God & Guns: A Dangerous Mix for One Defense Contractor
As the sole provider of optical rifle sights for the U.S. Army and Marine Corp, Trijicon Inc. was caught in a media firestorm when ABC News broke a story that tens of thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan were fighting with weapons inscribed with “secret ” ‘Jesus’ Bible codes” or religious scriptures.
The political and ethno-religious issues involved had the potential to complicate already tense relations between defense contractors and the American people they serve. To preserve its reputation and protect its future procurement objectives, Trijicon had to reverse the narrative and remind the American public of the core ethics and values at the heart of its mission.
Trijicon and the LEVICK team launched a crisis communications campaign that engaged the media, government officials, Congress, and both private and public sector customers. The company’s story and messages – along with a workable solution to satisfy all sides of this incipient crisis, including key Department of Defense personnel and elected officials – soon infused all coverage and discussion, online and off.
By moving quickly, the company was able to articulate its own solution rather than wait and have one imposed on it. Media coverage subsided within one week and the company’s nearly $1 billion contract with the U.S. military remained intact.