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Clever use of YouTube in crisis management

By Benjamin Haslem

Kleinpeter Farms Dairy, based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has been dealing with a crisis over the taste of its milk products for a number of months.

Consumers had been returning the company's products en masse, complaining about a "funny taste" and issues with the milk going off before the expiration date stamped on containers.

Despite hiring consultants, replacing equipment, firing staff and a invoving a dairy scientist, the problem
continued. This was serious issue for the brand.

Once the issue was solved, CEO Jeff Kleinpeter posted a message on YouTube explaining the problem and the
solution.

What I like about the video is that Jeff explains his personal hands-on involvement and his knowledge of the factory's processes, built up working "on equipment around the dairy since I was a kid".

"So I'm pretty good at spotting problems," he says.

Jeff tells viewers he "personally started conducting inspections at all hours of the day and night and sure enough one morning at 2am we found the problem".

This approach demonstrates the CEO is prepared to take responsibility not just for the problem but for finding the solution.

Further, Jeff is filmed on the factory floor, a stack of milk crates behind him.

This ticks all the crisis management boxes, though it does fall down on one aspect: Jeff leaves the apology and acceptance of personal responsibility until the very end.

If he'd thrown in the mea culpa from the go, viewers would have been more receptive to his messages.

Nevertheless, he covers all the other bases: an admission of fault; an explanation of what happened and what measures have been taken to prevent a future occurrence; details on how customers and others can seek further information and an emphasis that he was out on the factory floor and not ensconced in mahogany row.

Nice work.

Hat tip Jonathan & Erik Bernstein for this.