Responding to a Crisis – Sling Manufacturers

A coroner has raised concerns over the use of slings following the death of a 36 day old baby. The report as relayed in The Guardian urges caution. But if you’re a sling manufacturer, how should you respond to such negative publicity?

In the first instance, you need to deliver safety guidelines for all existing and new customers…

  1. Produce a Sling Safety Guide
    1. A short online video that parents can access anytime to reassuring them they are using your product correctly. It should demonstrate the different wrapping techniques and how to position baby. It should also include different size babies.
    2. Consider supplying this as a free DVD with every product sold
    3. Produce a pictorial visual aid showing correct and incorrect positions
  1. Publish the Safety Guidelines of the UK Consortium if Sling Manufacturers and Retailers – known as TICKS are:
    1. Tight
    2. In view at all times
    3. Close enough to kiss
    4. Keep chin off chest
    5. Supported Back
    6. Prepare a crisis management plan – should the worst happen, you need to be prepared
      1. Have a detailed company overview, including key facts and figures. By giving the press correct information, it prevents them seeking what could be incorrect information from alternative sources.
      • When was the company formed, by who, when
      • Details of each of the products – fabric, where sourced, how made, by whom, safety checks, testing, how many sold, where sold
      • Details of safety information issued with each product
      • Turnover
      • Product images
      • 24 hour contact number and email – try and have all enquiries going through one source and log all enquiries.
      • Respond quickly, efficiently and even if you have nothing to say, stay in touch to say ‘You’re waiting for xx and will make a statement/respond/come back to them at that time.’ (Manage expectations)
      • New information can come to light at any time so be prepared to respond
      • Take control of social media.  Keep your message consistent and direct people to the press statement and facts – do not speculate online.
      • Useful contacts e.g. UK Consortium of Sling Manufacturers where they can find information about the industry as a whole
      • Issue a press statement asap –this can be quite short, but do not speculate
      • Do you need to recall the product? Do you know how you would do that?

      Hopefully you’ll never need to access your crisis management file, but if you do, you’re prepared! Pulling together detailed information under pressure will lead to mistakes and only damage your brand further.

      It takes on average 21 hours for a company to respond to a crisis.  In a world where social media is a click away, that leaves you dangerously open to trial by twitter!


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