Halal certification, avoid the amalgam! (info flash)
Current affairs have recently shown us again that a flashpoint can come into existence very quickly and can expand rapidly, and especially in the slow season we are in now (Parliament recess, holidays…).
We are referring more specifically to the ‘buzz’ that was going on concerning the ‘Halal’ certification of a pear syrup manufacturer in Liege ("sirop de Liège"). We have seen several press articles pass by which have strongly stirred up public opinion. It will suffice to have a look at some (usually online and unmoderated) forums for debating to get an accurate picture.
Here are some tips to deal with this, if you are in a similar situation.
Monitor what is being said about you and your brand(s)…
By not only following the traditional channels (radio-television-written press), but also online media (online press, fora, social media…) as well, you can win some precious time, which is needed to prepare and create your message.Don’t lose sight of your own Facebook page(s). Opinions will be vented there as well. You have no influence on what is written, but you can moderate what has been written. You can remove hateful, racist and inciting language, if you clearly indicate why you have done it. If a situation threatens to get out of control, do not hesitate to post a general message.
Prepare your message beforehand
We have seen it happen. The announcement of a ‘Halal’ certification has created some heated debate. The company involved, was unexpectedly put in the spotlight.
In such situations it is prudent to be able to release a number of ‘statements’, such as:
- Export is important to your company and certifications are often a ‘conditio sine qua non’
- Our quality has remained the same as the quality you have become accustomed to for x number years, and that’s why you purchase our products…
- The manufacturing process has remained the same.
A Q&A list with the types of question, whom those involved might ask. The focus will be on the difficult questions, if those are likely to be asked in this context.
A prepared press statement – ready to be released.
Such agitated public opinion, as we are experiencing now, has to date never been followed up by actions.
This is our personal opinion which is substantiated by an official source, who works for the government agency responsible for monitoring such cases.
We should nevertheless remain vigilant. Make sure your personnel knows the guidelines on how to respond appropriately when questionable facts or actions take place.
Naturally, we will be available for any other required information.