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A Ashwathama

Published on

May 23, 2024


corporate strategy, Crisis Management, data analytics, Insights

Over the past few years, Boeing, one of the giants in aerospace, has faced unprecedented scrutiny due to a series of safety lapses and controversies, most notably surrounding the 737 MAX incidents. Read on as we examine how these crises have impacted Boeing's brand sentiment and reputation, potentially leading to sustained impacts on its brand value.

In examining Boeing’s quarterly reputation and sentiment trends over the past two years, it becomes evident that there has been a pervasive negative sentiment. However, it’s noteworthy that relative to this sentiment, Boeing’s reputation showed signs of gradual recovery from Q2 2022’s low of -35 to a less negative score of -21 in Q4 2023. This suggests that despite the prevailing negative sentiments, Boeing has made some strides in reputation management. 

Yet, the start of 2024 marked a severe downturn, with the reputation score plummeting to -41 in Q1. This stark decline correlates with the adverse proceedings against the company in early January 2024, indicating a critical juncture for Boeing’s public perception. This phase requires Boeing to implement a more vigorous and focused response to halt the slide and repair its image. 

On March 12, mentions of Boeing surged to 426k, a 23-fold increase from the daily average of 18.9k, predominantly in the context of negative coverage. Boeing-related mentions on X skyrocketed, reaching 426,000—a significant increase compared to the usual daily average of 18.9k. This spike was dominated by negative sentiments, with 96% of non-neutral mentions being unfavourable, which is 58 times higher than average. Most of these mentions originated from the United States, tallying up to 106,000, marking a 19-fold increase from the norm. 

This has had a pronounced financial impact; Boeing’s share price fell sharply from $260.66 on December 29, 2023, to $171.46 by May 1, 2024, reflecting a year-to-date loss of 31.90%. This decline highlights the market’s reaction to the ongoing challenges and incidents affecting the company. 

graph image showing downward trend for boeing mentions

graph showing image of downward trend
Source: Penta (Q2 2022 – Q1 2024) – 

Analysing Brand Sentiment with Data

By visually tracking Boeing’s reputation and sentiment, we can graphically illustrate the decline in its brand sentiment during pivotal events. For example, a drop in sentiment significantly following crash investigations that spotlighted safety lapses. We can use this same method to take a broader perspective, examining Boeing’s reputation over time. 

For the period of Q2 2022 to Q2 2024, this modest correlation of 0.1312 suggests that while media visibility has a measurable impact on Boeing’s market valuation, the influence is subtle. The presence of a positive correlation indicates that increases in media mentions can correlate with slight increases in share prices, highlighting the importance of strategic media engagement. For Boeing, understanding this relationship is critical for developing communication strategies that leverage media coverage to positively influence investor perceptions and financial outcomes. 

Though the overall correlation score is positive, indicating a general alignment between media mentions and Boeing’s share price, it’s imperative to recognise that this score is subject to annual fluctuations influenced by many external factors. 

However, in this context, media mentions can accelerate the impact on the share price. For instance, when the company takes positive actions, such as successful product launches or favourable earnings reports, media coverage can amplify these events, leading to a more pronounced increase in share price. This magnification effect means that media mentions can reflect and enhance the public’s and investors’ response to a company’s performance. However, the converse is also true; negative media can exacerbate the impact of adverse events on share prices. Therefore, it is crucial for corporate strategies to consider the amplifying role of media in shaping investor perception and, consequently, stock performance. 

Long-term Impacts on Brand Reputation

If the investigations and accusations in the article prove that Boeing has been neglectful, it’s likely that this will have a long-term negative impact on Boeing’s reputation and sentiment in the media sphere and among consumers. This could lead to ongoing negative media coverage, eroding passenger confidence and prompting airlines to reconsider their fleet choices. In the long run, Boeing may face decreased sales, increased operational costs for mandatory inspections and repairs, and a challenging journey to rebuild trust and credibility within the industry and with the public.

Whether Boeing can recover from these setbacks or if the damage to its brand reputation is irreparable, historical data from other brands that have faced similar crises suggest that recovery is possible but requires substantial strategic realignment. For Boeing, this might mean overhauling its safety protocols, transparency measures, and, most importantly, its corporate governance structure. 

The Role of Continuous Monitoring

To understand and mitigate long-term reputational impacts, firms need to continuously monitor brand sentiment and media coverage, leveraging those insights in their strategies. Near real-time analytics tools can identify public sentiment recovery and the effectiveness of strategies, as seen with Boeing’s efforts to regain trust. 

These metrics highlight the importance of vigilant reputation management. Managing a brand’s image during crises and sustaining efforts when the brand is viewed favourably is crucial. A robust reputation is arduous to build but can be easily tarnished. 

Continuous monitoring of brand sentiments is essential in maintaining a company’s reputation. In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, real-time sentiment analysis allows firms to respond proactively rather than reactively. By constantly gauging brand perception, companies can address potential issues before they escalate, ensuring a resilient and trustworthy brand image. Insights from ongoing monitoring inform strategic decisions, refining messaging and improving customer engagement.  

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