What is crisis management or crisis comms?

A skilled process aimed at protecting the reputation of companies and individuals by minimising the negative impact of potentially damaging attention, whether online or in the press.

What sort of situation requires crisis comms?

Any that has the potential to generate negative media interest. If there has been an issue with a product or service that was out of your control (or not) crisis comms can help you deal with this.

A disgruntled customer can also mean you will need crisis comms. Extraordinary situations like the Covid-19 crisis may also mean you require crisis comms to help you manage unusual situations and issues with supply and demand.

If a journalist contacts me, what’s the first thing I should do?

  1. Take their call.
  2. Find out who they are, why they are calling and what they want from you.
  3. Explain that you are happy to co-operate but need some time.
  4. Take their contact details, ask about their deadline and, if you’re not confident handling the enquiry yourself, call us on 07881 772960.
  5. Don’t ever say ‘no comment’.

When should I call you?

As soon as you think a situation is – or has the potential – to attract adverse publicity or attention. Typically:

  • When something has gone awry in your business and you think it might ‘get out‘.
  • When you have been contacted by a journalist and you know it’s about something negative.
  • When you start to see negative criticism on social media building up ‘a head of steam’.

Why can’t I do this myself?

You can but in our experience, facing criticism (especially when unfair) is like a punch in the stomach and there’s a tendency to react quickly and emotionally, without thinking about the possible consequences of such a reaction. Having a third party acting, dispassionately, for you minimises the potential negative fallout.

Will I still have to speak to a journalist?

Every situation is different. We can act as your spokesperson or we can support you through the process by speaking to the journalist first to establish what they want and then guide you about how to speak with them yourself. It does depend on the situation. Read more about our process here.

What are the Dos and Don’ts of crisis communications?

Dos

  • Stop and think before you react to a situation.
  • Put yourself in the place of your customer. What would you want to hear and see from the business?
  • Be honest. Tell the truth about the situation.
  • React quickly. After seeking advice and taking time to consider your response get out there quickly.
  • Seek advice. Some professionals specialise in this type of situation so don't be afraid to ask for help.


Don'ts

  • Take it personally. Try not to let your emotions get in the way.
  • Don't rush it. While you need to be quick to react, don't do anything without thinking about it and getting advice/a second opinion.
  • Do what everyone else is doing. Think about what is best for you and your customers.

What happens after the crisis?

When skilfully handled, a crisis can often be turned into a positive situation. There are tactics for achieving this and we are able to offer post-crisis support and reputation building as a separate service.

Do you provide crisis comms training?

Yes. This can vary from providing bespoke guides to face-to-face media training.

What’s the role of PR in crisis communications?

PR can protect your hard-earned reputation by managing your communications – internally and externally – during a crisis. What we do can make the difference between your business surviving and flourishing or floundering and failing:

  • Provide access to experts with years of experience
  • Provide historic and real-time press and social media monitoring
  • Liaise with journalists on your behalf or support your company spokesperson
  • Prepare, draft and distribute press statements
  • Draft communications for staff, clients, customers and suppliers
  • Contact social media and review sites on your behalf

My business was facing a torrent of unfair criticism on Facebook.  It stemmed from one negative post by an ex-employee and escalated like wild fire. Your level-headed, practical advice helped get the negative comments removed.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I thought the problem would go away if I ignored it. It didn’t. I was reluctant to use you but can honestly say, your support and advice helped pull me back from the brink. Your patience, clarity of thought and advice were just what I needed to get me through the emotional roller coaster.

Your calm and steady approach was everything I needed when my business was being unfairly criticised in the national press. You stopped me from responding in haste, which I realise now, was the worst thing I could have done! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

One of my co-directors was found guilty of drink driving.  I was concerned that if it got out, we’d suffer from negative press and loss of business.  As it happened, there was no backlash but being able to contact you and have some pre-prepared statements and letters ready was reassuring.