In August, Mylan Pharmaceutical raised prices on its epinephrine autoinjector, the EpiPen, and since then, it has been mired in an extended PR crisis. Throughout, CEO Heather Bresch has remained on the defensive, first with parents of children with allergies, then the media, Congress, and most recently, its competitors.
National and local broadcast news shows have covered each development in the unfolding story, often to the disadvantage of the pharmaceutical company. A visual and widely watched medium, television can be very effective at stoking emotions. As the Mylan EpiPen crisis shows, broadcast clips of interviews with frustrated parents and graphics illustrating steep prices rises can damage efforts to communicate major changes.
One way to get ahead of a PR crisis and manage important announcements successfully is to use a broadcast media monitoring tool. PR teams can use it to set strategy as well as determine which steps are needed to mitigate the crisis. Here’s how.
1. Plan for Potential Objections
In the first stage of campaign planning, evaluating the success and failure of previous campaigns can help PR pros identify and plan for potential objections. Valuable lessons can be gleaned from the experiences of companies that have taken similar actions in the past. For example, two pharmaceutical companies - Turing and Valeant - made pricing announcements in the months prior to Mylan.
Using a broadcast media monitoring tool, PR pros can find and review relevant segments to understand what worked and what went wrong. From this research, they can gain an understanding of how the media and public may react to their announcement, develop more effective talking points, and prepare spokespeople for a particular journalist’s interview style.
2. Monitor Public Reaction
When reaction to a news announcement is overwhelmingly negative, as it has been in Mylan’s case, C-suite executives may need to re-evaluate business strategy. As criticism of the drug’s price increase swelled, Mylan’s CEO responded by quickly embarking on a media tour to introduce new cost-cutting programs for its EpiPen.
Broadcast media monitoring can help brands and their boards gauge the depth of criticism. And because PR pros can search and review relevant coverage moments after airing, decisions can be made early to shift or even reverse strategic direction. As social media commentary grows, media monitoring can be used to give context as it largely drives public outcry on the internet.
3. Evaluate for Message Clarity
Early broadcast segments showed a strong negative reaction to Mylan’s price increase, a sign that Mylan’s initial messages were not having the desired effect. A broadcast media monitoring tool makes it possible for PR pros to compare news broadcasts across the country and determine how pervasive the lack of understanding is. Most importantly, it can help them understand why the messaging isn’t working and what can be done to fix it.
4. Anticipate the Next Wave of Crisis
As media and public furor over Mylan increased, it drew the attention of political candidates and the U.S. Congress. As the media sought the opinions of elected officials, it became clear that Mylan would be subject to Congressional scrutiny, thus extending their crisis. PR pros and executives can use broadcast media monitoring to analyze and track trends, giving them a line of sight into potential shifts in the conversation.
Avoiding or navigating a PR crisis isn’t easy, but a broadcast media monitoring tool can help PR pros develop a more effective communications plan, reduce the risk of tricky announcements, and get ahead of PR crises. Request a free trial to learn how media monitoring can benefit your organization.