Monday, April 19, 2010

Inappropriate Crisis Communication

Today I was reading this story about an Australian publisher forced to recall a cookbook due to a textual error.

You can read more about the error by clicking the link and reading the story, but my post has more to do with the resulting communication from the company's head of publishing.

In an interview after the story broke, he said it was a silly mistake and "why anyone would be offended, we don't know."

Because confusing black pepper for black people is not an offensive mistake by any means.

This champion of crisis communication also stated that anyone who complained about the mistake was small-minded, but the company would grudgingly, I mean "happily," give them a refund for the book.

I may be off my rocker, but I don't think these comments were the wisest way to handle the issue.

Afterall, we're not talking about a mistake in which a recipe mistakes cumin for coriander. We're talking about a mistake that includes "ground black people" as an ingredient for tagliatelle.

Claiming you don't understand the uproar and think that people who are upset about the mistake are small-minded is probably the wrong tack to take, even if that's how you feel.

Perhaps taking a more humble approach - even if it's pretend ('fake it 'til you make it' is my favorite adage) - might just win you more kudos and customer loyalty.

Especially in an age where brand loyalty is low and competition is fierce.

1 comment:

Laura said...

If I had purchased that cookbook, I definitely would not be exchanging it/returning it...I would keep it for the novelty. (But no, I would not be putting ground black people in the recipe. Even I would not go that far.)