Showing posts with label PCA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PCA. Show all posts

Thursday, December 31

Recognizing Reader Picks: Top Posts Of 2009

With the new year upon us tomorrow, we would like to say goodbye to 2009 with a recap of this blog's five most popular communication-related posts, based on the frequency and the immediacy of reader views after posting.

"What Would You Do If You Weren't Afraid?"

It is probably no surprise that our call for business leaders and government officials to change their communication struck a chord with consumers and communicators. After all, if we were to pick one word to summarize a common theme in 2009, it would be fear.

The message behind the post, which was part of a three-post series, was simple: if you want real change, you need hope over helplessness. And since most "leaders" seemed to struggle with the concept, we advised our friends and readers to ignore them and set out to find their own cheese. We're glad some people did because our government continues to push fear.

Related Labels: Psychology, Economy, Leadership

The Candy Gamble That Didn't Pay Off

For all the buzz-up Skittles earned in early March, nobody is really talking about the rainbow colored candies anymore. After the initial drunken rush of excitement generated by a Skittles experiment that turned its Web site into a collection of social media streams written by consumers, most people woke up with a hangover.

Within 48 hours, 44 percent of the public was left with a negative impression of the candy for trying too hard to be "cool" and eventually demonstrating it and the agency behind it were really clueless about social media. Effective branding, marketing, and social media require much more work than simply "turning over" a brand to consumers.

Related Labels: Skittles, Social Media

Communication Measurement For A Return On Investment

With so many conversations revolving around about how to measure a return on investment for social media and communication in general, we decided to share a formula that we've put into practice in order to measure a return on communication.

[(B • I) (m+s • r)/d] / [O/(b + t + e)] = ROC

Since January, more than 10,000 people downloaded the abstract from our Web site. And, after the initial post, the ROC series that followed remains one of the most popular published here.

Related Labels: ROC, Strategic Communication

Peanut Corporation of America Poisons Public Relations

The Peanut Corporation of America's handling of public relations after causing a salmonella outbreak will forever be remembered as one of the worst crisis communication scenarios in history. For almost three months, the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) tried to spin its way out of any responsibility for contaminating as many as 2,100 peanut butter products.

The crisis eventually ended with the company filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, after the FDA and several investigations finally concluded that the PCA acted with gross negligence and was responsible for sickening over 600 people in 44 states and Canada. The contaminants were also linked to nine deaths.

Related Labels: PCA, Crisis Communication

How Publicity, Public Relations, Social Media, Marketing, And Advertising View Publics

Published in two parts, we presented a model of how publicity, public relations, and social media and then marketing and advertising tend to view their publics. Both posts seemed to hit a home run in pinpointing why there are varied views on how to approach social media.

We remain vigilant in our belief that social media is best viewed as a new environment that deserves an integrated methodology incorporating all means of communication. From our viewpoint, integrated communication seems to be the best source to develop effective methodologies.

Related Labels: Social Media, Public Relations, Advertising

Five additional topics that came close in 2009

Where Edleman PR sometimes misses on the finer points.
• How spontaneous online debates can sometimes trip up experts.
• A satirical view covering everything silly in social media.
The ugly truth about some online consumer reviews.
How to demonstrate authenticity without actually saying it.

When I first started this blog in 2005, I used to lament that the biggest mistakes always seemed to overshadow the best practices. That seemed to change in 2008 as we accomplished a healthy mix of both. This year, communication models and theories have helped provide a better blend of communication-related topics. It makes 2010 seem even more promising.

In closing out 2009, I would like to extend a very special thanks to everyone who joined the conversation on this blog or across any number of social networks where the discussion tends to take place more frequently than in the comment section.

If you are one of the 3,500 subscribers or someone who visits on an occasional basis, I cannot thank you enough for making 2009 one of the best yet. It makes a difference to me, it's appreciated, and I'm grateful for having crossed paths with so many people online and in person.

Tuesday, February 24

Closing Case Studies: Peanut Corporation Of America

Two weeks ago, Peanut Corporation of America, which was the source of a national salmonella outbreak, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Virginia.

The decision to file bankruptcy is clearly stated to limit the company's ability to take any actions regarding recalled products that were shipped from its Georgia and Texas plants. It has advised that it is no longer able to communicate with customers of recalled products, and the previous instruction for customers to contact PCA is no longer applicable.

To date, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recalled 2,100 products in 17 categories by more than 200 companies. The list continues to grow.

The FDA has released several communication materials to help consumers make sense of the outbreak, including an video of how outbreaks outbreak occurred and PDF documents that illustrate the distribution process and investigation timeline.

How Reputation Mismanagement and Bad Communication Can Kill

The FDA and several investigations seem to indicate that the PCA acted with gross negligence that is responsible for sickening over 600 in 44 states and Canada, linked to nine deaths, resulted in thousands of recalls, and caused the business failure of at least one company.

While it remains the argument of many that Stewart Parnell, owner and president of PCA, placed profits before public safety, there are still valuable lessons to learn for public relations professionals and communicators. You don't have to lie.

Show me a PR person who is "accurate" and "truthful," and I'll show you a PR person who is unemployed. — Andrew Cohen

While the public relations industry took exception to Cohen's comments last year, there is some truth to be found in his harshness. Some public relations practitioners help companies turn frowns upside down, attempting to put the very best light on the very worst situations. We might see it over, and over, and over again, but it's not the job. So what is the job?

Reinforce Core Values. A smart public relations professional or communicator could have reinforced the core values of the company, making employees aware that consistent quality, safety, and dependability was the priority not just in marketing materials but in action.

• Advise On Reputation Management. A skilled public relations professional or communicator could have outlined the considerable risk of reputation damage if the company continued to maintain substandard safety practices.

Turn Whistleblower. An ethical public relations professional or communicator could have reinforced public safety as a critical component to plant operations and communication, including their responsibility to report transgressions.

Manage The Crisis. A seasoned crisis communication professional or communicator could have outlined a proper course of action for the company, assuming the contamination was in fact an accidental occurrence and not an orchestrated event.

Prioritize Communication. An experienced public relations professional or communicator could have prioritized the communication, advising a deeper than needed stop shipment and recall. The second priority would have been to demonstrate (not state) empathy to those affected and accept responsibility as warranted, including any wrongful deaths.

Avoid Marketing Messages. A vigilant public relations professional or communicator could have ensured any statements made to the public were devoid of marketing messages until evidence concluded the contamination was an isolated incident.

Keep Communication Open. An attentive public relations professional or communicator could have kept communication open, honest, and candid throughout the crisis, even if they were not the designated spokesperson, making minute-to-minute recommendations to the executive team to avoid disaster.

So why didn't any of this happen? I've spoken to enough recruiters and public relations firms to know that most consider the skill sets necessary to perform any of these tasks secondary to the size of a person's e-mail list and perceived relationships as an extension of marketing. As long as that remains the priority, companies will continually find themselves in the kill zone when their reputation is on the line because the most common answer out of the mouths of Rolodex keepers is to spin it away.

The longer you work in communication, the more likely you will learn that it's hard enough to tell the truth and be believed. Do you know what I think? If you lie to the public, you're not in public relations. You're in the urban dictionary.

Peanut Corporation of America. Case closed. And the company too.

Three public relations related posts:

Communication Overtones: Is PR paid to lie?

Sane PR: 60.3% of Britons Believe PR Officers Lie

Silicon Alley Insider: Top ten lies PR agencies tell their clients

Tuesday, February 10

Spinning Salmonella: Peanut Corporation of America

"PCA is second to nobody in its desire to know all the facts, and our team is working day and night to recall affected products and to complete its investigation." — Peanut Corporation of America

With the FBI issuing search warrants to assist the FDA in its ongoing investigation of the Peanut Corporation of America's (PCA) plant in Blakely, Ga., and corporate headquarters in Lynchburg, Va., it seems everyone wants to know the facts well ahead of "nobody."

Recently, the Associated Press reported that federal officials say the PCA knowingly shipped salmonella-laced products from its Georgia plant even after tests confirmed the contamination. Since federal law forbids producing or shipping foods that could be harmful to the public health, it also seems there will be charges.

Specifically, the FDA believes that the plant sold peanuts that tested positive for salmonella before receiving the second test and even after confirming salmonella was present. This is no longer a crisis communication case study as much as it seems to be a criminal investigation. Period.

How botched crisis communication is often indicative of cover up.

Some public relations specialists might be tempted to spin, but there is only one right answer when public safety is concerned. Tell the client or employer to come clean, immediately, with full disclosure and complete transparency. If they refuse, inform them that you are obligated to go forward without them.

We saw a similar case study unfold in the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada last year. The communication failed because there was only one thing to communicate — the bad practices were done, knowingly unsafe, in order to cut costs. In fact, the same might be said to Dr. Dipak Desai's attorneys. They claim Desai cannot testify after suffering two strokes. His inability to testify is still in question. Get it over with already.

While it is too early to say that the PCA operated with an equal and complete disregard for public health, the FDA is clearly moving in that direction. Even more interesting to us, the communication breakdown of both the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada and PCA are surprisingly similar.

Ten similarities between the crisis communication breakdown at the Peanut Corporation of America and Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada.

• At the onset, both owners aggressively defended their operations, claiming that every safety precaution was taken.
• Neither expressed remorse, regret, or empathy despite unsafe practices (until someone told them to express empathy).
• Both regretted having to take action, but did not express any regret for their responsibility in harming others.
• After new evidence surfaced that demonstrated it was an ongoing practice, virtually all communication was cut off.
• There was virtually no communication with employees as they were laid off; former employees then came forward.
• Neither offered any compensation for those affected by their negligence, which, in this case, included deaths.
• Neither expressed any desire to compensate anyone for pain, suffering, and anguish at being put in harm’s way.
• Neither would pledge that they and their management team would never work in the profession again.
• Both continually reinforced not everyone was affected, even when it meant neglecting those who were.
• Both attempted to draw out the investigations as long as possible; and both resisted while claiming cooperation.

While it is too soon to call this case over as criminal charges have yet to be filed (although it seems likely there will be charges), Stewart Parnell, PCA president, could likely join those who put pennies before public safety. And even if he does not, his peanut days are done. The PCA and its various direct-to-consumer brands have crashed.

It happened fast, but not over night. Like all brand failures, they usually erode one shaky step at a time.

Tuesday, February 3

Bracing For Aftershocks: Peanuts Cause Reactionary Communication

The epicenter of the salmonella epidemic may have originated at a Georgia processing plant owned by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), but continuing aftershocks will be felt by everyone. To date, it is linked to as many as 529 sicknesses, eight deaths, and 430 product recalls.

While new salmonella cases seem to be subsiding, public outcry continues to be on the rise. With each new aftershock, an exponentially increasing segment of the agricultural industry may be impacted. It's true. What started out as one bad processor practice is quickly escalating to encompass everything as reactionary communication becomes the new normal.

Peanut Corporation of America

After several weeks of mishandling a non-existent crisis communication plan, PCA seems to be working toward ending a self-imposed communication blackout imposed after the criminal investigation began. The Web site now offers a media inquiry number. The decision to provide a number comes after the PCA was likely prompted by what happens when reporters are provided no contact. They start speaking to everyone else.

Yesterday, the Associated Press ran a story with several quotes from former employees. One account describes managers as so concerned with the bottom line that they would allow soggy peanuts and five- or six-year-old peanuts onto the production line. Today, the Associated Press learned that the PCA processing plant in Plainview, Texas, has operated uninspected and unlicensed for years. The plant manager pushed off the communication on the corporation, where he said he sent the paperwork more than a year ago.

Lesson: Once you commit to communicate as the PCA had done, albeit unprepared, you have to remain committed.

King Nut Companies

A few weeks prior to the crisis, Kanan Enterprises, which owns King Nut and Peterson Nut Companies, was celebrating that Matthew Kanan, executive vice president of sales and marketing, was awarded one of the top 40 executives under the age of 40 in Cleveland by Crain’s Business Magazine. Today, it's fighting for its life with increasingly aggressive messages.

King Nut was originally cited as the possible source of the epidemic by the Minnesota Department of Health before the company revealed it did not manufacture its own label. On Jan. 29, the company sent a release expressing "shock and dismay at findings that report the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) knowingly released a product with potential salmonella contamination into the food supply, as released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)."

While the company distributed products under the assumption that the required safety certification was accurate and cooperated with authorities to locate the source, the message of being "only a distributor" is likely to deliver mixed results because at least some of the products carried the King Nut label. Unlike companies that received peanut ingredients or distributors who solely distribute, King Nut took on the appearance of a manufacturer by offering its own label.

Lesson: Never put your name to another person's work until you have verified the quality.

U.S. Food And Drug Administration

The U.S. Food And Drug Administration has released a recall widget to help all interested parties keep the public ahead of the curve. Since the beginning of the epidemic, it has taken a no nonsense approach in its investigation into one of the largest food recalls in history.

However, it seems investigators are not exempt from contempt. U.S. President Barack Obama said this morning he is ordering a “complete review” of the Food and Drug Administration after it failed to detect shipments of salmonella-contaminated peanut products. The Consumers Union shares the President's view.

Lesson: Don't bark too loud at the fox who ate the chicken if you were the dog responsible for the hen house.

Kellogg's And Those With Recalls

Given how many companies facing recalls made missteps (with Jenny Craig among the worst), we decided to focus on one company that is providing a near perfect model. Kellogg's was among the first to place a hold on its products and first to issue a recall.

It immediately built a recall page that addresses the situation in a non-accusatory manner, preferring to focus on providing customers the information they need, including an FAQ that covers what to do, where to seek more information, and who to contact at the company. All of the information provided is right to the point, with an emphasis on proving facts and information on consumer safety. On the rare occasion the company did offer a quote, it was were clear, empathetic, customer focused, and direct from the company president.

Lesson for everyone else: If your communication team doesn't know what it is doing, consider what the best did.

The J. M. Smucker Company And Those Without Recalls

Never underestimate the impact of a crisis. After the FDA issued a video statement that correctly stated to err on the side of caution and not eat peanut products unless you know the source, many consumers stopped buying peanut products all together, dragging companies that were not affected into the crisis.

The J. M. Smucker Company is one of several that immediately took action to ensure customers that its products are safe because it does not purchase any ingredients from Peanut Corporation of America. In addition to pop-up announcement, J. M. Smucker Company provides a link that includes all of its brands as well as a customer service number. In addition to being smart, the announcement remains balanced, devoid of any marketing messages.

Ironically, we visited several company Web sites with recalls and, unless you look in the press section, you'd never know it.

Lesson for everyone else: You don't have to be part of a crisis to be part of a crisis. Manage only what impacts you.

American Peanut Council

Ever since the American Peanut Council issued the harshest albeit correct language in a statement released on Jan. 29, it continues to draw attention. Some companies are even including Archer's quotes in their own news releases.

“This is a clear and unconscionable act by one manufacturer,” said said Patrick Archer, president of the American Peanut Council. “This act is not by any means representative of the excellent food safety practices and procedures of the U.S. peanut

The Peanut Council may not be at the heart of the crisis, but it knows it will be charged with helping clean up the mess. In addition to attempting to help association members by publishing a list of brands NOT impacted by the recall, The Peanut Council will likely face an uphill battle fending off reactionary legislation. Ironically, its communication added even more fuel to the blaze.

Lesson: Never add fuel to a fire that your industry will eventually expect you to put out.

Reactionary Communication is Not Communication.

As these aftershocks continue to rattle the nation, it might be time for someone to lend a voice of reason. If someone does not, reactionary legislation and regulations will likely impact the entire agricultural industry, all for the actions of one irresponsible company. And that could bad for all of us.

Saturday, January 31

Breaking Pride: Peanut Corporation Of America

The day before federal health officials began a criminal investigation into the actions of the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), Beth Falwell, daughter of PCA founder Hugh Parnell, in an ill-advised exclusive interview spoke to a local station, asking for understanding and the benefit of the doubt.

Federal investigators says PCA shipped out peanut products that had tested positive for salmonella at least 12 times during the past two years. The FDA says PCA shipped each out after retesting with a different laboratory. The interview reveals two messages from Falwell. One is a distraught family member, obviously concerned for the family company that is not likely to survive the crisis. The other is more defiant, claiming that the FDA investigation is exaggerated.

“Right now it’s not a law, maybe it should be. But he didn’t break any laws,“ Falwell said.

On Thursday, we revealed how the PCA had emphasized safety, quality, and freshness of product. However, even Falwell could not deny any allegation of cockroaches in the plant, a leaky roof, or the presence of mold. "I'm not saying there weren't," she said.

Based on the interview alone, it's extremely clear that the Peanut Corporation of America doesn't have a crisis communication team in place. While we pointed to a breakdown of the first step — situation analysis — in the crisis communication process, it seems the communication matches the operations, with extreme negligence. Not once, that we are aware of, had the company expressed any empathy or remorse for those afflicted until the criminal investigation was launched (see the newest statement).

In addition, we recently stumbled onto evidence that this is not the first time the plant has had to recall product due to improper and unsafe operations at its plant in Gorman, Texas, which is now closed. Although the report dates back to the 1990s, the Peanut Corporation of America recalled thousands of pounds of product because they exceeded the FDA's established tolerance level for aflatoxin. Aflatoxins, a fungus, are toxic and among the most carcinogenic substances known.

While manufacturers and processors have recalls from time to time for any number of reasons, the report stands out because mold was one of the many problems that the FDA noted during this inspection and, for years, the company has claimed "providing a quality product at a fair cost has been the credence our business has grown up with for the past 28 years." Incidentally, the family did not own the company between 1995 and 2000 (they sold the company, and bought it back).

Thursday, January 29

Clashing Communication: Peanut Corporation of America

The Web site of the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has named the source of the salmonella typhimurium epidemic, is radically changed.

A few weeks ago, the PCA site read much like any site. Although dated, top news items included the opening of a new peanut blanching and granulating facility in Plainview, Texas; a message from Stewart Parnell, president, who expressed that quality and freshness of product are what bring our customers back; and a 2004 “Superior” rating from the A.I.B. (American Institute of Baking) audit at a balancing facility that praised the quality control manager for taking food safety seriously.

At Peanut Corporation of America, we know we need to shine so that you and your customers can be assured of consistent quality, safety, and dependability when you allow us to process your peanuts.

Unfortunately, just as the site experienced its largest and only traffic spike for the wrong reasons, all of that information has been replaced by the Peanut Corporation of America Media Page (illustrated above). The oldest item, entitled "Peanut Corporation of America Announces Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Peanut Butter," ends with: The company prides itself on the quality and freshness of its products and strives constantly to maintain an environment in compliance with federal, state and local regulations and guidelines to provide a clean, safe product.

The newest item, as of Jan. 28, includes a "Statement by the Parnell Family and Peanut Corporation of America (PCA)." The heavy-handed response "categorically denies any allegations that the Company sought favorable results from any lab in order to ship its products."

The statement comes after a flurry of condemning news stories based on the release of a document that lists observations made by FDA representatives. The report details that some lots of peanut butter had tested positive for various salmonella strains. The firm then retested the lots and received a negative status. This occurred several times since as far back as June 2007.

According to the FDA report, the possible cause is that the company had "not established the effectiveness temperature, volume, or belt speed specific to this roster to assure it is adequate as a kill step for pathogenic bacteria." Additional observations included: failure to maintain equipment to protect against contamination, failure to store food under conditions to protect against contamination, and environmental swabs at the facility revealed several areas tested positive for salmonella strains.

Why The Crisis Communication Process Of The PCA Places The Company In Jeopardy.

Since the beginning, the PCA has embraced the classic step-by-step response to the crisis when a step-by-step crisis communication plan did not meet the situation. The result is that the PCA is in a much more critical position that may not be recoverable even upon the insistence that the FD-483 documents “… do not represent a final Agency determination regarding [your] compliance." As soon as that statement was posted, the only analogy that fit was "runaway train."

While the PCA branding efforts had already placed it at considerable risk under the rules of our fragile brand theory, the real breakdown seems to have occurred at the very beginning, during the situation analysis portion of the crisis communication process. Situation analysis requires an unsympathetic internal review of the facts to determine the communication.

A seasoned crisis communicator might have asked the right questions. In this case, they seem all too apparent.

• What happened? A quick assessment of what seems to be occurring on the forefront establishes the context of the communication. At the PCA, the context, simply put, is that they seemed to be the source of salmonella typhimurium epidemic.

• What is the truth? Asking what happened is not enough. Having been part of several crisis communication situations, the very next question is "what is the truth?" Or, in the case of the PCA, it might have been asked differently. Someone needed to ask "were we negligent in our operations and did we do everything we could do to avoid this as we have continually pledged to our customers?"

• What evidence will support or distract from this truth? While it seems unlikely the PCA could have beat the FDA inspectors in discovering every observation, several items in the report could have been discovered first. While the crisis communication team was drafting non-committed but empathetic recall statement, an investigation could have already been underway.

• Despite personal feelings, what do these findings mean? Often times in crisis communication, perception will overshadow any facts. Simply put, it doesn't matter what the FDA concludes. Observations made by the FDA have concluded a severe breach of safety standards that the company had committed to and reinforced in virtually every piece of communication, including the first recall statement. The perception of evidence needed to be determined, and perhaps isolated to specific events, in the situation analysis phase.

• Never hazard a guess. Considering most crisis communication processes have to be executed within hours if not minutes, it is not feasible to assume that all the facts will be gathered. Under any circumstances, do not guess. When Parnell included that the safety of consumers is a priority in his first statement, it was possibly a guess. While it does not excuse the plant from wrongdoing, the question he needed to ask was "were my people ensuring safety as a priority?" And if not, why not?

It is never easy to see companies self-destruct under the weight of a crisis. But as communicators, whether internal or external, it is our job to be even tougher on our clients or customers during a crisis. Had the PCA crisis team been tough on the onset, it may not have saved the company, but it would have made the crisis much more manageable.

More on this crisis next Tuesday or possibly as events occur, including highlights on how other companies handled a crisis that may not have originated with them, but impacted them and their customers nonetheless. It's important because most people have never heard of the PCA. Customers only know products.

Wednesday, January 28

Poisoning PR: Peanut Corporation of America

Almost 20 full days have passed since the Minnesota Department of Health suggested King Nut brand creamy peanut butter as a likely source of salmonella typhimurium, and was quickly linked to Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), which provides ingredients to more than 180 peanut butter products.

In the days following, company after company began recalling peanut butter products: Snacks, cake mixes, candies, cookies, crackers, ice creams, pet foods, pre-packaged products, etc. Jarred peanut butter is not part of the recall.

Kellogg Company was one of the first, placing on hold on certain Austin® and Keebler® branded Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers immediately following the news that the PCA was the source on Jan. 14. It recalled those products two days later, and has expanded its recall since. Jenny Craig, Inc. was one of the last. It issued a voluntary recall of select Anytime Peanut Butter Flavor Nutritional Bars on Jan. 27. It is important to note that involvement in the recall may be precautionary.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is also publishing a long list of company recalls issued by company here. Although most of the recall releases follow the FDA recommended guidelines, the subtle variations suggest vast differences in corporate cultures, crisis experience, and customer relations.

Some companies offered refunds. Some offered replacements. Some offered nothing.

Some companies offered direct contact lines. Some companies offered the CDC hotline. Some offered no contact.

Some companies included quotes. Some companies quoted the FDA, CDC, or even the president of PCA. Some did not.

Highlights of recall release notes from several companies.

“Landies Candies apologizes for any inconvenience to our customers,” said Lawrence R. Szrama, president. “Landies Candies’ product quality and consumer safety have been our top priority for over 23 years and our decision today reflects that tradition.”

"The health and safety of our clients are our number one concern,” said Amy Armish, Director of Food Technology and Quality Assurance, Jenny Craig, Inc. “We are communicating directly with our clients and consultants and are urging all clients who have purchased or are in possession of this product to immediately destroy them. Clients seeking a replacement bar are being asked to visit their Jenny Craig centre or call their Jenny Craig consultant and a replacement bar will be issued in its place or an adjustment made to their next order."

"We are in full cooperation with the FDA during this recall process as we only want to provide the best, and safest product to our customers. Thankfully no illnesses have been reported in conjunction with any of our products," said Jay Littmann, CEO and President of Chef Jay's Food Products.

Mark Tarner, President of The South Bend Chocolate Company, said: “we are taking these steps out of concern for our customers”.

"We regret the need to take this action, but the complete safety of our customers and consumers is our highest priority," said Chris Geist, Chief Operating Officer, Premier Nutrition.

"The safety of our customers is our highest priority, and in keeping with the recommendations by the FDA, we are urging all consumers who have purchased or are in possession of this product to immediately destroy them," said Sharon Tate, Vice President of Quality Assurance, NutriSystem, Inc. "Customers seeking a replacement bar are being asked to call a NutriSystem representative at 1-866-491-6425 or e-mail and a replacement bar will be issued in its place."

"With an abundance of caution and given the FDA's ongoing investigation of PCA, we're doing all we can to ensure consumer safety and trust," said Gary Erickson, owner and founder of Clif Bar & Company.

"The safety of our customers has always been our number one priority," said Stacie Behler, vice president of public affairs for Meijer. "Meijer has taken these precautionary steps to help protect our customers and will return this product to our stores only once it is safe for our shoppers."

"Product quality and consumer safety have been our top priority for over 90 years and our decision today reflects that tradition,” said Robert Denning, president and CEO, Perry’s Ice Cream. “We apologize for any inconvenience to our customers."

"The actions we are taking today are in keeping with our more than 100-year commitment to providing consumers with safe, high-quality products," said David Mackay, president and CEO, Kellogg Company. "We apologize for this unfortunate situation."

When compared side by side, the differences between the communication becomes the communication. It reveals where the company places concern, who they feel is best suited to deliver the message, and to some degree, which have a crisis communication plan in place and which might not. We recommend all companies have a crisis communication plan.

We also recommend all communicators and public relations professionals buy an AP Stylebook. Titles need to be lower case when they follow a name (except CEO when used as an acronym). Yes, this includes "president," except President of the U.S.

The most telling recall releases of all are from the PCA.

The Exert on Jan. 10: PCA's facility and products are frequently and rigorously tested for salmonella and other microbiological contamination, including hourly sampling during processing and subsequent analysis by an outside, independent laboratory. No salmonella has ever been found in any of PCA's product.

The Quote on Jan. 13: “We deeply regret that this has happened,” said Stewart Parnell, owner and president of PCA. “Out of an abundance of caution, we are voluntarily withdrawing this product and contacting our customers. We are taking these actions with the safety of our consumers as our first priority.”

The Quote on Jan. 16: "We deeply regret that this product recall is expanding and our first priority is to protect the health of our customers. Our company has worked around the clock for the last week with federal regulators to help identify any potential problems. Our Blakely facility is currently not operating as we continue to work with federal food safety investigators," Parnell said.

The Truth on Jan. 28: Officials say the Peanut Corp. of America plant had repeatedly shipped products that the company's own initial tests found to be positive for salmonella. They say the company also failed to take standard steps to prevent contamination within the plant.

As of 9 p.m. on Jan. 25, more than 501 persons infected with the outbreak strain of salmonella typhimurium have been reported from 43 states. The infection may have contributed to eight deaths. Our heartfelt sympathies are with the families.

There are too many companies and too many conclusions to be drawn from such a sweeping epidemic in a single post. We are opening living case study, which will consist of a series of posts strung together by the label "PCA", beginning tomorrow with what seems to be a severe breach of public trust by that company. The posts will not be daily, but frequent.

It is our continued hope that communicators will learn how to better prepare for crisis communication by blending proven processes and a deeper appreciation for situational communication. Crisis communication is more than a list of bullet points and boilerplates. And every company, sooner or later, will face one.

Blog Archive

by Richard R Becker Copyright and Trademark, Copywrite, Ink. © 2021; Theme designed by Bie Blogger Template