A peanut butter storm…Crisis Management 101

In the last 2 days, a post has being doing the rounds online showing the Nuteez brand of Peanut butter, with a signed document which is supposed to be from a government department indicating that the Nuteez brand of peanut butter is not fit for human consumption due to a high aflatoxin level.

According to one of today’s local dailies, the batch tested showed that it had a high aflatoxin level, way above the allowable consumable level as per the local standards. It goes ahead to state that the Government has issued a circular for all other batches to be removed from the market and subjected to random sampling.

This is a nightmare for any client/any manufacturer who has products in the market. What are the chances that this could happen to them and what would be the right way to manage the crisis? Nuteez a locally manufactured brand by Jetlak industries has issued a statement saying they await official communication from the government and are currently investigating the purported claim.

So what would be a good way to deal with a crisis like the one affecting Nuteez & Jetlak industries?

5 steps to Good Crisis Communication

  1. Assess the Situation Calmly – What is the issue and how do we solve the situation at hand?
  2. Gather the Troops – Get all the brains together so as to come up with a collective response that works and that helps you commit to your stakeholders on certain timelines.
  3. Don’t Jump to Conclusions – Assess all the different sides to the story. In this case Nuteez needs to establish what the issues are and what the government has prescribed as the way forward. Also dont let feelings get the better of you, work with facts.
  4. Stop and Set – Make sure you take time to craft a response that addresses the concerns of everyone involved.
  5. Get the Facts – What’s the situation, what’s the exposure, who is news going to impact. You cannot build a plan until you have an accurate understanding of the issue.
  6. Assign One Person to Manage the Situation – Ultimately the company should only have one person speaking, so the communication is not disjointed.

Ultimately, companies have been able to endure a crisis and survive through it. My last post on KFC was one such crisis, that the company ultimately was able to overcome.


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