When a crisis hits, it is crucial for a brand or company to respond in a prompt, intelligent manner to maintain a positive reputation in the eyes of the public. Even in the realm of positive crisis communications, however, it’s still possible to differentiate between efforts that simply get the job done and approaches that set the bar a bit higher.


In the case of organic food company Amy’s Kitchen, the actions around a recent recall demonstrated that the company was unwilling to settle for the usual crisis management tricks. This in turn proved to make all the difference in redefining a potentially harmful incident for the brand.


In the comments on Amy's Kitchen's announcement of the recall on Facebook, the company responds to consumers one-by-one to offer personalized answers to questions (facebook.com)

In the comments on Amy’s Kitchen’s announcement of the recall on Facebook, the company responds to consumers one-by-one to offer personalized answers to questions (facebook.com)

The voluntary recall, which affected around 74,000 frozen food items, was initiated under the suspicion of Listeria-tainted spinach. However, the way that the recall was handled from the onset made it difficult to ever see Amy’s Kitchen in a negative light.


It is worth noting that the recall was entirely voluntary and in no way associated to an outbreak of illnesses related to the food items in question. Beyond that, however, it is essential to recognize the level of transparency that surrounded the recall — a level of transparency we don’t often see from brands in times of crisis. Not only did the company launch amysrecall.com, a website meant to share details and official statements regarding the recall with consumers, but it also made detailed announcements to consumers via social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter.


These actions alone reflect exemplary crisis management, yet Amy’s Kitchen took their efforts even further by responding individually to all inquiries and comments received either online or via email or telephone with a personalized response.


The amount of time and attention that goes into managing a crisis the way that Amy’s Kitchen has chosen to is not something to be taken lightly. As the crisis continued to unfold, Amy’s Kitchen made it clear with each action and decision that the company’s primary priority is not a matter of efficiency or of defending public image; Amy’s primary priority is, and will continue to be, its consumers.


How do you think Amy’s Kitchen’s approach to crisis management managed to turn a moment of crisis into an opportunity to demonstrate positive values and loyalty to consumers? Share your thoughts below or tweet me @tamarahoumi