Johnson & Johnson is one of the world’s biggest health care companies. In the early eighties, the company faced a challenging task of responding to public relation crises. These crises were grave to an extent that they could spell the company collapse were they not handled with utmost care and creativity. Public relation and effective communication play a pivotal role in handling crises not only in companies but also in other organisations. The Johnson & Johnson Tylenol crisis case presents the real impact of public relation and effective communication in solving and changing public perception. Public perception is very important in maintaining customer loyalty on product as well as marketing.
Effectiveness of Communication
Effective communication is very important in running an organisation (Fielding, 2005). It involves sending of relevant information to the required person without any problem. There are several benefits of effective communication. These benefits include good relationship and good understanding among others. In an organisation, communication is critical in many ways. For instance, effective communication is used to motivate employees, change the public perception concerning a given product. In the case of Johnson and Johnson, effective communication made it possible to regain the tarnished image of the company, which resulted out of Tylenol product death. The company used effective communication to explain what happed and to convince the public that it was not their mistake. In addition, effective communication made the public convinced by the company’s concern, which was done through advertisements that were designed to warn the public not to use the product until the cause of death was determined. This strategy actually worked to the best interest of the company.
Different Public Targeted by the Company
The different public involved were internal and external. Johnson & Johnson had an obligation of convincing both the internal and external audience regarding the situation of where its original product, extra-strength Tylenol, had been allegedly used as a weapon to kill three people.
Internal and External Public
The recognition of the role of employees as stakeholders, with whom to communicate corporate crises, should be emphasized in any company. It should be noted that this can cause enormous pressure and ambivalence for any affected company and its staff. In order to avoid rumors, false information and public statements made without proof, all external and internal public have to be communicated with. Companies should never underestimate the role of effective communication during crisis (Daniela, Radebaugh, and Sullivan, 2011). This is because companies which ignore the importance of employee normally bear substantial economic damage due to the lack of trust, low morale, and the eventual loss of dedicated workforce.
The changing landscape in people’s management has called for the initiation and implementation of effective communication strategies aimed at increasing the levels of organizational performance (Armstrong, 2007). The role of people as a key ingredient in the realization of organizational goals forms the main reason behind their valued importance. A dissection of literature on HRM and effective communication shows that several companies employ various perspectives to achieve higher levels of employee satisfaction. Employees’ satisfaction is very important, more so during crisis.
Impact of the Communication
The communication by the company clarified the allegation which was made without investigation. In addition, effective communication helped in regaining public trust on the use of the product. Moreover, effective communication was used to market the company despite the crisis.
How the Communication was Handled by the Company
The company did a very good job and provided a benchmark on how to handle public relation crisis. However, the message could have been communicated effectively
The types of key tools available to carry out the public relations function include:
- Media Relations
The company management led by its chairman Burke appeared on TV and radio, and explained the crisis of newspapers. In addition, media was given freedom to access the company premises and investigate the situation on the ground. This media relation played a bigger role in coming out of the crisis. Media is quite important is creating a positive or negative impression, and therefore, the company’s good media relation helped it in creating a positive impression on the public (Lordan, 2003).
- Media Tours
The company also gave media an opportunity to tour its production plants and investigate any information concerning the crisis.
The company organized for a new package and re-launch of the product. The re-launch made the product have a new look with improved security feature for safety. This was significantly designed not only to gain the public trust but also to reinforce the message that contamination could have been the cause of the product poisoning.
The company decided to invite the investigative news program 60 Minutes to film its management strategy sessions for the new launch. This enhanced the company’s image among the people.
Among the other public relations tools are:
The company also could produce newsletters explaining their goals, values, and the other relevant information targeted to enhance its positive image to the public
- Special Events
The company could also organize tournaments, family retreat, and free medical camp for the community to enhance its public relation program.
- Speaking Engagements
The company could also directly engage the public through debates and speaking engagement. This is important in hearing the first hand information on consumers’ expectation and perception.
Community Relations and Philanthropy.
The company had an opportunity of involving in community projects as well as taking part in philanthropic activities. This is a powerful move to create a great public relation. The activities can be in the form of a corporate social responsibility.
In conclusion, Johnsons & Johnson managed the crisis very well and offered a great lesson to other businesses insightful information of how to handle effective communication and public relation subject.