Communication can be defined as the act of transmitting information. Effective communication is a two way process. Information that flows back and forth between sender and receiver is considered effective (Clark 2003). For example, an organization communicates to their publics and then begins to look for feedback from their customers to ensure that everyone understands the message. Sometimes the feedback is not verbal and organizations can only measure the effectiveness by analyzing consumers' actions (Clark 2003). Some companies have a great understanding of their customers and excel with effective communication. One such company is Johnson & Johnson. The purpose of this paper is to present a case study analysis on Tylenol's crisis management plan and analyze how effective they were with communicating to their publics.
Back in September 1982 and over a three-day period, six people died in the Chicago area (Bell, n.d.). Normally this is not a rare occurrence. However, the police department thought something was not a right. For among the six people, three of them were from the same family and they all died during the same timeframe (Bell, n.d.). It was quickly discovered that all three family members died of cyanide poisoning (Bell, n.d.). A search of the home revealed a bottle of Tylenol extra strength capsules, which had the poisoning added into the pills (Bell, n.d.). One of the earlier deaths was quickly linked to the same type of medication and it was determined not to be an isolated incident (Bell, n.d.). In all, eight people died from the Tylenol capsules that were laced with 65 milligrams of cyanide (Susi, 2002). The amount of cyanide that was put into each pill was enough cyanide to kill 10,000 people (Susi, 2002). When Johnson & Johnson got the news that their product was the cause of all the deaths, the organization was faced with a crisis management situation.