Crisis, a situation each and every person, no matter how rich or poor, faces in the lives each and every day. to understand crisis, it can be called a threat to an organization or onto a personality. it can also be an element of surprise that adds enough twist to make our lives a rollercoaster ride. Crisis is the red alert that we are in trouble.. from a missing file at home to running late for meetings to security breach in the company’s confidential files and showing it to the public to spreading nasty rumors, everything is crisis. So when we have a crisis we also need to have someone to manage it before it blows out of proportion. That is where our public relation officers come into scenario. The most basic example of crisis managers for better understanding are mothers. But in a large organization we need more than just moms to deal with red alerts.
Crisis managers or PR crisis managers are not called upon only when there is crisis at hand. Sometimes to thwart away a future threat or mishap, the PR team is also called on board, crisis management doesn’t just involve a press meet or press release by the head honchos of the company to the media and outside world. It involves strategic planning with the PR team on how to go about in dealing with the problem with the passage of time. The PRO’s are the lifeboats at the time of crisis. Below are some disasters that was handled brilliantly by the management.Johnson & Johnson’s cyanide-laced Tylenol capsules (1982)
The crisis: Death of seven after taking extra-strength Tylenol capsules containing potassium cyanide, a deadly poison. The killer was never found.
How J&J responded: The company put customer safety first. 31 million bottles of Tylenol — $100 million worth were pulled off the shelves and all production and advertising of the product was ceased. Chicago Police, FBI, and FDA were involved in the search for the killer, $100,000 reward was offered for the killers capture.Post-crisis, the company reintroduced Tylenol with new tamper-resistant packaging and $2.50-off coupons.
PepsiCo’s can tampering rumors (1993)
The crisis: A syringe was allegedly found in a can of Diet Pepsi in Washington state. The following week, more than 50 reports of Diet Pepsi can tampering sprung up across the country which turned out to be a hoax.
How PepsiCo responded: Both the company PepsiCo and the FDA were confident that the reports were fabrications, so the company came out hard, defending itself staunchly against the accusations.But PepsiCo didn’t make vague statements telling the public to simply trust it. The company produced four videos throughout the crisis, such as a comprehensive report on its soda canning process. The most compelling was a surveillance tape of a woman in a Colorado store putting a syringe into a can of Diet Pepsi behind the store clerk’s back.