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ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS AFRAID OF YOU?

I’ll admit it, when I saw the headline about the woman contracting ovarian cancer from a Johnson & Johnson product, the image that instantly popped into my head was of the baby bath products I have, right now, sitting on the edge of my kids’ bathtub.

 

Did I need to read more to hear the other side? OR, should I start a lifelong ban on all Johnson & Johnson products? I didn’t have to look far to find out I wasn’t alone in debating which bath product brand should be my new go-to.

 

“Johnson & Johnson” was a trending term on Twitter last Wednesday morning, and social sentiment regarding the company declined to its lowest levels in the past year, according to a Thomson Reuters social media sentiment analysis index. In reaction to a fact sheet posted on the Johnson & Johnson website, one consumer said:

“I’ve been using Johnson and Johnson powder since I was born. I’m terrified now to use the talc powder despite these assurances … On a personal note, I feel deeply betrayed by this company, which I associated with care and comfort. To read reports that executives knew of a causal link between talc and ovarian cancer as early as the 1980s leaves me saddened and distressed.” –Looking for alternatives, February 25, 2016 at 7:15 a.m.

The Johnson & Johnson lawsuit news is coming in the same week that a Tommee Tippee sippy cup story has lit up social media with consumers finding mold in the lids of their children’s cups. But unlike so many others, this company has come out quickly to address consumer concerns head on. According to POPSUGAR, Tommee Tippee said:

 

“Child health and well-being is at the heart of everything we do, and we’re taking the current concerns around our Sippee cups very seriously. We want everyone to be happy with our products, and we always want to exceed expectations. We’ve therefore listened to our customers and will be launching a new Sippee cup in the next few months.”

 

In the meantime, the company has offered to send consumers a transparent valve to give parents confidence the cup is clean every time, or they can select a different cup entirely. This is taking the consumer need for transparency to a whole new (and supersmart) level!

 

We’ve been hearing about consumers craving transparency for many years now, and of course in the face of a very public scandal where real people have been hurt or even killed, it’s imperative not to stonewall or ignore the shifting perceptions. While facts are critical (and seem to always come to light), socially fueled perceptions drive much of the conversation, often leaving consumers, and the brands themselves, more confused about what to do next.

 

So where do we go from here? Beyond the brand’s initial response, rebuilding trust starts as a commitment to understanding newly shifting consumer sentiments about your brand and what can be done to get perceptions back on track. Fortunately, you can tap into a resource like Frank About Women to understand what you can do to repair women’s broken trust.

Cindy Abad Mancheño About the Author
Cindy Abad Mancheño VP, Associate Director of Strategic Planning

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