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Be A Good Egg in a Crisis

TODAY’S BUZZ TIP | September 8, 2009

We’ve been focusing on how to get good press and rightly so as that’s the kind we all want.  But, how about if your company becomes the target of negative press?  What if one of your products is recalled?  You are sued by a customer or accused of bad business practices? What do you do?  Well, the answer is to be prepared for these scenarios ahead of time with a well thought out crisis plan.

There are firms that have whole departments dedicated to crisis communications.  The classic case study for the best way to handle a crisis is the way the makers of Tylenol, Johnson & Johnson, handled theirs back in the 80s.  When 7 people died of cyanide-laced Tylenol, they immediately sprung into action, pulling the medicine from shelves and holding a press conference.  They owned up to it, were honest and ensured public safety by removing the product from the shelves.  There’s alot more that they did but this is the gist of it.  They have since continually been held up as the gold standard of how to handle a crisis.  And in a crisis, honesty is the best policy.

So the first step in a crisis is to be honest and cooperative.  Being uncooperative with the press and dishonest with your customers and the public will have major repercussions including damaging your business’ reputation, standing in the community, and credibility with your customers and employees.

This is a heady topic and worthy of a full week of Buzz Tips so stay tuned.

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