Johnson& Johnson Crises Communication
Johnson& Johnson Crises Communication
Crisismanagement is a critical organizational function that needs to befundamentally considered by any company that needs to realize success(Coombs, 2007). Consequently, failure in proper crisis management canresult in a fatal harm to the stakeholders, losses to for anorganization and can even terminate its existence. As such, publicrelations practitioners are an integral part of crisis management. Inthis regard, these practitioners need to be well versed in qualityways of handling a crisis in case it befalls an organization (Coombs,2007). As a result, a set of best practices and lessons gleaned fromknowledge of crisis management would be a very useful resource tothis team. Over the past years volumes have been written about crisismanagement by both practitioners and many researchers from manydisciplines making it a challenge to synthesize between what we knowabout crisis management and their findings. As such, crisis can bedefined as a significant threat to operations that can result innegative consequences if not properly handled (Stewart & Paine,2015). In the organization context, a crisis can result from poormanagement or low standard production resulting from squanderingfinance set for production. Essentially, crisis can create threerelated threats public safety, financial loss and reputation loss(Coombs, 2007). As a result a crisis in an organization is a criticalaspect that needs to be handled properly. Consequently, thecommunication strategy chosen by the company need to be valid andtimely to avoid more damage to the consumers and other stakeholdersof the company products (Johnson & Peppas, 2014). As a result,Johnson & Johnson product recall crises provides strategies thatcan be considered by some organizations in handling crises when theybefall them. As such this paper seeks to broadly discuss the threestrategies suggested by Johnson & Johnson Crises Communicationand its implications for crisis management in various organizations.
Inresponse to the 2011 Johnson & Johnson product recall crises, thecompany did not make an instant public announcement to warn peoplenot to consume the products and instead it tried to conceal theproblem by recalling its products from the market secretly, whichaffects the company’s reputation because according to Coombs: “Themedia relations element of public relations is a highly valued skillin crisis management.” (Coombs, 2007).Consequently, the company avoided the role played by the media in thecommunication aspect. As such the general public avoided using theproducts from the company due to its act of secretly recalling itsproducts from the consumers (Gerbner,2015). Essentially, the communication organization of the company failed intimely communication leading to the late discovery of the problem(Johnson & Peppas, 2014). Consequently, the public reputation ofthe company reduced drastically leading to its failure. As suchJohnson & Johnson gives proper advice to companies to ensure thatthe communication channels are properly set to aid in timelycommunication (Coombs, 2007). In effect, an organization needs tocreate a separate web site for crisis or designate a section of itscurrent web site for the crisis. Evidently, Taylor and Kent’s(2011) research finds that having a crisis website is a best practicefor using the internet during a crisis. This web site shallsignificantly lay out the necessary information to the general publicabout the current crisis in an organization (Eddy, 2014). As aresult, the company’s reputation shall not be lost since thedetails leading to faulty in the product production shall be laid outand the necessary actions to cum future failures stipulated.
Johnson& Johnson recalled the products from lotion manufacturing companydue to contamination claims of around 2,200 bottles (Agres, 2010). The products had been supplied to various markets. In response tothis recall, the Public Relations and Marketing teams through variouscampaigns were orchestrated by the company to determine theperception of the people about the recall (Coombs, 2007). Theorganization rather than communicating and warning the general publicabout the effects of using the baby lotion products it concealed theinformation and secretly researched the general public opinion aboutthe Johnson & Johnson recall on their products. As such thecompany failed in crises communication about the contaminatedproducts. Essentially, the company needed to come up with a crisismanagement team that would have communicated about the contaminated2200 baby lotion products (Ahluwalia et al., 2014). Barton (2011)identifies the common members of the crisis team as public relations,legal, security, operations, finance and human resources.Consequently, a combination of these groups could properlycommunicate the contamination aspect just after the recallannouncement. A team formed out of this groups basing on the natureof the crisis shall ensure timely communication of the identifiedproblem to the general public. Additionally, the cause of the problemshall be identified, and the manufacturing team is cautioned againstrepeating the problem in the future (Johnson & Peppas, 2014). Thecrisis management team needs to receive appropriate training on howto face the public and talk about the crisis in the company. Mitroffet al. (2014) emphasize the importance of training in order toenhance the team with quality decision-making skills about thecurrent crisis to enable a successful solution that maintains thepublic reputation of the company. Essentially, the strategy taken bythis company was wrong since the proper crisis communication channelswere not used. The future products from the company shall not betrusted by the public as good after the crisis that befallen them(Stewart & Paine, 2015).
Gatheringthe necessary facts about a recall is a vital strategy to be taken bya company in managing a crisis (Stewart & Paine, 2015). Johnson &Johnson recalls received a critic in the media by most companies asbecoming a buzz. In response to this claim, Johnson & Johnsonurged most of the companies to gather enough facts and evidence abouta crisis before acting on them (Coombs, 2007). As such, manycompanies fail to gather enough evidence and the facts behind therecall of their products before secretly complaining or concealingthe information not to reach the general public (Ahluwalia et al.,2014). Essentially, a complaint form needs to be set aside by thecompany for recall claims. The form has to be filed by the consumersof the products from the company. The changes noted from the productshave to be the guiding facts to the company to handle the crisis. Forinstance, on December 17, 2010 a Verified Amended ShareholderDerivative Complaint against nominal defendant and the Johnson wasfilled by the consumers in one of the districts in the United States(Stewart & Paine, 2015). The form provided the accused companywith the necessary facts about their products and the reasons whythey were recalled. Therefore, companies need first to gather thenecessary information about a crisis before deciding to act on it.Consequently, this shall save the company from losing the publicreputation and after solving the crisis the company shall be able tocontinue selling its products normally (Stewart & Paine, 2015).
Conclusively,it is difficult to distil all that is known about communicationcrisis into one concise entry. However, the above-discussedstrategies are some of the practices and lessons that need to beconsidered by various companies when handling a crisis if there is aneed to maintain the company’s reputation. As such, timelycommunication, gathering essential facts about the crisis andformation of a crisis team are some of the aspects that need to beused by most companies in solving the crisis. Proper implementationof these strategies shall maintain the proper reputation of thecompany to the general public even during the crisis.
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