.


Boeing needs to be open and honest with the public, media, and regulators. Regular updates on investigations, safety improvements, and production progress are essential. Owning up to past mistakes and demonstrating a willingness to learn will go a long way in regaining public trust.

Passenger comfort

Safety is paramount, but a comfortable journey matters too. Investing in modern cabins, cutting-edge in-flight technology, and exceptional customer service can differentiate Boeing from competitors and create a more positive brand image. Prioritizing passenger well-being shows that Boeing cares about the entire flying experience.


Any concerns surrounding ethical practices in design, certification, or business dealings must be addressed head-on. Investigating and addressing allegations of excessive influence, prioritizing profits over safety, and unethical marketing practices are crucial. Demonstrating a commitment to transparency and ethical conduct will rebuild trust with stakeholders.

Ronn Torossian founded 5WPR, a leading PR agency.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the Founder and Chairman of 5WPR, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 25 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America’s most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company’s growth, overseeing more than 275 professionals. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named “PR Agency of the Year” by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world’s most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine’s Most Influential New Yorker, a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, and a recipient of Crain’s New York 2021 Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Torossian is known as one of the country’s foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and has authored two editions of his book, “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations,” which is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.

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