Updated: Aug 2, 2021
Facing the "risk of product exclusion" because it is related to the death of consumers from using corporate products. Cover math of managers? How to convert to win and increase market share from 7% - 30%? How to get consumer Loyalty to the product? Taking on the position of CEO, business manager, marketing manager or in the role of a communications director, it is very easy to face a media crisis. So how to handle accidents from many sides well and how to turn defeat into victory in this situation? We'll share Johnson & Johnson's media handling lessons in this classic business book, recommneded by Warren Buffett, Bill Gates.
In 1982, Johnson & Johnson faced an unprecedented media crisis: 7 people died from taking Tylenol. Tylenol is a very popular cold medicine in the US, very easy to buy, without a prescription. (Tylenol: a cold medicine similar to Panadol that we often buy and use, available at drugstores & in the US, even in supermarkets).
The US government began investigations into the victims of Tylenol's deaths. Accordingly, the results of the FBI investigation showed that the victims who drank Tylenol sold at the supermarket had a metamorphosis, a sick mind, and injected the toxic substance potassium cyanide into the above products. Logically, the cause of the unfortunate incident must be Johnson & Johnson's fault. However, Johnson & Johnson CEO James Burke made the decision to recall all Johnson & Johnson products on the market.
Before James Burke's decision, the FBI and FDA were also hesitant about Johnson & Johnson's proposal to recall millions of packs of Tylenol, learning that it was unnecessary because of the risks to consumers. use has been completely eliminated. The FBI and FDA are also concerned about causing a "general panic" to society, especially the approaching Halloween festival.
However, Johnson & Johnson CEO James Burke firmly demanded that the FBI and FDA approve a large-scale recall. 31 million bottles of Tylenol have been recalled. “Our first and foremost concern is the health of anyone using a Johnson & Johnson product,” says James Burke.
Then a revolution in Johnson & Johnson took place in a radically fast fashion. In addition to rushing the product recall, James Burke asked Johnson & Johnson's associates to focus on finding a type of packaging that would not allow any outside interference. The result: just two months after the crisis broke, Johnson & Johnson launched a new product with a stunning new look: new packaging with three layers of protection without any interference any influence from the outside.
Immediately after the press conference to launch the new product, Johnson & Johnson ran a strong & widespread crisis communication strategy in the newspapers with the re-launch message "New Tylenol".
Texts used in the "rebound" media crisis management strategy: the creators of Tylenol would like to say Thank You to the American People for all of your faith and encouragement. Johnson & Johnson allows free exchange of old Tylenol for new Tylenol, including bottles of Tylenol that have been thrown in the trash.
The total campaign cost Johnson & Johnson $100 million. However, the result was a strong comeback & acceleration after only 1 year of launching the new Tylenol product: market share increased rapidly from 7% to 30%.
So far, the killer has not been caught. However, what Tylenol's position is very firmly in the hearts of the American people, even though James Burke has retired since 1989.
The lesson of dealing with a communication crisis here is TRUTH and CUSTOMERS FIRST. James Burke didn't blame, didn't lie, didn't involve the FBI. Instead, he stood up to tell the truth, dared to take responsibility, he accepted the trade-off, he accepted to pay a very expensive price ($100 million) for one thing: TRUST/ FAITH. And it is that FAITH / FAITH that has turned into the FAITH that hundreds of millions of Americans have for him and Johnson & Johnson over the past 40 years. A strong belief makes Johnson & Johnson a first name brand of cold products.