A Fortune 500 packaging company was deeply concerned about the reputational and financial risk of emerging product safety issues across its food, beverage and health and beauty business lines. There was a strong desire to develop a communications strategy that would position the company ahead of any potential crisis while deepening its understanding of the threat and how to address potential vulnerabilities.
Hillenby developed and executed an intense, research-based program that engaged internal corporate decision-makers and external experts to deepen understanding of critical issues, build key influential relationships and mitigate the reputational risk.
Landscape Analysis: Hillenby conducted a deep, quantitative and qualitative influence analysis to understand the nuances of the issue, where the company stood, where competitors stood, who was driving the conversation and where to expect support or opposition. Key categories of influencers reviewed included associations and NGOs, academics, think tanks and the media.
Internal Support-Building: We worked with the client to brief internal decision-makers and identify champions from key departments across the organization to partner with for outreach efforts, lending credibility internally and externally.
Influencer Engagement: We secured and prepped the client for one-on-one meetings with academics, advocacy groups and other leaders identified as the most influential experts in the U.S. and globally on the issue.
Findings Report: The client published an industry-first report on the issue that included insights from the influencer meetings and shared the finding with customers and other business stakeholders.
The company has ongoing relationships with the most influential experts — some of whom could have been potential critics — on the issue both in the U.S. and globally. The client considers this to be a competitive advantage due to the size and volatility of the risk and with the knowledge that competitors are not taking steps to prepare. Internal department briefings have also taken place and efforts are underway to develop off-the-shelf business solutions for potential crises. Influencers will be engaged in this process both for their expertise and third-party validation of the efforts.
“Hillenby demystified the complex landscape around a group of issues that represented serious reputational and business risk. Just as important, they worked with us to lay out a path forward that turned what had been a challenge into a competitive advantage for our company.”
Senior Communications Executive of Fortune 500 Packaging Client