Chipotle Mexican Grill has closed over 40 stores in Washington and Oregon due to an E. coli outbreak that has affected more than 20 people since mid-October. The popular food chain has been criticized for how it has reacted to the outbreak crisis and left PR pros questioning their tactics.Chipotle responded by telling everyone they are conducting their own environmental tests and batch testing ingredients to help find the source of the outbreak.
The brand can do even more by monitoring and targeting press that are influencing the crisis conversations to better inform stakeholders. We created an interactive press coverage report to get more insight.
Monitoring Key Influencing Messages
Although Chipotle issued a statement that they are working on resolving the problem, the media has yet to heavily focus their key messaging on the proposed solutions. The top five key messages featured above, highlight how the press continues to focus negatively on the outbreak.
Using media monitoring tools to locating influencers that are driving the conversation and overall crisis awareness can help Chipotle reverse negative impacts. A great way to target these people or publications is to look at how much their readers engage with their content. This crisis has created several waves across social media, which can be tracked back to specific news outlets.
When you can engage with authors or publications that have a strong fan base, you can create a new dialogue that will influence the overall conversation. In this case, some of the top influencing news outlets included national coverage from CNN and local coverage from FOX 4 News and KGW.com Portland.
Chipotle can counter coverage by targeting industry related news outlets such as Foodbeast, which has 1.3 million fans on Facebook and 32K followers on Twitter. Foodbeast was one of the first to break the outbreak news, but a targeted response with them could strengthen Chipotle's commitment to preventing these outbreaks from happening. This tactic partnered with real-time social media responses can help Chipotle reassure its loyal brand advocates that they are doing everything they can to resolve the problem.
Want more insight into the press coverage? Check out the Chipotle interactive report now to find other interesting stories and data.
What are some other PR tactics that Chipotle can use to resolve this issue? Please respond in the comments below.