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The crises you should fear most and why

December 7, 2016 by Jonathan Hemus

A front page story in a national newspaper alleging that your products are made by Romanian children as young as six would present a crisis management problem for any business. But when the products in question are toys for Kinder chocolate eggs, then the challenge is so much greater.

Crisis management strategy
Italian food company Ferrero (which owns the Kinder brand) responded swiftly to express concern at the allegations, took action to terminate the contract of its supplier and reiterated the high standards it expects from its supply chain. As a consequence of this robust crisis management strategy, Ferrero has helped to shape the narrative in its favour.

reputation management in a crisis

Ferrero clearly recognised that this issue had the power to do enormous damage to Kinder’s good name. Why? Because it struck at the very heart of its brand. Kinder eggs are a childhood treat which epitomise fun and joy, both of which are in short supply for the Romanian children assembling the plastic toys.
 
Crisis management training
This incident has broader implications for all organisations as they consider their crisis management planning and crisis management training. Every business should identify the crisis types which cut across its values, and be ever vigilant to identify and address crises of this kind. In particular, reputational risk assessments can help to tease out the risks which have the potential to bring your organisation to its knees.
 
The key is for every businesses to consider what it stands for and pinpoint the crisis types which would be particularly damaging to them. If your reputation is built on quality then it could be product defects. If you’re famous for customer care, poor service will be especially harmful. And a company which trumpets its green credentials will be disproportionately harmed by an environmental issue.
 
Reputation protection
Make sure you understand the characteristics which make your organisation special. And take time to prepare for the crisis types which could put your unique reputation in jeopardy.

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