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PR and Damage Control, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Public Relations (PR) refer to activities that are intended to promote the image of an organization or its products and services (Kotler & Keller, April 28, 2006). Since damage control involves limiting the negative influence of an event on the reputation of the company or the market of its products and services, PR can be an effective tool during time of crises. There are several PR strategies an organization can adopt to limit damage to its reputation or even use the crisis to improve corporate goodwill.

One strategy is to engage in open communication with external stakeholders including the media and the public. Open communication builds trust and may even result in more cooperative behavior by the media. Another strategy may be for the leaders of the organization to accept responsibility even if they may not be at fault and outline measures that the organization may be taking. This will signal a responsible response by the organization as well as send the message that the leadership takes the crisis seriously and is determined to solve it in a timely manner. The third strategy may be to immediately take measures that limit the negative impact of the crisis, irrespective of the costs involved because it will demonstrate higher ethical standards by the organization.

A great example of damage control through PR was set by Johnson & Johnson during its Tylenol scandal in 1982 when seven people died due to cyanide in Tylenol capsules. Company’s CEO James Burke recalled 31 million bottles from the market, appeared on TV, and maintained sense of control over the entire crisis. When scandal again broke, the company stopped production of capsules even though it meant loss of $200 million. The scandal could have been the end of Tylenol brand yet the company emerged even stronger (Yang, 2007). The reasons were leadership’s open communication with stakeholders, display of high ethical standards, and refusal to play blame game and instead taking charge of the entire crisis management process.

References

Kotler, P., & Keller, K. L. (April 28, 2006). Communicating Value. In Framework for Marketing Management (pp. 308-309). Prentice Hall.

Yang, J. L. (2007, May 22). Getting a handle on a scandal. Retrieved November 6, 2012, from http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2007/05/28/100033741/index.htm

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