Early comms team involvement helps P&G handle crisis

CINCINNATI: Early involvement of the corporate communications team

gave Procter & Gamble time to prepare a crisis plan based on reports

that it had been spying on the haircare operations of rival

Unilever.



Outside PR observers gave P&G high marks for how it handled the

revelations that broke on Fortune's website just before Labor Day

weekend.



P&G admitted it had brought the spying matter to Unilever's attention,

noted that what had been done violated its own policies, and said that

people directly involved had been fired.



"They seized the lead by talking about it; they took control of the

issue immediately," said one PR source familiar with P&G.



Bill Dobson, P&G VP of external relations, said, "The good news is that

our attorneys got us involved very early on so we were able to prepare

as well as we could." The communications team was involved "very close

to the time the company discovered this, and decided it had a problem"

early this year, he said.



Fortune told P&G it had been leaked information about the story, and the

company decided to work with a Fortune reporter rather than take a "no

comment" approach, Dobson said.



- See The Big Pitch, p.10.



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