Thursday, February 19, 2009

Peanut Butter Mess

The peanut butter scare has spoiled a staple in American comfort food.  Because of the tainted peanut butter at the Peanut Corp. of America in Georgia sales have dropped 23%, a number of schools across the country have stopped offering PB&J sandwiches, and pantries in households everywhere no longer stock creamy or chunky jars on their shelves.

Cause and Effect Can Have a Real Affect

Because of this serious action, makers and sellers of peanut butter from organic brands to commercial brands like Skippy, Jif and Peter Pan have had to become very reactionary.  In order to boost consumer confidence and defuse the situation, all makers had to put a crisis communication plan in place.  

Creating key messaging, maker web sites offer immediate statements reassuring the public that they do not use ingredients from the tainted company and that their product is safe to consume. Today, I even heard a new commercial for Jif where they immediately used messaging to put the viewers mind at rest letting them know their peanut butter is safe.  They had to use advertising dollars that either weren't planned or planned for something else.

All of this reminded me of my days in my past job.  Even though we were in Ohio, if something happened in another part of the country that was in any way comparable to our organization, we would feel the effects and needed to diminish the situation is quickly as possible.  Because of that uncontrollable threat, I created a crisis communication plan to handle any possible scenario - one we created or one that was handed to us because of the actions of someone else.

Crisis communication plans are so important.  I'm sure the peanut butter makers can attest to that.  These plans help keep you organized at a time when everything else around you is not so organized.  

Tomorrow I will post some crisis communication ideas to help you in a possible time of need. Until then, I'm going to make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich because Jif reassured me that everything is just fine (and delicious) with their product.

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