Critical Minute- The Biggest Threat to Communicators

Fonterra, the world’s biggest dairy exporter, routinely ships whey protein concentrate to China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Saudi Arabia, which is then used in products including infant milk powder and sports drinks.

Based in New Zealand, which has an annual dairy trade of 9 billion dollars, Fonterra is a multinational dairy co-operative that is owned by 10,600 farmers.

It takes a global strategy and crisis communications plan to manage their international image. In the event of a product recall, the multi-national organization must be ready to respond to worst case scenarios.

In one such scenario, the biggest threat to the company’s communications team was a shipment to China that was possibly contaminated with bacteria. Similar product failures are a threat to any communications team… and in like instances: proactive media monitoring, a rapid and accurate response, and agreeable resolution is typically initiated.

For Fonterra… a very public and global apology was issued within 24 hours of confirming the problem. How have you prepared your crisis communications plan?

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