A “Grass”-roots Approach: ScottsMiracle-Gro Restores Consumers’ Trust Following Lawn Crisis


With $3 billion+ in global sales, ScottsMiracle-Gro (SMG) is the world’s largest marketer of lawn and garden products. In 2015, SMG replaced a long-used Bonus S fertilizer with a different formulation. When homeowners in the U.S. southeast applied the product to their lawn, their grass turned brown and died.


To restore consumer confidence and repair reputational damage, Zeno worked with SMG to take a proactive approach: own the problem and make things right. That meant immediately informing all customers through media alerts, customer and retailer notifications – and putting ‘boots on the ground’: having executive leadership personally meet with customers to apologize and inspect their lawns. Zeno and SMG selected a local public affairs agency with connections to the community to support Zeno’s efforts through hyper-local community education and awareness.

SMG received praise from customers on how they handled the issue. All customers interviewed commended the company for their professionalism and willingness to pay for the damage. In fact, 81% of Bonus S customers surveyed said their opinion of SMG is more positive as a result of the claims process and resolution and 89% were satisfied with the manner in which their Bonus S claim was resolved.