In August 2013, Greek yogurt producer Chobani faced its first real crisis as customers complained about bulging, bad tasting cups of yogurt. Although social media had been instrumental in the company’s brand loyalty and rapid growth, in this situation, it empowered customers to criticize Chobani’s handling of the crisis. This case study details Chobani’s history, the Greek yogurt market and its crisis response. It provides an example of the power of social media and consumers’ heightened expectations about transparency. This case demonstrates the importance of planning communication efforts for crisis situations and anticipating public reaction from all possible channels.
“Tainted Yogurt” was submitted to the 2014 Case Study Competition in Corporate Communications sponsored by the Arthur W. Page Society and Institute for Public Relations. It received a second place award among communication schools. Please see the Arthur W. Page Society website for more information about the competition.