Background: Haagen-Dazs is a company which runs ice cream business. It was initially set up in the Bronx, New York, in 1961. Its founder is Reuben Mattus, who is a Polish immigrant. In 1983, Haagen-Dazs was sold to Pillsbury. At present, the owner of Haagen-Dazs is General Mills, Inc. The trademark in America is licensed to Nestle and sublicensed to Dreyer’s. Many of flavors for Haagen-Dazs ice cream come from the original and natural flavors, such as the fruits and nuts. No emulsifiers and stabilizers are contained. Haagen-Dazs has developed its crisis management for all types of crises. It relates to their internal team, consumers and the news media.
Problem: The honey bee population is common to decrease all around the world. However, the honey bee plays an important role in pollination for fruit-bearing plants. The decline in the honey bee population has a negative impact on the global agriculture. As a result, there is a risk to Haagen-Dazs due to the decrease of the fruits and nuts, which were used as the natural ingredients for the ice cream. Moreover, Haagen-Dazs has corporate social responsibility to concerned about the honey bee crisis that affects the global agriculture.
Situation (SWOT) Analysis: The strength for Haagen-Dazs to handle the crisis was that they found this potential crisis early. The honey bee crisis had not disturbed the Haagen-Dazs ice cream business yet. Therefore, they could make a comprehensive crisis management plan to prevent the strike of honey bee crisis. The strength for the Colony Collapse Disorder Working Group was that they were supported by numerous departments and organizations with rich funds to study the cause of the honey bee crisis and the practicable measures. The weakness for Haagen-Dazs, other organizations and governments was that they still had not found the conclusive cause for the declines of bees. It would make all the organizations and governments hard to eliminate the honey bee crisis. The opportunity for Haagen-Dazs to work with the crisis was they could educate their consumers on the importance of honey bees depending on the power and popularity of its ice cream brand. Additionally, they showed a positive image and presented corporate society responsibility to consumers. The threat for the company to cope with the crisis was that Haagen-Dazs was one of food demanders. Once there was a shortage of food supply, it was contradictive for Haagen-Dazs to produce its products with these natural ingredients. Besides that, their consumers would concern more about the quality of the natural ingredients. The heavy environment crisis would make consumers worry about the ingredients for their products.
Strategies: After the disappearance of bees, some groups, governments and Haagen-Dazs had taken numerous actions to handle the crisis. They could be mainly divided into three parts.
For the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) Working Group, they developed the crisis management and crisis communication plan. Some other groups also behaved well to protect bees. All detail behaviors were:
- Share all communication, investigations and research into CCD with one another for discussion and integration.
- Provide and collect samples for CCD working group members.
- Regularly exchange with beekeepers and scientific audiences.
- Collaborate together to find the causes of CCD and treatments.
- Develop an agreement to help beekeepers and the pollination industry.
- The film named The Beekeepers was played at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in 2009.
- Burt’s Bees gave away wildflower seeds to consumers and educated them about the plight of the honey bee.
For the governments in different countries, the strategies were:
- In 2007, U.S. introduced legislation to protect American’s bees.
- In July, 2007, U.S. Senators provided rich funding for the Pollinator Recovery project to address CCD and other threats to the national bees.
- In May, 2008, the Pollinator Habitat Protection Act was introduced.
- In July, 2008, Agriculture Secretary awarded the University of Georgia that studied the declines of bee populations.
- Georgia passed the Georgia Bee Laws.
- The U.K. government collected funding on the research of the diminishing bees.
- Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists kept in touch with U.S scientists on the honey bee crisis.
For Haagen-Dazs Company, the actions were:
- On February 19, 2008, they launched the Haagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees (HD Loves HB) campaign in order to increase awareness of the honey bee issue for consumers, convince consumers to plant bee-friendly habitats with bee-friendly flowers and sign in the honeybees’ website to support the protection of bees.
- Donate money to study the sustainable pollination, CCD research and protect honey bee health.
- Build an advisory bee board.
- Invent a new bee-dependent flavor ice cream and created a unique logo for it.
- The Haagen-Dazs carried out media outreach, developed plant footage, bees pollinating corps and flowers.
- Using Craigslist and MeetUp.com to help plant seeds to create bee-friendly habitats.
- Collaborate with The Pollinator Partnership, the Haagen-Dazs host an ice cream social on Capitol Hill and brief the plight of honey bees.
Consequences (results): After the contribution from all the organizations, there was a successful campaign on the protection of honey bees. The responds especially for the Haagen-Dazs’ involvement were:
- Experts were rapturous to serve as ambassadors for honey bees program.
- Enthusiasts received “HD loves HB” seed packets and plant them in the backyards and gardens.
- Haagen-Dazs ice cream received lots of consumer interest and raised sales.
- Haagen-Dazs got more media impressions for a positive image than before.
- A large number of consumers increased in awareness of the honey bee issues.
- Community groups and individuals actively plant bee-friendly flower seeds.
- Lots of visitors visit the websites about protecting the honey bees.
- Different consumers and organization provided suggestions, collaboration and information to support Haagen-Dazs to run the protection project.
- Haagen-Dazs won several awards for the “HD Loves HB” campaign.
My comments: I really appreciate the “HD Loves HB” campaign which was launched by the Haagen-Dazs Company. I think it presented a good example of the benefit for crisis management plan. It also confirms that an effective crisis management not only alleviates crisis, but also brings a more positive reputation for the company. The Excellence Theory was effectively applied in this case, especially the model 4. There was an intermediary between the Haagen-Dazs Company and its publics. They did research and transferred of information to publics. They also received feedbacks from consumers and other organizations. They tried to achieve a dialogue. It was two-way symmetric public relations that made Haagen-Dazs successful. The recommendation for me to the company is that the Haagen-Dazs Company should pay more attentions to other environment crises besides the honey bee crisis. The natural ingredients mainly come from the agriculture. It is good for Haagen-Dazs to advocate the protection of environment in order to get the healthy natural ingredients.