Crisis Reflection 3: Pepsi’s Big Scare

The article crisis reflection 3: Pepsi’s big scare by Keith Elliot Greenberg looks at an incidence which happened and had negative consequences to the Pepsi-Cola company. In 1993 the Pepsi-Cola Co was involved in severe public relations trouble after allegations surfaced in the media that its products contained syringes together with other foreign materials. The situation worsened after the company failed to present its argument refuting the reports immediately. The PepsiCo crisis was so much covered in the news making it extensive to the point of fueling public alarm which was in contrast to the Pepsi-Cola’s PR department. Therefore, to address the situation Pepsi released four video news on TV through satellite to provide evidence against the claim’s validity.

In this incidence, PepsiCo decided to fight the media crisis with the media. Therefore, the company assembled a crisis team led by Craig Weatherup because he was much familiar with the bottling system. Through effective communications together with FDA support the PepsiCo was capable of eliminating the incident from the public domain in less than two weeks after it started. The reason why the matter was over after a short period is that the company was confident that the reports were hoaxes. For instance, there was no way that so many bottles could be similarly contaminated all over the country, in a short period and be discovered at one time. PepsiCo made a risky decision of not recalling any of their products but instead set out in proving that the allegations were false.

How PepsiCo passed their messages was a practice of classical approach which is often founded on the hierarchy level. For instance, the legitimate powers of PepsiCo leaders successfully controlled the management together with forming an effective communication. Besides, the leaders passed the message through using both formal and informal way which is a practice of human relations approach. Through the combination of the two methods, Blake and Mouton’s Managerial Grid for the human relations approach was used in controlling and organizing the way of communication.

PepsiCo was successful in overcoming the crisis through the use of various communication techniques as well as management power to show the public that the scare was not possible. Therefore, the company assured the public that it does not experience any glitches during the manufacture of its products.  PepsiCo is today one of the biggest manufacturers in the globe and is connected with two hundred countries. Consequently, the company’s profit continues to rise annually. The PepsiCo company response to the situation illustrated how critical it is for any company having a crisis management plan in place. For instance, PepsiCo reacted quickly and effectively to sensitive media reports which could have otherwise proved catastrophic. The crisis management team indicated that the most efficient way of communicating with the company’s constituencies was through the same media which was reporting the hoaxes.

The crisis of the PepsiCo is a clear indication that communication between Pepsi together with its own internal and external public were valid because the PR department disclosed all the information to every individual as it is required. The PR department was also able to convince the external public daily that the issue was under control. The communication flow of the PepsiCo should be associated with Blake and Mouton’s Managerial Grid of the human resources approach. The approach maps out various leadership styles compared to others because it is about people and production.