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Three heated lessons from the Crock-Pot Crisis

Busy families love slow cookers. What's not to love when all you have to do is pile in the meat, vegetables, and herbs, and presto! Eight hours later--dinner.

But recently, the Crock-Pot brand came under some reputation damaging heat.


An episode of America’s beloved TV show, This is Us, showed a faulty slow cooker causing a fire and ultimately the death of one of the show's beloved characters. Emotional fans took aim. They blasted the company on social media. Some even made a show of throwing out their crockpots.

The Unpredictable

The episode blindsided Crock-Pot. No one could have imagined such brand damage could occur from a blip mention on a television show.

Three Lessons Learned

How can you avert such reputation damage in your business?

Here are three take aways from the Crock-Pot Corporation's missteps.

One: Have a presence on social media and monitor your accounts. It’s hard for me to get my head around Crock-Pot not having a Twitter account. Without an account, they didn’t see the immediate backlash. They had to scramble to set up an account and then react to emotional Tweeters. I can think of a few things they could have said early on lessen the impact. Crock-Pot might have immediately touted it's product's safety; commiserated with fans about their love for Jack, too; encouraged devoted Crock-Pot fans to declare how great the appliance is; among others.

Two: Expect the unexpected. The Crock-Pot brand has been around for over 40 years. I remember my mother buying our first slow cooker. We loved ours then and I love my own Crock-Pot today. Despite being a household name, a brand is NOT exempt from reputation damage. Assess your vulnerabilities. Your business or organization may not anticipate every scenario but you’ll be leaning forward all the same.

Three: Call on your advocates. Ask them for some not-so-subtle endorsements. Crock-Pot has stated that if the backlash doesn’t subside, they may ask the NBC network to speak on their behalf.

The bottom line is: Social media is prevalent. It’s where your customers are. To manage your reputation and avert crisis, you MUST be a part of the conversation.

Have you ever been blindsided by an incident?