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Tylenol Case Study

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Essay title: Tylenol Case Study

Tylenol Case Study

The discipline of public relations is a modern profession which has been in existence for only close to a century; however, it has already taken an important role in the fields of business, government, entertainment and non-profit organizations including educational institutions and healthcare organizations. Public relations professionals are required to have excellent organizational, interpersonal and communication skills and have the ability to persuade the public. It is imperative for PR professionals to effectively communicate with its public in order to establish and maintain a positive relationship. Furthermore, public relations professionals must have the ability to work under pressure and effectively manage crisis which may have detrimental effect on the company and the public it serves. State purpose of paper and an overview of what will be covered in the introduction

Tylenol’s 1982 ordeal has become a classic example of a successful crisis management. Johnson & Johnson faced a major crisis when their leading pain-killer medicine, extra-strength Tylenol, was found to have caused the fatalities of seven people in Chicago, Illinois. It was reported that unknown suspect or suspects took the product off store shelves, tampered it with deadly cyanide and returned to the shelves. As a result, seven people died and consumers lost confidence and panicked over hearing the news of this incident. Tylenol received massive media coverage which led to an expeditious communication of event to the public. Johnson & Johnson (J & J) took a huge financial hit when it had to recall and destroy approximately $100 million dollars worth of inventory in addition to the loss incurred by the company when the public reacted to the incident (Campbell et. al., n.d.). Tylenol’s approach was to pull off the products as quickly as possible, stopped production, cooperated with the investigation and the media and halted all forms of advertisement or marketing of the product. Furthermore, Johnson’s & Johnson’s took the initiative to protect and improve their product packaging which allowed them to regain the public’s confidence and paved the way for improved tamper-resistant packaging now used by myriad of manufacturing companies. The fatalities occurred between September 29th to October 1st of the year 1982 and by November, Tylenol had already reintroduced the product with improved tamper-resistant packaging. To regain the public’s attention and confidence, Johnson’s & Johnson’s launched a dynamic marketing campaign to put the product’s name before the public. Because of this, Tylenol was able to regain the confidence of their consumers and helped quickly rebuild the company’s reputation.

Johnson’s & Johnson’s had to consider all its internal and external public before a public relations strategy could be formed. Internal communications strategy had to be specifically designed for members of the board of directors, shareholders, investors, management and employees who are the company’s internal public or audience. At the same token, the company’s public relations strategy should include separate public relations communication specifically designed for the company’s external public which includes consumers, media, doctors, pharmacists and the United States’ Food and Drug Administration. Internal publics or audiences are people or entities who are generally associated with the Johnson’s & Johnson’s organization. Alternatively, external public is composed of people or entities generally not associated with the company. Johnson’s & Johnson’s promptly responded to the crisis by putting out a public relations program and committing to full cooperation with all types of news media (Kaplan, n.d.). This was a smart move on Johnson & Johnson’s part because they needed the help of the media to positively influence the public and regain the public’s confidence. Failure to cooperate with the media may result to further damage as some news media organizations may sensationalize or negatively influence the public’s opinion of the company.

“Without the help of the media, Johnson and Johnson's program would have been completely ineffective” (Kaplan, n.d.). With all the resources available to Johnson & Johnson at the time, cooperating with all types of media organization was the most effective because it was the fastest way they can communicate to the public. Moreover, J & J’s response to the crisis included responding to the public’s fears, constant communication and interaction with the public through media and cooperating fully to investigating parties.

Johnson’s & Johnson’s utilized several tools and techniques to deal with this major crisis. For instance, the company’s chairman at the time decided to recall $100 million

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