What All Brands Can Learn From The Frozen Berry Scandal

What All Brands Can Learn From The Frozen Berry Scandal
SHARE
THIS



InsideOut Public Relations Director, Nicole Reaney, argues there are lots of lessons to be learned for all brands from the recent frozen berry crisis in Australia.

As I walked into my local Woolworths, going about the usual thoughts of how I can turn Monday night dinner into an MKR culinary experience, I looked up to see fresh berries, in a prominent front-of-store position. My first thoughts were, here we go… Woolies are going to take advantage of the Hep A outbreak and charge a premium knowing full well that frozen berries were now crossed off the shopping list of most mums. It was refreshing to see the berries displayed at a price lower than they have been previously, so I bought some. I wasn’t even after berries. And now more brands are smartly capitalising on the situation, like Aussie brand ‘Matilda’s’ which is launching its berries to market this year.

Nicole Reaney

Unfortunately for Patties, the company behind Nanna’s and Creative Gourmet frozen berries, I doubt similar buying situations are currently happening for their products. At last count there have been 26 reported cases of Aussies contracting Hepatitis A and being connected to eating the frozen berries. Patties’ company statement, with its CEO quoted, denies the links and maintains it has removed products as a precautionary measure only.

Coming from years in crisis communications, even I’m starting to question the actions of the company over the past few weeks of being in the spotlight, and am beginning to consider the possibilities of their brand ever fully recovering. Soul Origin faced similar reprimands in relation to its tuna and continues to be in the face of media.

The best thing Patties has done is complied with the authorities and removed product from all stores. Additionally, it has presented FAQs, and its company positioning (direct from the CEO) as its home page.

When in crisis mode companies need to resolve the issue as swiftly and with as little brand damage as possible. Other brands in its portfolio and the general business needs to continue operating at the same time.

In observing the media, Patties is really lacking a positive position, with its products being directly linked to the incidence, and whilst there is a lack of ‘voice’ in the coverage (despite its company positioning), the average consumer will believe what the media is telling them.

Despite the flourish of coverage in the marketplace, only a single 2GB media interview is published, acting as a homing-point for consumers wanting to hear directly from the company. I would take a stab that the company released a generic statement to media but has been a little closed in its strategy of putting the CEO forward.

Clever organisations can actually turn a crisis into something positive, once the dust settles, and even go on to boost its share and sales afterwards. We’ve seen it happen with multiple brands like Mars. To do this, you need absolute transparency and intention to resolve the incident honestly and efficiently, a CEO who the public listens to and in their own way builds a relationship with them, easy access for everyone to get their questions answered, and a two-way communication platform.

Patties could be much more strategic in utilising the power of social media – a lively platform where information can be presented in a straight-forward ‘consumer-friendly’ way, regular updates incorporated (last facebook post was 20 February – a month ago) and prevailing questions replied to. While its website could use much more interactivity and regular updates – for instance via a CEO video – rather than a single holding page on the matter. The frequency of communication is important and demonstrates the company cares. A dedicated help line could be profiled and corporate advertisements used to supplement media relations and additional digital media strategies, to ensure key messages and updates are being followed and understood.

And what do you do when your category is in the midst of crisis mode, how do you avoid being swept up in the same storm? You too need to be in ‘crisis mode’ and protect the brand’s reputation. From a media relations point of view, you really don’t want to be caught up in the ‘chatter’ and have your brand associated with the incident. Consider third party spokespeople to represent your positioning – such as industry bodies, health experts or authorities. Employ your suite of communication platforms and ensure you utilise the opportunity to inform the public and your key stakeholders of the situation.

And like Matilda’s, identify a media angle that the public will respond to, like buying local.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Designworks Starts At 60

Latest News

me&u Appoints Clementine Churchill To Head Of Marketing
  • Marketing

me&u Appoints Clementine Churchill To Head Of Marketing

me&u, Australia’s first and leading mobile ordering and payment platform, has appointed Clementine Churchill as Head of Marketing as they continue to drive rapid growth and expansion in Australia and new international markets. A highly experienced marketing leader and recognised industry thought leader, Churchill joins me&u from My Muscle Chef, one of Australia’s top rated […]

MILO Asks Fans To Compete To Win #TheMILOCup In New Campaign Via Ogilvy
  • Marketing

MILO Asks Fans To Compete To Win #TheMILOCup In New Campaign Via Ogilvy

MILO is on the search for Australia’s best made MILO, calling on fans to share their creations for the chance to win #TheMILOCup, via Ogilvy Sydney. This integrated campaign follows on from the success of last year’s ‘Hot v Cold’ campaign, which encouraged Aussies to settle the debate on whether MILO is best enjoyed hot […]

New ANZ Research Shows That LGBTQ+ Visual Representation Relies On Stereotypes
  • Advertising
  • Marketing

New ANZ Research Shows That LGBTQ+ Visual Representation Relies On Stereotypes

New research from Getty Images, a world leader in visual communications, has found that LGBTQ+ representation in ANZ remains low and stereotypical. It’s 2021 – this needs to change – especially in marketing and advertising. In partnership with GLAAD, the LGBTQ+ media advocacy organisation, Getty Images has launched a full-spectrum Guidebook in direct response to […]

Dir David Attenborough’s Life Stories Launches On LiSTNR
  • Media

Dir David Attenborough’s Life Stories Launches On LiSTNR

Natural historian Sir David Attenborough is one of the most commanding and respected storytellers in the world and now the iconic series, David Attenborough Life Stories, is available on LiSTNR as part of SCA’s recently announced partnership with the BBC. David Attenborough Life Stories is a series of talks on the natural histories of creatures and […]

Menulog Makes Key Marketing Promotions
  • Media

Menulog Makes Key Marketing Promotions

Menulog has doubled down on its marketing support for restaurant partners, with the promotion of Senior Marketing Manager, Rami Tamer, to a newly created role of ‘Head of Partner Marketing’, as well as the promotion of former-Blue 449 Performance Manager, Jaryd Buggins. In the new Head of Partner Marketing role, Rami will lead a team […]

Barry Drinkwater Leaves ARN Brisbane After 28 Years, Will Hand Over Reins To Alisson Longhurst
  • Media

Barry Drinkwater Leaves ARN Brisbane After 28 Years, Will Hand Over Reins To Alisson Longhurst

ARN has announced Barry Drinkwater will be handing over his content director reins at 97.3FM and 4KQ to respected radio executive, Alisson Longhurst. Drinkwater has had a stellar career in radio spanning more than four decades, and was acknowledged as one of Australia’s Top 20 Content Directors by Radio Today in 2020. He began his radio career […]

Australian Radio Industry Joins Global Working Group On Android Automotive
  • Media

Australian Radio Industry Joins Global Working Group On Android Automotive

The Australian commercial radio industry has joined a global working group of broadcasters, carmakers and tech experts collaborating on the innovation of radio in Android Automotive. Android Automotive is Google’s infotainment operating system which is being built into new connected cars. Industry body Commercial Radio Australia is part of the working group, led by the […]

Triple M’s No Talk Day Returns To Inspire Conversation Around Men’s Mental Health
  • Media

Triple M’s No Talk Day Returns To Inspire Conversation Around Men’s Mental Health

For the third consecutive year, Triple M’s No Talk Day will return on Thursday July 1 to raise awareness around men’s mental health and encourage courageous conversations on Triple M’s 45 stations across the country with support from partner Beyond Blue.  From 6:00am – 6:00pm on July 1, Triple M is encouraging listeners to clear […]

Businessman using tablet payments online shopping with speed icons customer and data network connection on virtual screen.
  • Marketing

62% Of Shoppers Doing Most Of Their Purchases Online: BigCommerce And PayPal Report

Consumer shifts in how and where people buy products evolved significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, creating new opportunities for retailers to use new channels, fulfilment strategies and payment options, according to the results of a new survey out today from BigCommerce and PayPal. While a majority of the 3,000 consumers surveyed from the United States, United Kingdom […]

New Talent Agency, Liquorice Plants Roots In NZ
  • Marketing
  • Media

New Talent Agency, Liquorice Plants Roots In NZ

The brainchild of co-founders Gina Williams-Folau (main photo) and Greer Bland, the talent agency Liquorice was born out of a desire to make things easier for brand managers. Liquorice offers social talent for brands wanting to hit the sweet spot with Kiwi audiences. Launching with a roster of big names on board including Millie Elder-Holmes, Athena […]