Research & Crisis Management

Blog post by: Pa Kou Lee
Businesses will fail to have positive turnarounds after a crisis if the research was done poorly.  Research plays an important role in all PR crises. It’s the process of searching, collecting, and categorizing information relating to the crisis. Without it, it could be the potential downfall of a business.
Research should be used to:

  • Pinpoint the origin of the crisis and the audience affected by it
  • Identify problems that are presently occurring
  • Present unbiased and accurate information to the publics and stakeholders
  • Develop a strategy and solution for the crisis

One business that failed to properly conduct and communicate research is Treadwell Enterprises. Recently, one of its Taco Bell franchises in Guthrie, OK caught the media’s attention for cutting employees’ hours to part-time to avoid the cost of ObamaCare. Treadwell Enterprises released a statement to the local Guthrie news:
“Treadwell Enterprises, like most businesses, is still researching what the Affordable Care Act means to our operations. Regardless of the conclusion of our analysis, we will comply with this law, as we do all laws.”
Treadwell Enterprises failed to conduct its research to the fullest. They made a conclusion about  the Affordable Care Act, yet communicated that they hadn’t finished researching or educating themselves about it. A conclusion should not go into effect if research is not finished. It’s possible there would have been less of a public backlash had they approached, conducted, and communicated their research more thoroughly ahead of time.
Pepsi, on the other hand, had a great turnaround during their Syringe crisis in 1993. When consumers were finding syringes in Pepsi cans, Pepsi stood behind their company and conducted an extensive investigation. They focused on consumers’ safety, finding the origin of the cause and fixing it, communicating effectively with internal and external audiences and taking responsibility for the crisis. They reassured their consumers the products were safe through marketing materials including video news releases, charts, and audio that communicated their research.
Businesses can’t hope a crisis will never happen; they can only prepare for it and conduct proper research when faced with it.With an effective crisis management team, a business can turn a crisis into a positive and effective marketing strategy, like Pepsi did.