4 crisis communications lessons from Kellogg

Brand managers who excel under the pressure of handling a crisis are often looked upon as models in the industry. One PR pro offers crisis takeaways from the beloved cereal brand.

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The way an organization reacts in the first hours of a crisis will probably determine whether it succeeds or fails in regaining public trust.

The way brand managers at Kellogg Co. responded to the release of a video depicting a disgruntled employee should serve as a model for handling a PR crisis.

When crisis strikes, here are four best practices to adopt—as exemplified by Kellogg:

1. Respond swiftly.

Kellogg’s crisis managers could not have seen this damaging situation coming. The video—which allegedly shows an assembly line worker urinating on various cereal products—was believed to be more than two years old at the time of its release.

The video apparently was in response to a union dispute between Kellogg and its workers. Given that the issue had been resolved, the video took Kellogg’s executives by surprise. Despite the shock, the crisis team’s response was swift: They were the first to identify the nature of the crisis. Getting out in front is essential when you’re responding to a reputational threat.

2. Align with the values of your customer.

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