Many large companies have developed "disaster plans" for responding to crisis situations. These typically include plans for evacuations and cleanup, policies for public relations, and strategies to protect the company from legal action. The management field is directing increasing attention to crisis response and the importance of planning.
Following a corporate scandal, managers who acknowledge they have problems and launch communication programs to repair their tarnished reputations stand the best chance of rehabilitating a tainted brand or corporate image
Once the connection was made between the Tylenol capsules and the reported deaths, public announcements were made warning people about the consumption of the product. Johnson & Johnson was faced with the dilemma of the best way to deal with the problem without destroying the reputation of the company and its most profitable product.
Tylenol, the then leading U.S. pain-killing medicine, faced a catastrophic crisis when seven people in Chicago were reported dead after taking extra-strength Tylenol capsules.
It was reported that an unknown suspect put 65 milligrams of deadly cyanide into Tylenol capsules, 10,000 times more than what is necessary to kill a human. Tylenol was generally credited with dealing with the problem in a textbook-like manner and was applauded for taking the necessary proactive steps to do the right thing and save the product.
Internal and External Publics
The target audiences (internal and external publics) in this crisis management campaign included Johnson & Johnson employee's neighbors, consumers, customers, stockholders, the media, and suppliers.
Although Johnson & Johnson knew they were not responsible for the tampering of the product, they assumed responsibility by ensuring public safety first and recalled all of their capsules from the market. In fact, in February of 1986, when a woman was reported dead from cyanide poisoning in Tylenol capsules, Johnson & Johnson permanently removed...