Describe the company in the case
Dow Corning is a joint venture multinational company headquartered in Michigan, United States. It was established in 1943 and initiated its production of silicon products for use by the American military during the Second World War. The corporation focuses on silicone technology, and it is the major silicone products manufacturer internationally. Some of the products that Dow Corning has developed over years include: adhesives, skin care lotions, silicone sealants, lubricants and leather treatments. Additionally, the company specializes in the manufacture of a gel component used in the silicone implants. In 1976, the company established policies in ethics that guided the firm in decision making in the business (Argenti, 1998, p.236).
Explain the key issue(s) that the company faces, and what the risks are that the company has to address
Dow Corning faces several issues including credibility problems. After the introduction of the breast implant silicone gel in the market, the public implied that the product may have lacked appropriate medical testing, and could result to leakage into the patient’s bodies. The firm also faces legal problems, as it was accused of malice and fraud, by failing to provide the evidence required from the breast implant research that the company conducted. Moreover, the corporation faces risks concerning their venture in breast implants. It is stated that there is difficulty in detecting abnormalities in breasts when X-rays are being performed. There is also a risk of the implant causing pain and discomfort as a result of fibrous tissue growth that causes the breast to harden (Argenti, 1998, p.240).
Identify the key audience(s) that the company needs to address (no more than the top 3) and explain why each is a “key audience”
The Mass Media is one of the audiences that Dow Corning needs to address, as they are the direct information transmitters to the general public. The media is a significant figure to consider, as it interacts with the public more closely in informing them through magazines and live broadcasts that the public tend to trust and believe, and the reception of the message could impact negatively or positively to the firm. The target recipients or patients of the implant products are entities to address, because they determine the market of the items and its sustainability in the competitive market. A national communication registry is important to consider, as they will collaborate with the health officials through periodic newsletters, and eventually transfer the information to the consumers (Center & Jackson, 2003, p. 42).
Discuss (first) what public relations theory the company is following in its communications; and (second) if you feel they should be following another theory. Explain why.
Dow Corning uses the social marketing theory in its communications. It involves the mass media and health care registries to inform the public and the consumers about the scientific implant implications and the general information concerning the silicone implant products. The company collaborates with the Food and drug Administrators and the American Medical Associations to discuss the scientific technicalities based on the implant products. Dow Corning could have used The Excellence theory, for an effective public and organization relations. Good reputation and relationships with the strategic public is important for a firm in developing and achieving its set goals, with reduced costs and increased revenues (Center & Jackson, 2003, p. 38).
If research is involved, discuss the company’s use of research and data, how it is being used, is there data they need but do not have, and what the desired outcome is / or could be.
In 1992, Dow Corning considered ending the breast implant manufacture. The company stated that, it would initiate a research concerning the safety of the breast implants on the patients. Depending on the financial need of the patients, the company also promised to compensate the patients on the removal of the silicone gel removal. The corporation conducted a further research to provide assurance to the patients at risk, as well as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The company could have obtained enough data by conducting personal interviews and issuing questionnaires to the product consumers. This data collection method could have equipped the company with appropriate information, in relation to the customer complaints, therefore finding the positive and suitable actions to patient restitution (Argenti, 1998, p.239).
Argenti, P. A. (1998). Corporate communication strategy: Applying theory to practice at Dow Corning. Corporate reputation review, 1(3), 234-249.
Center, A. H., & Jackson, P. (2003). Public relations practices: Managerial case studies and problems. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.