Issues Management

Situation: National Pet Food Recall

When tainted pet food from China was pulled from store shelves, beloved pets were dying and negative national and international media coverage was mounting, Calpurnia leadership spearheaded the effort to protect the brand equity of the nation’s leading pet specialty retailer.

Our Strategic Approach

To protect the company’s strong brand during the crisis, our team counseled senior management on a strategic response, positioning the company as a knowledgeable, empathetic and responsive source of essential information.

To support that positioning we:

  • Launched an Internet site within 24 hours of the first recall, which quickly became a preferred online source for up-to-the-minute information.
  • Trained staff veterinarians as expert spokespeople and established relationships with credible third-party resources, such as the FDA, who spoke on the company’s behalf.
  • Used social media channels and blogs to maintain an open dialog with customers and manage perceptions.
  • Armed the company’s 45,000 associates with detailed information that allowed them to completely and compassionately work with concerned customers.


  • Surveys conducted three and six months after the recall showed no negative brand impact, despite the high profile, extended nature of the crisis.
  • Pet owners and the media reported that they relied on the company for advice and solutions during the recall.
  • Longterm research showed an increase in consumer awareness and affinity for the company’s brand.
  • The company more than doubled its market capitalization.