There are more examples of organizations getting crisis management wrong than doing it right. When crisis strikes, most companies are unprepared and poorly handle the situation. Organizations might try stonewalling the situation, toughing it out or pretending the crisis will pass, but they only make the situation worse. Organizations who waste valuable time at the beginning of a crisis can expect to see a loss in revenue and plummeting stock prices.
The organization's most important asset is at stake, their reputation. It is useless to conceal the truth from the public because eventually someone will blow the whistle. Firestone continued to sell faulty tires to the public when they knew there was a problem with the product. After many deaths, Firestone recalled millions of tires, and the public wondered how long Firestone knew about the problem. Now Firestone is on the verge of declaring bankruptcy and going out of business because they made poor crisis management decisions.
Johnson & Johnson did not share the same fate as Firestone when crisis struck the company in 1982. One of Johnson & Johnson's well-known products, Tylenol was tampered with. Someone had been placing cyanide pills inside of Tylenol bottles, and it was killing people. Johnson & Johnson reacted quickly and pulled their product off the selves. Instead of suffering long-term damage to their reputation, Tylenol regained consumer confidence quickly because their crisis management plan told them to act in the interest of the consumer.
Sometimes crisis management is used to protect a company from its customers. In 1991, a Pepsi customer claimed to have found a syringe in a can. Once the story hit the press, there were numerous reports of people finding screws, syringes and bolts in Pepsi cans. The Pepsi Company immediately denied that this was possible and that these claims were fraudulent. Pepsi started running ad campaigns against these incidents saying that they were "copycats" and Pepsi cans are "99.9% safe." This gave Pepsi enough time to discover what was happening. A grocery store surveillance camera caught a customer placing a syringe in the Pepsi can. Pepsi now had the proof they needed to refute the claims that their soda was unsafe to drink.
Crisis management is vital for every organization. This Web site will take is designed to help develop a tactical plan to manage crisis.