Analysis Of Chipotle Crisis

1634 Words 7 Pages
Crisis. Whether you are an organization who is new to the industry, or a well-established brand, no company is immune crisis situations. Events of this nature if not managed correctly, have the ability to bring even the most impervious seeming companies to their knees. Chipotle’s ineffective communications’ response during their 2015 E. coli crisis, has had detrimental repercussions to the brand’s public image. The focus of my paper will assess two months in this yearlong crisis, specifically December 2015 and January 2016, and the events following this period of time these moments in time are outside the scope of this paper. My analysis I will address the strength of Chipotle’s media relations tactics, drawbacks and outcomes of these tactics, …show more content…
Companies who use this practice can improve their credibility in the eyes of the public, provided the establishment’s spokesperson addresses the issue in a compassionate and sympathetic demeanor. Chipotle employed this practice efficaciously following the backlash of this incident. On December 10, 2015 amid reports of patrons of their restaurant falling ill across the country, co-CEO and founder Steve Ells appeared on NBC 's the Today Show to address the food poisoning allegations. During the interview Ells was apologetic in when answering questions about the crisis, and stated, “I’m sorry for the people who got sick. They are having a tough time, and I feel terrible about that. We’re doing a lot to rectify this and to make sure this doesn’t happen again”. Ells’s interview was an effective use of this practice. In choosing to take full responsibility for this incident, and focusing his concern on the welfare of his customers and rather than the business brand image, Ells did what many corporations fail to do which is taking responsibility. By stepping out of the shadows and in front of the camera the company’s CEO was strategic as he understood the value of putting a human face on crisis. Broadcasting his apology on national television allowed him to only reach their entire consumer, but personalized the crisis for their target …show more content…
He argues that when an organization understands the needs of their target audience and listens to their concerns during a crisis, effective communication can occur. Organizations who are able to cultivate trusting relationships and generate a plethora of goodwill in the public eye prior to a crisis, are able to depend on this credibility to reduce harmful impacts when one does occur. Perception is reality, and so if the public believe that they are at risk and the organization at fault fails to acknowledge this hysteria, this can cause fear or anger over ambiguity. For instance, in 2003 many citizens refused to eat beef when they became aware of a single Alberta cow was infected with “mad cow disease”, even though the risk to their own safety was non-existent. The public can be a very useful resource, and can used to a corporation’s benefit. Chipotle has rightly infused this practice within its crisis communication strategy, with the first step taken by the company’s Communications Director Chris Arnold, after a reported 25% of Americans after hearing of the E. coli epidemic eat at the establishment. After understanding this shift in public perception the company took steps to address the public. First off, Arnold made a public statement announcing new food safety procedures ease citizen’s fears stating “The plan we are putting in place will eliminate

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