Auto giant Toyota has endured a tough few years during which it dealt with product recalls, the aftermath of the tsunami in Japan in 2011, and its first annual net loss in 60 years in 2009.
It must have been particularly gratifying in January, therefore, when Toyota reclaimed its crown as the largest automaker in the world from rival General Motors. It sold 9.75 million vehicles in 2012, so despite GM posting an impressive leap itself to sales of 9.29 million, Toyota reaped the benefits particularly of a 27% increase in US sales – its best year here since before the recession, in 2008.
Toyota is Japanese-owned but has strong roots in the US, providing 37,000 jobs to workers in plants and operations throughout North America. The company regained its mojo through a mixture of storytelling, customer service, social engagement, and recognizing staff as its number one advocacy group.
Toyota tells its story of a reaffirmation to quality products, responsive customer service, and committed employee engagement. This resonated with the American consumer, which in turn drove global sales.
It's a prime example of a modern corporation using communications and marketing to supercharge business, and you can find out exactly how Toyota did it from page 30 to 36 of this issue.
Another global company that went through incredible torment and rebuilt itself is Cantor Fitzgerald, which lost 658 of its people in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City. Our Newsmaker profile of its global marcomms leader Robert Hubbell emphasizes the value of team culture in building an effective communications strategy.
It's a sign that if you put your people first, great things can follow.