We had a manufacturing client that were causing a bit of a stink. With a local vigilante group kicking up a storm, threatening all sorts and involving the region’s media, we needed to take the heat out of the situation and safeguard the company’s reputation.
First and foremost, our goal was to help contain the situation. Across a period of six weeks, we worked closely with the client to respond in a calm and respectful way, creating forums to listen to the community anxieties, responding thoroughly but fairly, and briefing key stakeholders such as local ward councillors, the local MP and the city council.
We monitored, but did not engage with, residents’ social media groups on Facebook and Twitter, so that we knew what was being said at all times about the situation.
Once we knew the lay of the land, it was important to get the client to resolve the issue. They made further investment in odour control and went to great lengths to overcome the problem. We then communicated this via local media and directly to local residents.
On a number of occasions, the heat was taken out of local media stories initiated by local residents by briefing journalists on the actions taken by the client, effectively closing down the claims. A dedicated phone line and email was also set up to handle residents’ concerns, and we provided the team with the key messaging needed to respond.
Over the project period, the story was contained, the client solved the problem, and the story fizzled out with the company reputation intact. Success never smelt so sweet.