How this crisis can be turned into an opportunity for the organization?
In the fall of 1986 a Consumer Products company, was confronted with a crisis when sevenpeople died furtively. Authorities resolute that each of the people that died had ingested anExtra-Strength Tylenol capsule laced with cyanide. The news of this incident traveled quicklyand was the cause of a massive, nationwide panic. These poisonings made it necessary for thecompany to launch a public relations program immediately, in order to save the integrity ofboth their product and their corporation as a whole.The tainted Tylenol capsules were from four different manufacturing lots. Evidence suggeststhat the pills were taken from different stores over a period of weeks or months. The bottles,some of which had five or less cyanide laced capsules and one which had ten, were tamperedwith and then placed back on the shelves of five different stores.After this crisis, the company was faced with quite a dilemma. They needed to find the bestway to deal with the tampering, without destroying the reputation of their company and theirmost profitable product, Tylenol. "I don't think they can ever sell another product under thatname," advertising genius Jerry Della Femina told the New York Times in the first daysfollowing the crisis.
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In a case like this, the only real way that a firm can turn a crisis into an opportunity is by positioning itself as a responsible corporate citizen and a pioneer in the prevention of similar crises. This is one of the strategies that the Johnson & Johnson company pursued.
The company did not waste any time trying to assign blame or trying to ignore the problem. It recalled all of its Tylenol around the whole country, even at great expense. This made it look like the company was concerned only about its customers.
After that, the company came out as a leader in prevention of similar crises. It became the first company to adopt the FDA's standards for tamper-resistant packaging. By doing these things, it was able to position itself as a leader in product safety.
This was still not a good thing for the company, but it managed to rebound in part because of the good corporate image it projected in dealing with the crisis.
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