In its communications effort surrounding claims that its new Dry Max product causes diaper rash, P&G has shown the effectiveness of consistent messaging in a crisis.
The company has held strong in its message that the diaper product does not cause diaper rash, despite a class action suit invoking a recall and an angry mom offensive renowned for its impassioned social media presence and purchasing power.
Though the response from consumers isn't necessarily positive at this point, angry online posts, mostly on Facebook, have begun to subside. This week, P&G told the Wall Street Journal that the product has experienced weaker sales at some retailers, but that story also included an analyst estimate stating that since the Dry Max launch, “the brand's market share has increased by an average of about 2.4 percentage points from a year earlier.”
The challenge with this crisis, from the beginning, exists in formulating a message and approach that denies cause without blatantly calling the target audience – and with this audience, emotions fly high — a bunch of liars.
With third-party validation, the company has been able to build confidence in its position that the product does not cause diaper rash or chemical burn, a word that had originally elevated the crisis to a new level. It was then necessary to pair that confident message, in its online communications with critics, with empathy and sensitivity toward those experiencing the rash.
Here's the thing about high-level emotion: in most cases, it ultimately cools. Any deviation from a well-balanced, confident message, especially with regards to safety, can confuse and anger consumersP&G has been wise to stick with its original, confident claim and in the process has been able to maintain the brand's stability and market share.