Crisis Communication addresses the process of managing a crisis situation, by roping in measures to counter the ill-effects of the situation. Crisis communication helps in analyzing the detriments and then working on the strengths, while also accentuating the positives. It helps in limiting, restricting and then, countering the negatives achieved during the crisis. Hence, it is a very important function for any organization. This paper is an attempt to analyse the Crisis Communication Strategy for one of the leading stores in Britain---John Lewis.
John Lewis the retail store that is one of the most popular ones, in Britain. The store has been functional since 1864 and hence, it carries a legacy, robust management and a favourable position amongst the masses. The retail stores are extremely popular, and has branches in almost every city in the country. John Lewis has an employee base of 60,000 employees and hence, is a huge organization.
With the level of popularity and the size of the organization, the stakes are rather high for John Lewis when it comes to handling situations that could be detrimental to its image. Crises situations in the past have occurred. For instance, once there was an instance when fire broke out and the retail company had to handle the situation by developing a good communication plan, to balance and fill in the lacunae.
The crisis situation we can take up, is that of a new product launch and its consequent withdrawal. A company invests a large amount of planning, efforts, finance and publicity in the launching of a new product. However, when it is required to be taken off the shelves, it is indeed a crisis situation for the company, since it entails the handling of the stakeholders' interests, besides the financial community and also, the general public who procure a bad image of the company.
The situation in John Lewis is the same, and hence, a robust crisis communication plan needs to be chalked out. For this, one must first look at the aims and objectives of the plan:
Firstly, the main objective is to reach out to the stake holders, to ensure them that their interests are not at stake and is in the process of betterment.
Secondly, it involves reaching out to the masses and delivering the exact scenario, while dispelling myths or apprehensions and ensuring that the company will be back with a bang, with their support.
Thirdly, it is to convey to the media, the exact problem, the manner in which it is being solved and how the company is concerned about returning back to the grind, in all positivity.
For John Lewis, the policy statement for the addressing of the crisis would be, the revealing of the exact reason behind withdrawal of the product. The product here is a new kitchenware. The appliance is an electrical water heater that can also turn hard water into soft