Business Communication

Assignment 1: Taco Bell Case Study

Date: October 20, 2016

To: Ms. Laurie Gannon, Public Relations Director at Taco Bell Corporation

Copy: Interested People with the need to know the situation but has no responsibility for action

From: Taco Bell Senior Manager

Subject: Communication Memo



Following the recent information obtained from the Non-Governmental Organization labeled “Friends of Earth,” the company has seen the possible risks associated with the exposure of the information provided. O’Rourke (2007) assets that the problem comes with the realization of the presence of a harmful substance as the NGO claims. However, the said protein element in Taco Bell products may not have long-run harm towards the consumers since the company has never conducted a test ascertaining the claim. Therefore, the responsibility lies with the product manufacturers and distributors named Kraft since they have the mandate in leasing the licensing agreement. The issue would lead to a bad reputation towards the company as well as losing a significant amount of customers who would cost millions of profits from the revenues.



Taco Bell Company has a task to accomplish and intervene in the recent crisis concerning the brand name. The media assumes the brand name “Taco Bell” has an association with the production and distribution of food products deemed to have a toxic protein for human consumption. Therefore, every consumer would forgo the products if the media unleashes the information to the public. Similarly, the products in the market line do not have an association with the Taco Bell Company despite having to be under a similar name (O’Rourke, 2007). Otherwise, the food products companies working under the name are franchises operating with the leasing agreement and, should not have a direct impact on the Taco Bell Company.

A fast and clear communication strategy should ensure accessing every responsible stakeholder in the line of command in providing the entire community has access to the right information regarding the issue. Therefore, as Van Riel and Fombrun (2007) suggest, the company would communicate to the shareholders, suppliers, the media houses, and the NGO in question. Every individual should understand the relationship between the Taco Bell Company and the rest of the franchises and most preferably the Kraft Company that does the manufacturing and distribution of Taco Bell Products.

The risks associated with the information if released to the public would cost the company’s reputation, the proposed profits, legal, regulatory effects, and loss of consumers (Siomkos, & Shrivastava, 1993). However, the company should act directly to the regulatory agencies in an effort of minimizing the risks associated with the Taco Bell taco shells. Both companies have different products but hold the name Taco Bell which provides franchises to other production companies. The licensing procedure conducted in giving the franchisees the mandate to work privately is labeled as embedded licensing whereby the Taco Bell Company has offered franchise towards the other Taco Bell taco shell franchisees the deal of taking the brand name as well as the technology despite the latter using different methods of using GMOs in their food products (Jiang, & Menguc, 2012). Therefore, the Taco Bell Company does not have the franchise liability of controlling the franchisees. The information should reach every possible employee as well as stakeholders in the way of preparing them for the subsequent public exposure. The company officials and staff should have a clue to defend the company.



The Taco Bell Company should ensure the public receives the actual information regarding the licensing procedure in an effort of explaining the difference between the two named companies. According to Jayachandran, et al. (2013), the embedded licensing associating the two companies allows the minor to use the brand name regardless of their activities but has different driving rates. Therefore, the said presence of a harmful substance does not have a connection towards the parent company. Similarly, the company officials should recommend an analysis of the persons affected by the recall of the product. Preferably, the franchises should have knowledge of the association of the harmful substance as per the claims of the NGO. The whole stakeholder community should know the effects of the product recall since it could ruin the entire business as the media could cause consumers losing trust (Siomkos, & Shrivastava, 1993). Therefore, the company has the mandate in ascertaining the knowledge reaches every affected stakeholder, mostly the employees, licensing company and the franchisees.


Action Taken

The company officials take the necessary measures of informing all the stakeholders of the current issue through urgent calls, emails and spreading the information through the company’s official website. Therefore, within the end of Friday, every employee under the name of Taco Bell Company has access to the information provided. Similarly, the officials held an urgent meeting discussing the possible solutions towards informing the media and the public of the interaction with the licensing company, the brand agreements, and the franchisees’ incorporation.


From: Taco Bell Senior Manager

Date: October, 20 2016

Assignment 2: Odwalla Case Study

The book narrates a case that occurred in one of fruit-juice Company based in the Pacific Northwest known as Odwalla. The Company focuses on the production of fresh juice blended from fresh fruits and sells their products worldwide. However, the company officials received awful news stating that their products contained harmful toxins that caused a severe disease. The report claimed that the disease came as a result of lack of proper storage after production (William, 1997). Therefore, the officials decided to take immediate action against the allegation by recalling the products and reevaluating the processes of production and storage. The move helped in regaining the trust of the consumers since the company had acted in an aim of minimizing the risks associated with the outbreak of the disease. The move resulted in consumers having trust with the products. Subsequently, the government and health officials revalued the company by their fast action towards controlling the disease outbreak. William, (1997) explains that the recalling the products said to have contamination helped the company reinvest in production and storage measure that would have caused the outbreak of the disease. Managers should consider taking such steps in every crisis management.

The theory of Benoit expresses the move taken by managers whenever faced with a wrongful reflection of a company. Any company can meet a bad reputation due to the information obtained by other competitors or other health officials. However, the theory explains the possible reaction towards any possible reputation breakdown (Wowak, Craighead, & Ketchen, 2016). Benoit explained how a company could reinvent in winning the consumers’ trust through various tactics. Therefore, the case of Odwalla Company employs the use of Benoit’s Theory by reinstating the use of compensation as well as bolstering as a way of ensuring the consumers that such an act would never happen in the future. Therefore, the theory applies in the case of Odwalla Company.

The theory describes different ways of handling wrongful acts caused by companies that affect the entire consumer community. Basing on the Odwalla’s case, the Benoit’s theory applies perfectly with the effect of the company trying to clear their reputation. Therefore, the company officials employ the tactic of bolstering that helps in the restoration f company’s reputation. The Odwalla Company acted fast enough in trying to solve their problem (Erickson, Lukes, & Weber, 2014). The problem facing the company included an outbreak of a disease that caused people to have complications. The theory is helpful since it explains different models of restoring the image of a company.

Non-corrective strategies reveal the steps taken by a company in an effort of portraying a false image of the enterprise. However, the actions following the approach would result in the emergence of weaknesses that would harm the business in the future (Erickson, Weber, & Segovia, 2011). For instance, a computer-based company known as Silicon Graphics indicates that they amended their Internal Control systems (ICS) that constituted the documentation and analyzing the systems in an effort of realizing the possible weaknesses. Eventually, the company lied in the system since none of their systems employed the necessary measures hence, portraying the evasion of responsibilities. The subsequent outcome of the act resulted in the company neglecting their responsibilities of keeping and recording actual financial records. Therefore, the non-corrective strategies used in communication would lead to an emergence of weaknesses that could be avoided. The acts are against the ethics of a company as well as in communication since they result in bringing conflicts.

The recent cases of Samsung Note7 phone rapture have caused many consumers avoid the product. Cases of battery exploding causing damages and fires have led the company to recall the product from the entire universe soon after the release of the new phone. However, the idea of recalling the product helped the company in proving their quick action towards the issue. Similarly, the company had employed the Benoit’s theory of image bolstering whereby the clients with faulty phones receive compensation soon after reporting the cases (Alina & Elise, 2016). The company is said to have neglected one of the essential, effective communication strategies since they could not disclose actual information regarding the possible errors of the phones. Therefore, scapegoating was one of their faults since the company failed to educate the clients on the potential dangers of the new phone.



Alina, S., & Elise, H., (2016, October). In Samsung’s Messy Phone Recall, Lack of Transparency Takes Center Stage. The Industry Journal. Retrieved from

Erickson, S. L., Weber, M., & Segovia, J. (2011). Using communication theory to analyze corporate reporting strategies. Journal of Business Communication, 48(2), 207-223.

Erickson, S., Lukes, Z., & Weber, M. (2014). Using Communication Theory to Analyze Corporate Reporting Strategies: A Study of the Health Care Industry. Academy of Accounting and Financial Studies Journal, 18(4), 4-16.

Jayachandran, S., Kaufman, P., Kumar, V., & Hewett, K. (2013). Brand Licensing: What Drives Royalty Rates? Journal of Marketing, 77(5), 108-122.

Jiang, M. S., & Menguc, B. (2012). Brand as credible commitment in embedded licensing: a transaction cost perspective. International Marketing Review, 29(2), 134-150.

O’Rourke, J. S. (2007). The business communication casebook: A Notre Dame collection. Cengage Learning.

Siomkos, G., & Shrivastava, P. (1993). Responding to product liability crises. Long Range Planning, 26(5), 72-79.

Van Riel, C. B., & Fombrun, C. J. (2007). Essentials of corporate communication: Implementing practices for effective reputation management. London: Routledge.

William, L, (1997). Image Repair Discourse and Crisis Communication. Public Relations Review, 23(2), 177-186.

Wowak, K. D., Craighead, C. W., & Ketchen, D. J. (2016). Tracing Bad Products in Supply Chains: The Roles of Temporality, Supply Chain Permeation, and Product Information Ambiguity. Journal of Business Logistics, 37(2), 132-151.

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