It’s a balance keeping existing customers and clients interested and committed while at the same time gaining new clients or customers.
Take a look at Proctor & Gamble and their Tide Pods. Several years ago, P&G launched the Tide pods with beautiful eye-catching colors, wonderful smells in squishy little laundry soap squares that made a large percentage of the public fall in love with doing laundry again! Well, maybe I went a little far with that statement, but there was an impressive 30%+ gain in their market share.
But not so fast! Take a squishy little square with bright and happy colors and you have a child’s toy! Some of you may remember the horrible stories in the news about children eating the product and other related problems. Tide wasted no time and immediately took action. This was public relations crisis management at its best! Due to their effective approach to the problem, the child-related accidental deaths were reduced by 40%.
And just when P&G thought they were making positive strides with reducing the problem with children, in come the teenagers! You may have heard that some of our teens have found a sick game of ingesting the pods in a form of ‘truth or dare/die’. A 2018 report from the American Association of Poison Control Centers reports an increase from 39 cases of deliberate ingestion of pods in 2017 to 39 in 2018, already!
How did P&G address this second consumer-generated brand crisis? With their prior efforts pushed aside, P&G is putting pressure on YouTube to shut down the “Pod Challenge” videos, produced their own YouTube safety messages and has stepped up their efforts to monitor other teen-popular social sites. I completely respect how P&G and their CEO, David Taylor, are handling their current crisis.
I urge businessmen and businesswomen to learn best practices for your product and/or service and make it a point to discuss your crisis communication plan with your co-workers. As you can see by what I wrote above, worst-case scenarios do happen. If your company doesn’t have a current crisis plan, create one! And if you don’t know where to start or need assistance, call Quillin. We offer professional crisis communication strategies and plans.
Whatever you do, don’t wait and hope it all comes out in the wash. It won’t.