After a crisis, a company needs to be seen to do the right thing by its employees and the local community. Most will also go through the stakeholder map, ensuring politicians, regulators and others are informed. And, of course, they will handle the media. Senior management should focus on business continuity, share price and reputation.
Given these pressures, companies are rarely able to consider positive PR. But Premier Foods, with CirKle, did just that.
CirKle had two positive factors to work with. First, the fire had caused no deaths or environ- mental damage. Second, Branston is a unique brand with strong recognition. The resulting coverage and sales figures show the positive strategy paid off.
But it was not without risks. When I heard there was a run on Branston my reaction was: surely they have systems to manage the supply consequences of a fire at one facility? The key is to match the message to the audience.
The consumer message got through, but perhaps at the expense of the business message.
This is not to take anything away from CirKle's initiative. The Branston fire is a great negative to positive PR case study.