Get Bad News Out Fast – J&J Copes Fast With Mylicon Recall Crisis

Americans suddenly have a case of wanting to find out about recalls.  This welcome trend towards community safety is long overdue, but can create indifference because of familiarity.  Manufacturers and distributors need to be hyper-vigilant about low compliance levels with safety recalls.

Health products giant Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) learned that painful lesson a generation ago when 7 Midwestern consumers died after taking Tylenol that was presumably poisoned.  J&J is now widely lauded for taking true results-focused action during the crisis and even developed a new tamper-proof bottle.  The company is doing the same thing now with trouble in its Mylicon brand.

Mylicon is an over-the-counter medication given to infants who have gas.  The company’s entire brand is built around safety.  The marketing team assures parents that Mylicon is the safe medication for babies.   The safety isn’t the point of this blog.  The brand protection of J&J swinging to action is noteworthy.

(For concerned parents, there are 12,000 units that may have been contaminated. The two lots are Infants’ MYLICON® GAS RELIEF DYE FREE drops non-staining 1 oz. bottles. The product code and lot numbers are 71683791111-1 / SMF007 and 71683791111-1 / SMF008. You can read more at Mylicon’s page about the recall)

The small business marketing issue at hand is to get bad news out fast.  Don’t be Chicken Little, Peter teasing about a wolf or any other children’s character society created as a proxy for impetuous people.  Once you know the facts, though, make sure that the appropriate stakeholders know fast.  If you’re not the boss, bring a solution to your boss and have a backup ready too.  If you’re the boss, you’ve hopefully fostered a safe environment where your employees can tell you bad news.

Nice move from J&J in getting national media attention today.  They preserved their brand’s promise.  Who, after all, doesn’t understand a manufacturing error?  Those are forgivable when an organization acts fast.  Burying the truth and being an ostrich only hastens the brand and possibly the organization’s demise.

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