Execution as a PR exercise ?

The TOI reported on the execution of China's former Drugs chief thus (FT reported it differently) : 'China has responded to worldwide criticism about poor quality food and medicine exports by executing its former controller of drugs. Beijing, which is worried about its image as a quality conscious government during the countdown to the Olympic games, also announced a plan to upgrade food safety.'

My reaction is to TOI's version of this story. What a flawed way to react to a tarnished image. Tarnish it further. Sure, the Chinese government must do something about poor quality food and medicine which has lowered its image around the world. But should that involve executing someone even though he/she may be guilty as a perpetrator? Definitely not.

Reminds me of companies that do exactly the same. Follow an act that has tarnished its credibility and image with another that further compounds the problem by tarnishing its image even more. Companies must respond quickly with a credible act when its image takes a beating. The two key words are,

1. Quick
2. Credible

The PR campaign that follows an image problem must be put into effect before the audience has time to register the initial 'image tarnishing issue' and the campaign must be crafted in way that registers credibility all around.

Following the 'pesticide' issue, getting the CEO to drink a bottle of cola before the media, in no way builds credibility in the minds of both media and consumers. What else would the public expect the CEO to do?

Get in a better, credible response. Cadbury managed this better after the 'worm in chocolate' fiasco, though sales were hit badly.


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