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Why was the Snow polluted? A blind spot for the Japanese top milk product company, Snow Brand. Shizuko Ota and Akie Kikuchi Advisor: Dr. Brenda J. Wrigley, APR College of Communication Arts & Sciences Michigan State University. History of Snow Brand.

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why was the snow polluted a blind spot for the japanese top milk product company snow brand

Why was the Snow polluted?A blind spot for the Japanese top milk product company, Snow Brand

Shizuko Ota and Akie Kikuchi

Advisor: Dr. Brenda J. Wrigley, APR

College of Communication Arts & Sciences

Michigan State University

history of snow brand
History of Snow Brand
  • Started in 1925 as a sales guild for dairy products in Hokkaido
  • Kendo-Kenmin: “Spirit of Establishment”
  • Incorporated as Snow Brand Milk Products Co., Ltd. in 1955
  • Lessons of Yakumo
  • Rise to the Top -- Strong Technology and Brand Equity
sequence of the food poisoning event

June 27

a.m.

lFirst phone call from a victim’s family reached Snow Brand West Japan Branch

lOsaka City Hall received several reports about food poisoning

June 28

a.m.

p.m.

evening

l Snow Brand general stockholders meeting at Sapporo, Hokkaido

lOn-site investigation of Osaka plant by Osaka City Hall

lOsaka City Hall asked Snow Brand to conduct a recall

June 29

8 a.m.

2 p.m.

4 p.m.

9:45 p.m.

  • lThe recall of the production was decided in Sapporo
  • lExecutives decide to make a public announcement
  • lPress conference by Osaka City Hall to report the food poisoning case of Snow Brand
  • lPress conference by Snow Brand West Japan Branch
Sequence of the food poisoning event
sequence of the food poisoning event1

July 1

a.m.

p.m.

lSnow Brand confirmed the existence of contaminated valve in Osaka plant on June 29, but did not report it at the first press conference.

lThe CEO, Ishikawa, attended the second press conference of the day.

l Osaka Plant was shut down

l 6,121 victims were reported

July 4

lSnow Brand published an official announcement in the newspapers

lAll products made by the Osaka plant were recalled

l 9,394 victims were reported

July 5

lNumber of victims exceeded 10,000

July 6

l The CEO, Ishikawa, resigned

July 11

l Snow Brand announced 21 plants nationwide were shut down

Sequence of the food poisoning event
sequence of the food poisoning event2

Aug. 4

l The new CEO, Nishi, takes over. He held a press conference and explained the rebuilding plan of the company

Aug. 18

lTaiki plant in Hokkaido was pointed out as one source for food poisoning

Aug. 19

lHokkaido government and Prefecture police conducted an on-site investigation of Taiki plant

Aug. 23

l Snow Brand admitted contaminated skim milk was shipped from Taiki plant before the food poisoning outbreak

Sep. 26

l Snow Brand released the business reconstruction plan

March 31

l Snow Brand reported fiscal deficit

Sequence of the food poisoning event
business problems
Business Problems
  • A gigantic top brand

Supported by

      • high level of manufacturing control process
      • Image of its birthplace, Hokkaido

Suffered from

      • Competition as a top brand
      • Inertia as a top brand
communication problems
Communication Problems
  • Physical Factors

Segmentation of Information Channels

      • 4 Branches & 6 Regional Offices
      • Media Relations
communication problems1
Communication Problems
  • Structural Factors

Personnel and Communication Strategy

      • Generalist-oriented vs. Specialist-oriented
      • Lack of Internal Communication
communication problems2
Communication Problems
  • Cultural Factors

Japanese Culture

      • Collectivism
      • Uncertainty Avoidance
      • Harmonization
slide10

Ideal Situation

Two-way symmetrical communication

Snow Brand as a Giant Brand

Public

PR function as a boundary spanner

Excellent External Communication

Influence

Effective Internal Communication

Feedback

Public Relations

slide11

Real Situation – Background of the food poisoning

No two-way communication

Snow Brand as a Giant Brand

Credibility toward the brand

Public

Pressure, Arrogance, Overconfidence

PR dysfunction

External Communication

No collaboration

Internal Communication

Public Relations

slide12

Real Situation – Under the food poisoning

Snow Brand as a Giant Brand

Furor over the breach of credibility

Public

No communication

Stitching-up, Slow responses, no capability to control the event

PR dysfunction

Weak External Communication

  • Dysfunctional Intelligence sharing
    • Organizational Structure
    • Overvalue of profession
    • Cultural background

Induction

  • Lack of accurate information
  • Failures in the press conferences
  • Lack of media training
  • Undervalue of Public Relations

Ineffective Internal Communication

No feedback

Public Relations