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Effective Communication Case Study Analysis

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Essay title: Effective Communication Case Study Analysis

Effective Communication Case Study Analysis

Communication can be defined as the act of transmitting information. Effective communication is a two way process. Information that flows back and forth between sender and receiver is considered effective (Clark 2003). For example, an organization communicates to their publics and then begins to look for feedback from their customers to ensure that everyone understands the message. Sometimes the feedback is not verbal and organizations can only measure the effectiveness by analyzing consumers' actions (Clark 2003). Some companies have a great understanding of their customers and excel with effective communication. One such company is Johnson & Johnson. The purpose of this paper is to present a case study analysis on Tylenol's crisis management plan and analyze how effective they were with communicating to their publics.

Case Overview

Back in September 1982 and over a three-day period, six people died in the Chicago area (Bell, n.d.). Normally this is not a rare occurrence. However, the police department thought something was not a right. For among the six people, three of them were from the same family and they all died during the same timeframe (Bell, n.d.). It was quickly discovered that all three family members died of cyanide poisoning (Bell, n.d.). A search of the home revealed a bottle of Tylenol extra strength capsules, which had the poisoning added into the pills (Bell, n.d.). One of the earlier deaths was quickly linked to the same type of medication and it was determined not to be an isolated incident (Bell, n.d.). In all, eight people died from the Tylenol capsules that were laced with 65 milligrams of cyanide (Susi, 2002). The amount of cyanide that was put into each pill was enough cyanide to kill 10,000 people (Susi, 2002). When Johnson & Johnson got the news that their product was the cause of all the deaths, the organization was faced with a crisis management situation.

PR Tools

Upon learning of the link between their product and the cyanide poisonings, Johnson & Johnson acted very quickly to the crisis. The company started by sending out a nationwide alert to all doctors and all distributors (Bell, n.d.). The company then issued a massive recall of 31 million bottles of Tylenol (Bell, n.d.). Johnson & Johnson issued the recall even after the company found out that the products were tampered with after the bottles reached the stores (Bell, n.d.). According to Albert Tortorella, Manager of the firm that advised Johnson & Johnson, "Before 1982, nobody ever recalled anything" (Rehak, 2002). This PR tactic showed the public that the company was ethically motivated to protect the people at any cost. The decision is estimated to have cost the company over $100 Million (Rehak, 2002). However, the benefit to the company was consumer trust. Upon the return to the market, the PR department issued coupons for $2.50 to get consumers to buy the new product (Susi, 2002). They also introduced a lower pricing plan to attract buyers to their product (Susi, 2002).

To inform the public about the crisis Johnson & Johnson was not alone. Local police in the Chicago are drove around through neighborhoods announcing the danger of the pain medicine and informed everyone that was present of the recall (Bell, n.d.). An objective third party kept the public informed about the crisis. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) helped Johnson & Johnson calm the public by holding several press conferences (Center and Jackson, 2003). Not to mention the news media captured every quote from the two parties and got the word out to the public. The risk of using the media to get your message across is they can put an undesired spin on what a company is trying to say and hurt the company. The company used the news media to make sure the company was not to blame for a terrorist outside of the company using their product to kill people. To ensure the public got this message the company offered a thousand dollar reward for any info on the terrorist. Johnson & Johnson did everything they could to get the word out about the crisis going as far as to create a crisis hotline. Consumers could call the hotline to get the latest information about the product recall.

Two months after the Tylenol recall, Johnson & Johnson got their products back on store shelves (Rehak, 2002). The product was reintroduced in a new triple seal package (Rehak, 2002). Tylenol was the first product to comply with the new FDA regulations on tamper-resistant packaging that is now required on all over the counter human drugs and the cosmetic products (Susi, 2002). Through media

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