A polish immigrant Reuben Mattus, a young entrepreneur at that time with a passion for quality and a vision for creating the finest ice cream worked for his mother ‘s ice cream business selling fruit ice cream and ice cream pops in the busy streets of the Bronx ,in New York.
The family business grew throughout the 1930’s to the 50’s. By 1960, he (Mattus) with the support of his wife Rose decided and established a new company dedicated to his ice cream vision and that was how Haagen-Dazs came into existence. Haagen- Dazs started out with three flavors: Vanilla, chocolate and coffee, the brand quickly grew and had been accepted by the public, and by 1973, the company’s products were enjoyed by ice cream lovers throughout the United States .Then in 1976, his daughter Doris opened the first Haagen- Dazs shop, it was immediately successful and it further expanded its shops throughout the united states. In 1983, Mr. Mattus sold Haagen-Dazs to Pillsbury Company and since then it has become a global phenomenon available in 50 countries spread around the world. Haagens –Dazs was also the first to introduce the world to the ice cream bars for grown up palate. Other super premium innovations followed, with frozen yogurt in 1991 and sorbet in 1993. To this day, Haagen-Dazs remains committed to developing exceptional new super premium dessert experiences, releasing new flavors every year.
In 2006, a decline began when migratory beekeepers along the Atlantic seaboard states reported declines in honey bee population. The crisis was termed Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). There were rumors that cell phones were causing the crisis, a German researcher, Stephan kimmel did a research on cordless phones to find out if there was a link between cell phones as purported and the CCD phenomenon but he concluded that there was no link whatsoever. However, some possible links were discovered;
Parasites and termites, emergence of new virulent pathogens, poor nutrition of the bees, contaminated water , lack of genetic diversity and lineage of bees, level of stress on adult bees, environmental chemicals such as pesticides. Haagen- Dazs chose to join the fight to help restore the honey bee colonies.
Haagen-Dazs in my own view has approached the situation professionally and promptly, even though they implemented various strategies and avenues to remedy the sudden extinction of the honey bee, I wouldn’t say they had any weakness since the gradual disappearance of the honey bee was not as a result of any flaws from their company but a natural occurrence that still remains a mystery to scientist, researchers and the entire human race as a whole.
Public Relations: In the fall of 2007, the company’s advertising agency noticed that the publicity given the colony collapse disorder was becoming a threat to U.S agriculture and specifically their organization because about 40% of their products depended on honey bee pollination. So it decided to use the overwhelming acceptance it enjoyed from its consumers to educate them on the vital importance of honey bees. Below are some of the strategies itemized;
Campaign: In 2008, Haagen-Dazs loves Honey Bees (HD loves HB) campaign was launched with the sole aim of achieving the following goals: business, awareness/comprehension, and behavior.
Campaign Execution: Haagen- Dazs donated $250,000 to Pennsylvania state university (PSU) and university of California Davis (UCD) for long-term pollination and CCD research and also an additional $10,000 donation to the Pollinator Partnership, an organization that supports the sustenance of honey bee health.
Flavor launch: Launched a new flavor called Vanilla Honey Bee to commemorate the campaign and create awareness of the flight of the honey bee, the new flavor was described as “a rich vanilla ice cream blended with a touch of golden sweet honey”, and also hosted a briefing during the national pollinator week at the Capitol Hill in partnership with the pollinator to address the plight of honey bees.
Media outreach: Haagen-Dazs created a media strategy to ensure that no error was committed , so they opted to launch the story with the most effective outlet that has a diverse audience and CNNMoney.com was chosen, also it expanded its media targets to scientific, environmental, agricultural and bee keeping trade outlets and all other forms of media like radio, print, and online streams were also utilized using craigslist, and challenged enthusiasts to support Haagen-Dazs goal of planting one million seeds to create bee-friendly habitats.
- There were more than 277 million media impressions, worth $1.5million in advertising equivalencies and were included in more than1, 097 distinctive news placements at media outfits like CNN, New York Times, Wall Street journal and the associated press.
- More than 1,200,000 bee friendly flowers seeds were distributed to individuals / community groups, teachers and garden clubs to be planted.
- More than 950 consumers and organizations contacted the Haagen- Dazs with offers to collaborate, and compliments on the program.
- Haagen-Dazs experienced a 13% increase in its brand advocacy rating and 69%, the highest in its category.
- Haagen-Dazs campaign won the 2009 gold Clio Award in the public relations category, the 2009 PR week award for cause –related campaign of the year among several others.
The case study is really an interesting one I feel so excited having an opportunity to write on this great company Haagen-Dazs, the structure and management technique of the organization is superb and this is evident in the successes, cooperation, and awards the company gathered from the publics. This goes to show how effective and reliable a company can be when it has a crisis communication and management plan in place, my advice to other companies and establishments is for them to borrow a leaf from the management skills of Haagen-Dazs, I think a chunk of this can be related to some models of the excellence theory.