Hypothetico: Public Relations Crisis Management Plan

Introduction

Hypothetico is one of the countries in Europe who has a very big beef producing industry. The country produces almost 18% of the World’s total beef (Lummus, Vokurka and Alber 2008). But suddenly the country is facing a situation that the country has never faced before. The event has left the country’s beef producing community in shock. There is some news in media that in a place of Hypothetico, the cattle is affected by the “Mad Cow Disease” or which is generally known as “the Bovine spongiform encephalopathy” (Nottage 2009). The disease has been seen in a small beef cattle property in a dead cow’s body and it is slowly affecting all the cattle of the area slowly. It is also been reported that this type of BSE has never seen before in the History of the disease.

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Background: What is the Bovine spongiform encephalopathy?

The Bovine spongiform encephalopathy is a fatal, nervous disease seen in the cattle. It generally affects the brain and the nervous system by causing a spongy degeneration. Generally, the disease has in incubation period of almost four years before attacking the animal. All of the breeds of cow are susceptible in this disease. It is believed by the scientists that the disease can easily be transmitted to people who eats the affected cow’s meat.

Once transmitted to the body of a human the disease is generally called as “New Variant Creutzfeldt- Jakob Disease”. Britain was once the worst affected countries from the mad cow disease and once 179000 cattle had been diagnosed with the disease and more that 4 million cattle was slaughter for protection of the population (Woodhead 2008). But it could not control the deaths of people in the country. In the year 2009, at least 170 people were killed from the disease in Britain only. The scientists believe that the number will rise as the disease has its incubation period for 4 years (Peijuan, Ting and Pang 2009).

Beef is a vital part of the human food chain and if, anyhow the mad cow disease infects the beef than the disease will affect the human population too. The herbivores cattle mainly cause the epidemic. Some times, they were given the “Meat and Bone Meal” (Watson & Noble 2007), and it is discovered that the infectious agents of the disease come from the meal. However, the origin of the disease is still unknown to the scientists. Also the infected protein supplements that the small cubs eat are another direct cause of the disease too.

The general effect on Beef Industry

If a country discovers that its cattle is suffering from the Mad Cow Disease than the direct effect of the disease generally goes to the beef industry of the country. In earlier cases, it has been seen that countries that produce beef really suffered economic set backs when they faced with the BSE.

In this case, we can give some examples. United States exports beef to Japan (for example, in 2003, U.S.A. has imported $1.4 billions of beef in Japan). On 23rd December, 2003, the first example of BSE discovered in U.S.A. and immediately Japan stopped the beef import from the United States. Japan again allowed U.S.A. to import beef only in December 2005, but this time that had made the rules and regulations for the supply much higher (Peijuan, Ting and Pang 2009). Other than Japan, more than 65 countries of the World had banned the beef from United States at that time. The disease also affected the Britain heavily too.

The case of Hypothetico

This is the first time when Hypothetico has recorded BSE in the country. The infection is seen in only a part of the country, and the Government officials are unsure of the fact that how the disease entered into the country. They are trying to find the cause of the disease and they are also trying to cure the disease. There are reports that the country has made enormous efforts to ensure the infected material must not contaminate the domestic food supply of the country and it has stopped the export of beef. All the beef that has been meant to export is free from any type of contamination. But for security reason and their responsibility to the customers, the country has decided that they will not export beef until the whole disease is eradicated from the country (Smith 2006).

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Hypothetico is aware of the fact that there were recent outbreaks of the mad cow disease in the countries like United States of America, Germany and United Kingdom, and they will closely follow all the procedures that these countries had taken when the cattle of these countries were affected by the mad cow disease.

The Public Relations Crisis Management Plan

The Hypothetico beef industry is suffering from a difficult crisis and they need all the efforts from the public relations of the beef industry to bring them back the position they enjoyed in the beef import market. It is clear that once it is out in the press that their beef industry is facing grave trouble from the mad cow disease they must focus on the eradication of the disease. In addition, to win back the confidence of their customers they must be clear in the approach. We devised some steps that can be taken in this point of time (Regester 2005).

Firstly, they must thoroughly examine the total cattle of their country and properly identify the animals that are suffering from the disease and the disease can affect those in future. After the identification, these diseased animals must be quarantined according to the processes.

Justification of the step: This is one of the very important steps in this case. If once, the infected animals are identified than they must be quarantined and it reduces the chance for a further out break of the Mad Cow Disease in the area, and it will help to save the lives of other cattle who are not suffering from the disease.

Recommended Approach: The Government will have to form special teams consisting of scientists, people who are specialized in the diseases of the cattle, and other research workers who research on the subject, to identify the infected animals. Once the animals are identified than they must be killed and the dead bodies must be destroyed. The bodies must be burned and not buried. If the bodies are buried than the virus can easily reproduce in the soil and can come back again in the future, while if the carcasses are burned than the chance is completely eliminated (Pickett 2005).

Secondly, these quarantine process must be recorded properly.

Justification of the step: If the process is recorded than the country will have solid records in their hand that they have taken adequate steps to control and prevent the disease. The documents will help them to answer any question which can develop in future about Hypothetico’s stand in the time of the mad cow disease (Gordon 2008).

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Recommended Approach: Along with the research crew, the government must send television crews to record the proceedings. They can also allow the media to record the quarantine process. Then the media will televise the news throughout the World and it will surely take the attention of the viewers and the readers.

Thirdly, after the quarantine process the Government will have to start promoting that the beef is safe in Hypothetico and it is free from any infections.

Justification of the step: It is the general psychology of the people to panic after they hear about the mad cow disease in Hypothetico’s it will be necessary to remove the panic from the mind of the people. In addition, for doing this the Government and the companies both have to work together (Gordon 2008).

Recommended Approach: In this case, the involved party that is the Government and also the concerned companies will have to use the media intelligently. At first, they have to issue statements that their beef is free from any type of contaminations and diseases. They have to use all the available media sources like television, newspaper, radio and internet. They even have to shoot small video pieces in the beef factories and even rope in some popular figures to say that the beef is completely healthy for their health. This will be helpful to promote the business (Holmes 2002).

A Print Media Release Sample

We, the Beef Makers Hypothetico, are now proudly relaunching our special beef products. It is known to all that in the past few months, due to some really annoying problems, we had stopped to produce the beef that was the trademark of our company. Now, every thing is back to the normal and we are ready to serve the people as earlier. However, there is some thing more in our offering. We have added some more products along with the beef. We are also opening some restaurant counters in where you can get tasty meals, especially made from our products in very reasonable rates (Peijuan, Ting and Pang 2009).

We are always bound to our customers and we promise them to deliver the best things in the cheapest prices. And we will always respect that. The company will accept any grievances of the customers in its 24 hour toll free helpline number, mentioned in the packets of their products.

SWOT Analysis

Along with the situational analysis generally comes SWOT analysis. It helps the company to understand the strength, weakness, opportunities and threats to the proposal or the decisions that have been made for managing the crisis the organization is facing. SWOT analysis is a very important part in any type of corporate planning and so it is invaluable in Crisis management too (Hutt and Speh 2001).

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Here in this case, it is really one of the most important aspects. We can divide it into four parts for the sake of discussion.

  • Strength: The strength of the company lies in its goodwill. The company has to know that there will always be some dedicated customers of their products and they will always buy there products. The company also has to know that the mad cow disease has affected other companies too. So, all of them are in crisis. To gain the competitive edge in the market the company has to use this time for later developments (Koontz and Weihrich 1994).
  • Weakness: During the time, the company will suffer considerable amount of loss.
  • Opportunity: The Company will have the opportunity of starting all over again and they will also have the chance of getting openings in some new markets they have never ventured before and also they can start some new business concepts.
  • Threat: There is always the threat of new competitors entering the market. In addition, there are the threats of the existing companies (Hutter and Power 2005).

The Target Audience

Every company has a certain target audience in their mind and they always try to retain the audience. They are the most valuable part of the company. And in the case of the beef industry, it has also a big export value. So the companies have to keep a look on the countries they are exporting the products. Let us discuss the kind of customers for the companies.

  1. Domestic – Generally, if the company is based in a developed nation than the domestic customers become the main customers of the company. Nevertheless, the thing is changed in the course of the companies based on the developing countries. They generally base their products based on the needs of their foreign clients and the upper middle class and the high-class society of the country.
  2. International: On the other hand, the situation changes for the international clients. As discussed in the pre4vious paragraph, the priorities change in the case of developing and developed countries.
  3. Export: A country earns foreign money from the export of its industries and this is one of the most important aspects of from the points of view of both a company and a country (Lambert 2008).

For the beef producing industry, the exporting countries are generally the first world countries and Hypothetic has to be always very careful about what they are producing and exporting.

Plan

We can discuss the final plan of the beef industry of Hypothetic in several steps:

  1. After the discovery of the mad cow disease in the country, the officials of the Government and the companies must work together to identify the infected animals and eliminate them.
  2. After the quarantine of the animals they must ensure that no other animals are infected with the disease.
  3. They must find why the infection and disease came to the country and they also have to take proper steps for ensuring that these type of deadly diseases must not enter in the country again.
  4. The country must have response teams. The teams must contain doctors, experts and other people who can handle this type of emergencies with efficiency.
  5. The Government must handle the situation efficiently (Peijuan, Ting and Pang 2009).
  6. They will also have to look for the general people of the country and they must always ensure that the common people must not be panicked in any case.
  7. The media of the country will have to take some responsible steps. The media will have to televise the processes by which they are quarantining the cattle and all the steps that they are taking to get out of the trouble. They can even televise the complicated process of manufacturing the beef (Loosemore, Dainty and Lingard 2003).
  8. All the newspapers, magazines and television have to be a part of the campaign in which Hypothetico will show that the beef produced there is safe.
  9. They must learn about the strict health inspections of the countries they will send the meat, and must perform before the meat is packaged in papers.
  10. These steps can help the beef making industry to come back in its past glory.

Conclusion

It is seen in the Hypothetico case that management of risk constitutes one of the most important managerial activities in a project and project mangers often are required to meticulously design and implement a risk management strategy. The fundamental principle underlying each business venture is to generate value for all stakeholders. The rationale underlying the design and implementation of a risk management framework is to provide the administration with a means to cope with the randomness linked with the risks and opportunities.

Project managers identify, analyze and determine the risks and uncertainties associated with a certain business venture and provide a detailed report to the top management of the company. An integrated risk management framework can prove to be a powerful management instrument which extremely valuable abilities. The fundamental data collecting instrument was a carefully designed open questionnaire which was meticulously designed to procure the views of the respondents about an environmentally conscious sustainable management strategy and thereby analysing the role of a project manager in the process of environmental risk management (Gordon 2008).

Thus, crisis management and risk management is the identification and assessment of risks that can be happen in any endeavor and successful risk management means only to minimize these factors. The companies along with crisis management must consider risk management as an integral part of their body. With correct crisis management measures and innovative public relations strategies, one can minimize the risk opportunities of an organization. This will only contribute to the development of the company.

References

Gordon, D. (2008). Managing Project Risk: Best Practices for Architects and Related Professionals. New York: John Wiley and Sons.

Holmes, A. (2002). Risk Management. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Hutt, M., and Speh, T. (2001) Business Marketing Management: A Strategic View of Industrial and Organizational Markets. Philadelphia: Harcourt Collage Publishers.

Hutter, B., & Power, M. (2005). Organizational encounters with risk. London: Cambridge University Press.

Koontz, H., and Weihrich, H., (1994). Management: A Global Perspective. NY: McGraw-Hill, International Editions.

Lambert, D. (2008). Fundamentals of Crisis Management. Boston, MA: Irwin/McGraw-Hill.

Loosemore, M., Dainty, A and Lingard, H. (2003). Management in Construction Projects: Strategic and Operational Approaches, London: Routledge.

Lummus, R. R., Vokurka, R. J., and Alber, K. L. (2008). “Strategic supply chain planning”. Production and Inventory Management Journal 66(3), 49-58.

Nottage, L. (2009). Corporate Governance in the 21st Century: Japan’s Gradual Transformation. New York: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Peijuan, C., Ting, L.P. & Pang, A. (2009). Mad Cow Disease: Managing a nation’s image during crisis. Public Relations Review 35(2009), 213–218.

Pickett, K. (2005). Auditing: the risk management process. New York: Wiley.

Regester, M. (2005). Risk issues and crisis management a casebook of best practice. LA: Kogan.

Smith, D.R. (2006). Strategic planning for public Crisis management. London: Routledge.

Watson, T. & Noble, P. (2007). Evaluating Public Relations: A Best Practice Guide to Public Relations Planning, Research and Evaluation. NY: Kogan Page Publishers.

Woodhead, R.M. (2008). The conditioning effect of objective decision-making on the client’s capital proposal. Architectural Management 7(3), 300-306.

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