Dietary Supplement Manufacturer
The client’s principal product was a remarkable success story in the category and, as such, became a prime target for trial bar litigation and investigative media coverage. At the same time, national and local legislators were threatening to force age restrictions and labeling requirements to the larger category. Negative public opinion toward the category was mounting as a result of publicized litigation that attempted – without supporting facts – to link fatalities to the category and took aim at both the marketing of some competitors that encouraged use with alcohol and the high sugar content of other competitors. The client sought Lumentus’ help to prepare for, and avoid, a potential crisis situation.
We recommended and aligned the following goals for reputation management:
- Inoculate the product by systematically disseminating relevant facts that counteract negative claims
- Validate the safety of the product by creating a series of health- and wellness-related initiatives
- Differentiate from category competitors by focusing on consumption by adult users and other distinctions
- Given the constantly changing landscape, we monitored media reports, social media postings and local legislative activity to ensure we were prepared for each move by journalists and local legislative bodies
- Developed a crisis communications plan, including a “dark” website to be deployed in the event of a crisis
- Developed messaging reinforcing that the product is fully regulated by the FDA as a supplement, is never marketed to children, is not marketed for use with alcohol, contains no sugar or herbal stimulants, clearly labels recommended usage guidelines and benefits from a long safety record
- Developed a virtual news bureau equipped with numerous statements responding to media inquiries from national and local broadcast media, newspapers and consumer review magazines
- Leveraged clinical studies to demonstrate efficacy and safety
- Identified and retained a medical advisory board of M.D.s who were media trained and videotaped delivering key messages
- Drafted white papers to provide background on efficacy claims for key ingredients
- Established relationships with key organizations active in the dialogue around legislative action
- Built a Social Media Reputation Command Center and enlisted influential external bloggers to produce supportive content
- Aided positive brand image via media relations promoting a new product that raised funds for a major charity
While it is impossible to measure negative coverage that Lumentus helped the client avoid, we can point to potentially disastrous stories that ended up being mild in tone:
- A major consumer review magazine barraged the client with requests for comment as part of its analysis of the category. We successfully ensured that the client’s key message points were included in the final piece and negotiated a successful means of conveying highly sensitive information.
- We provided an investigative reporter with factual content about the brand that resulted in muted coverage of what could have been a potentially damaging series.
- We made an M.D. spokesperson available to major national television networks and produced and provided pre-taped video to others to counter potentially negative coverage.
- Countered consistent “junk” science reports by various specious “health and wellness” organizations.
- Created guidelines for media interaction that tempered negative news coverage.