I worked with a group to create a case study for my Public Relations Case Studies course. This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of both effective and ineffective methods of public relations through the analysis of actual cases.
Our case study was on Blue Bell Creameries’ Listeria outbreak. The outbreak of Listeria, a type of deadly bacteria, forced the company to initiate massive recalls of their products. The company took a financial loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars from the product recalls. The crisis was devastating to Blue Bell’s beloved reputation.
For numerous years, Blue Bell has been recognized for their successful service in the ice cream industry. However, the damage from the Listeria outbreak and massive recall resulted in long-term effects for the company.
My group evaluated Blue Bell’s crisis communication management. We researched the precautions the company took, their communication strategy and their process of re-establishing their loyal customer base. Lastly, we gave recommendations of ways we thought Blue Bell could have handled the situation differently.
Throughout the course, we spent the semester evaluating crises that different companies have dealt with through the years. Some managed crises better than others, and we learned the ways to properly handle them when they occur.
During a crisis, it is essential that a company handles the situation properly in order to not damage their reputation and to maintain trust with the public. Companies should always be transparent and communicate as much information possible with one clear voice. An effective, strategic plan for crisis communication includes a timely and genuine response.