Saturday, February 09, 2013

"My kingdom for a burger, lasagne, etc..."

Richard III would have been spinning under his car park, if he hadn't been rudely awakened recently. Of course, he wasn't looking for a horse to eat, but then nor were the customers of Tesco and Aldi, or those who favour popping a Findus ready meal in the microwave. Of course, one option is not to eat meat, but how dull that would be. Due respect to vegetarians and vegans, but I'd give a kingdom for a bacon sandwich or a rare, pink fillet steak (with known provenance, of course).

Whether it's an international criminal conspiracy, a lack of control, or an attempt to cut costs along the food chain (horse meat is much cheaper than beef, apparently), both the supermarkets and the producers now have a reputation problem. So what should they do? Here are my ten steps of reputation management:
  1. Recognise that you have a crisis
  2. Prepare for senior staff being door-stepped and ambushed by reporters
  3. Be seen and heard doing the right things
  4. The media must not be ignored during a crisis. TV is the most important medium
  5. Set up a communication process with the media as quickly as possible
  6. The most senior staff must take charge and be seen as company spokespeople
  7. Talk about the impact on people first
  8. Focus on your feelings about the situation, and how it will be prevented from  happening again
  9. Become the single most authoritative source of information about the crisis
  10. Keep a close eye on media coverage, and take every opportunity to correct inaccurate reporting

I'm not convinced that any of the key players have done all of the above. Perhaps they should give me a call.

Picture copyright Alan Stevens

1 comment:

Stephen Harvard Davis said...


Whilst I wholeheartedly agree with your post I believe that their mistake will benefit the consumer enormously.

Seeing people queue at butchers for real meat, taking it home and cooking it properly can only benefit the high street and the consumer's health.

The management of affected companies might find it difficult to talk to the media due to "Future stories" about to break (a mistake suffered by BP)

It's also interesting that the CEO of Morrisons is using the media a lot saying, rather smugly, that they run their own abatoirs.

For me what will be more interesting is how the companies introduce change and manage their team transition between high sales to massive drop off.