Coca Cola India Pesticide Allegations Discussion

200-250 words Discussion response
The key problems that Gupta should focus on in the short term are the safety and quality standards of Coca-Cola as well as gaining constituent trust back. Coca-Cola had several issues pertaining to safety prior to the incident in India for example Belgium 1999 when 250 people became sick after drinking coke and Kinley Bottle water 2003 showing evidence of pesticides.(Argenti 2016) The crisis in India was not a first for coke and if it isn’t taken seriously it won’t be the last. Coca-Cola has not provided proof of their world wide quality and as a consumer i’m inclined to believe their drinks do contain pesticides. The short and long term requirement is to ensure the overall safety of their consumers. Communication in the long term needs to be better in order for consumers to trust that Coca-Cola intends to take quality more seriously even if they always have.
Coke’s communication has a history of being delayed when a crisis hits which means that they didn’t access the risk within their organization. Instead of identifying potential crisis, setting communication objectives for the crisis and assigning teams to the issues they wait and hope that the problems will fade away. (Argenti 2016 p 277) Communication should be early and often, the pesticides findings could cause threat to health which means a spokesperson should be providing accurate information as soon as possible. They must control the situation at all times or at the least appear to. When communicating Coke needs to minimize some of their messages to just convey information to those people affected (consumers, employees). Even if the news is bad they need to communicate all the information they have that the people may need, honesty is a responsibility.
The key constituents are the consumers, media and employees. Coca-Cola needs to tell the honest truth about their findings and what they plan to do in order to meet safety standards. Coke could have avoided the crisis if they had taken their previous situations seriously and actually changed. It is no mere coincidence that they are constantly linked to pesticide issues. Gupta could have spoken to the public immediately and worked to make healthy positive changes. Had proper risk management been utilized to access the possible risks to the company they could have at least been prepared for the fall out that was guaranteed to take place once again.
References
Bovet, S. F. (1994). Communicating foreign crises; panel debates best approach.
The Public Relations Journal, 50(2), 4. Retrieved from
https://saintleo.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.saintleo.idm.oclc.org/docview/195928287?accountid=4870
Argenti, P. A. (2016). Corporate Communication. (7th ed). New York, NY. McGraw-Hill Education.
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200-250 words discussion response
How well-prepared was Coke India to deal with the CSE’s allegations?
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200-250 word discussion
In the short term, Sanjiv Gupta should focus on reassuring consumers that Coca-Cola products are safe. Argenti (2016) states, “a survey conducted in Delhi a few days after the CSE announcement found that a majority of consumers believed the findings were correct and agreed with Parliament’s move to ban the sale of soft drinks. The $1 billion Indian soft drink market was at stake, and Gupta had to act” (p. 281-283). In the long term Sanjiv Gupta should focus on making plans to avoid another crisis. According to step 8 of communication during a crisis, Argenti (2016) states, “After a crisis, corporate communication executives should work with other managers to ensure the organization will be even better prepared the next time it faces a crisis” (p. 279).
The key constituents in this crisis are first the consumers, who feel their safety is at risk. Secondly, are the Coca-Cola employees who may feel that this crisis may impact them. Sanjiv Gupta even refers to this in a published statement he made at the time, “Recent allegations have caused unnecessary panic among consumers in India, and if unchecked, would impair our business in India and impact the livelihoods of our thousands of employees across the country” (As cited in Argenti 2016 p. 296). Other key constituents would be investors and shareholders who seen drastic decreases in sales. Argenti (2016) points out, “Sales had dropped by 30-40 percent in only two weeks” (p. 281). Using the media would be the best way for Coca-Cola to communicate with their consumers due to the broad range it can reach. However, direct communication would be more effective with their employees, investors, and shareholders. Speaking directly with these constituents would allow Coca-Cola to show them that they are on top of this crisis and relieve any questions or concerns that they might have.
I think Coca-Cola India could have avoided this crisis if they would have decided to go beyond India’s standards for pesticide levels in drinks. According to Gentleman (2006), “Standards for pesticide levels in drinks have been agreed on in India but never made a legal requirement” (Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/22/business/worldbusiness/22iht-coke.2562750.html). I think Coca-Cola took advantage of this and rather than meeting the bare minimum requirements, they could have chosen to follow the standards set by the European Economic Commission (EEC) from the beginning.
Argenti, P. A. (2016). Corporate Communication. (7th ed). New York, NY. McGraw-Hill Education.
Gentleman, A. (2006). Pesticides Allegations Trip Up Coke and Pepsi. Business International Herald Tribune. (Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/22/business/worldbusiness/22iht-coke.2562750.html).
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