What not to do in the event of a product recall

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past couple of days (and the rock does not come with wireless internet and digital TV), you will have heard that Britvic is recalling its Fruit Shoot drinks. There’s nothing wrong with the contents of the respective bottle, but the packaging seems to suffer from some mysterious fault.

As a “precautionary measure”, Britvic is recalling all products from the line. However, at the moment, the company is facing major image crises because of the mystery surrounding the "packaging safety issue".

Because the product in question is a children’s beverage, Britvic’s approach leaves the organisation vulnerable to rumours and assumptions about the nature of the recall. The media had a field day discussing and commenting on the topic, which has undoubtedly harmed the company’s efforts to remediate situation.

The lesson here for manufacturers in the engineering sector is that no matter what the reason for a product recall, the best way to save your company’s reputation is to be honest and communicate with your audience. Let your customers know exactly what is going on, what the problem is and how you plan to fix it. Remaining secretive about the problem will only make it worse – people will make assumptions and the problem will escalate out of proportion.

Reputation management is a bit like dieting – embark on a yoyo dieting journey and the results will be disastrous, leaving permanent marks. Make a lifestyle change in your organisation and commit to an ongoing, healthy reputational ‘diet plan’ and see the difference. 

Ultimately, when faced with an image problem, companies can chose to handle things the Johnson & Johnson way (see the cyanide laced Tylenol crises) or (eik!) Exxon-Valdez style.
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Oana Baetica - Technical PR consultant

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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