10Sep

Red Banyan Group’s Founder and Principal Evan Nierman was once again called upon for his expert analysis by Bizwomen, a division of The Business Journals, in regards to the recent PR struggles and strategies of Jessica Alba’s Honest Co.jessica-alba-honest-main

In his interview with reporter Melissa Wylie, Nierman provided his insight into the situation, assessing Honest Co.’s crisis management and overall public relations strategy. He underscored that the company made a bold, but smart decision by moving ahead with their business plans and launching a new product line despite receiving some negative publicity in recent weeks.

“Overall, they’ve done a pretty good job. They clearly believe in their product,” Nierman said. “That’s a really good sign for the company.”

Read the full piece below:

http://www.bizjournals.com/bizwomen/news/profiles-strategies/2015/09/the-honest-co-shows-its-backbone-with-debut-of.html?page=all

The Honest Co. shows its backbone with debut of cosmetic line

By Melissa Wylie

Nothing can stand in the way of Jessica Alba’s Honest Co. — not even a $5 million lawsuit.

The natural health and beauty company launched honestbeauty.com Wednesday, a week after a class-action complaint out of Los Angeles accused the company of deceptively labeling products.

That may seem like bad timing, but one crisis management expert told me it’s actually not.

“I think it’s a gutsy move for them to press forward with the rollout,” said Evan Nierman, a crisis management expert and founder of public relations agency Red Banyan Group.

“When companies find themselves under fire, they can run for cover or they can stand up and fight,” he said. “I liked that they didn’t let what was going on derail their plans.”

Honest’s approach shows the importance of having a strong PR management structure in place. When a crisis occurs, Nierman said, the best actions for a company to take are to find good outside advice and perspective, to stay in tune with changing attitudes and to be ready to reposition to avoid “analysis paralysis.”

Alba and company seem to have taken steps in the right direction.

The lawsuit claims Honest’s “all-natural” dish soap, hand soap, diapers and multisurface cleaner contain synthetic ingredients, and states the sunscreen doesn’t work.

Alba and co-founder Christopher Gavigan issued a statement on Friday, calling the accusations “baseless and without merit,” and moved forward with the debut of an 83-piece line of cosmetics and skin care products.

When a company reaches a certain size, especially a company with an A-list celebrity in front, it becomes a target for class-action lawsuits and complaints, Nierman said. It’s the cost of doing business for some companies.

Honest was recently valued at $1.7 billion, and expansion plans for the beauty line were likely in place long before negative press started swirling around the company. Moving forward was the smartest decision, he said.

“You can’t put your business at the mercy of public sentiment,” Nierman said. “These things do pass.”

The company’s handling of past customer complaints has also been impressive, he said. This summer, Honest received continuous complaints of ineffective sunscreen even after the formula had been improved. The company defended the product while letting customers know their voices had been heard.

“Overall, they’ve done a pretty good job. They clearly believe in their product,” Nierman said. “That’s a really good sign for the company.”

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