Crises are unexpected. They can do great harm. They can be managed. Our approach is practical and sometimes unconventional. It has produced remarkable results for clients and crisis victims.
Getting back to normal
Crises end when those involved return to stability- living their lives, conducting their businesses, damage and disruption dealt with as well as can be, memories starting to fade. Headlines needn’t always be part of this. Instead, direct communication is usually more effective – through familiar channels, stressing reassurance, getting the problem under control, showing that you are doing the right things. Voluntary remediation counts. So do candor and generosity.
Victims always come first. They have the most at stake. No crisis ends until their needs are addressed. Then, usually, come employees, customers and/or neighbors. Regulators, investors, vendors, lenders can also be vitally important. We help clients to quickly ascertain and prioritize the needs of each constituency, and to develop a program of actions and communications to address these needs.
Media and social media
News media are essential to communicate warnings, instructions and advice in crises. But media can also, if provoked or mismanaged, create, inflame or prolong crises. We devise media strategies that hold down visibility and circulate only the few key facts and messages that matter. When appropriate, we act as spokespersons for clients in crisis.
When situations require it, we send small teams to crisis locations to work directly with client managements, their other advisers, and with those most directly impacted by the situation. We can accomplish a great deal of crisis management through today’s telecommunications media, but when reassurance and persuasion are the goals, there’s no substitute for personal presence.
Good crisis messages are short. They’re simple. They’re repetitive. They go directly to the audience’s most immediate needs. Under urgent and distracting conditions, that’s what people involved in crises are able to hear and remember. That’s what we create. We prepare the in-depth analyses and position papers as well, but withhold them until the need is clear and the audience is ready.
Being ready matters. Even small steps make a difference. Working often with other advisors, we provide clients with a full range of crisis-prep services, ranging from telephonic checkups and to-do lists to company-wide vulnerability assessments and full-day management crisis simulations. We focus on early warning, authority to act, standby tools, constituency needs, necessary relationships and channels of communication.
Reputation risk assessments
Federal law now requires corporate boards of directors to consider reputation risk, among other forms of risk. We work with managements to identify all possible forms of risk to reputation and to appraise their probability and their potential severity. We help them to develop policies and practices that address risk factors both pre-emptively and reactively.
Insurance company clients
In crisis situations we are often brought in by insurance claims departments. Those who have worked with us longest understand that our approach speeds resolution, moderates ill-will and reduces both costs and the likelihood of litigation. We have developed special protocols to meet insurer needs for information and control in times of rapid change and uncertainty.