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Case 001 : Building Reputation

Ayn Rand, a Russian-American novelist once said “There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil. “

Otherwise handled accurately, every issue may develop into crisis which risks even more of the company.  Even in a remote area where media was not the popular source of information, a contradictive rumor published on local papers could drive the whole community to protest.

An orchestrated strategy of media management and issue management can be seen in a case of a multinational company in low raw explosive material business.  With large investment injected, this company built the most advanced plant in East Kalimantan.

The company is committed to local community by local employment. The obscurity of how this idea would be implemented brought negative signals to the company’s operational sustainability because locals claimed this commitment to undertaken.

During the construction of this company’s plant, there was rumour spreading telling that it would hire 1000 local workers.  Sniffed out by local media, this news raised great expectations for local community which the majority of its productive age is job seekers.   In fact, it only absorbed the local workers who meet the requirements and qualifications.

This sensitive issue had no comprehensible clarification from this company’s point of view which can halt this from becoming a latent threat.  As expected, the disappointing community marched to the premises for their expectations to be recruited was not complied.

This crisis had also affected the company’s external relations with local community. 

Media as a source of information was seen as one of the important parts to be approached to neutralize this high-risk circumstance.  The company approached local media by visiting local media to get to know each other and establish good relationship. It also invited them to get involved in corporate events such as the visit of the Deputy of Minister of Defense and the official inauguration by Minister of Defense.

To prepare internal corporate, it launched some programs, one of those is a training aiming basic acknowledgement to media for internal key personnel.  The Media Training was held so that these people do not feel awkward once they deal with media.   It also held a session to formulate FAQ and key message as guidelines so by the time they communicated with media, they already knew ‘the what’ and ‘the how’ in communicating.

To support news coverage, the company always delivered key opinion leaders as the validity of the news published.  In 2011, the company was unable to build reputation in local public as the spreading of previous contradictory issues.  However, in 2012, it managed to establish the company’s position among other big companies in East Kalimantan.  The positive media coverage kept coming out during this company’s events.