“Experience, intelligently applied, based on full knowledge of the issues and their implications – followed by action and clear and incisive communication of agreed information.”

This is our proven recipe for Crisis PR. To identify and resolve the communications issues and address any potential loss of reputation.

The goal is to deal effectively with the press and broader public and industry implications of the problems and issues that sometimes face responsible organisations operating in complex business and consumer environments.

We will help you formulate a Crisis PR strategy, based upon a responsible policy of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility).

It will take into account your responsibilities to staff, clients, suppliers and other stakeholders.

We’ll review the issues and implications for your organisation and document a practical plan of action. This will include lines of communication and agreed spokespeople, as well as the information you want to impart to each audience.

We’ll help you to ensure the optimal dialogue with the media and stakeholders. So that matters are resolved as soon as possible to the satisfaction of all parties wherever possible.

A reputational crisis can occur for any business: so how do we devise a strategy to deal with it?

Take control: there should be clear lines of management responsibility and communication all the way to boardroom. It is essential that someone is in charge and has overall control, so decisions can be made and effected fast. That director needs to have advice directly from relevant specialists – whether legal, technical or in communications

Quantify it: identify the nature of the problem, who is impacted directly and indirectly by it. You can’t fix it without this data. The scale of the problem should be quantified, as the cost and logistical remedy will vary according to the size of the incident. Response should be proportionate

Fix the problem: the honest response is to fix the problem, if you possibly can, as soon as you can. Many companies failed to learn from the 1972 Watergate incident that if you cover up the problem it will only get worse; it’s more costly and damaging to reputations

Communicate: clear lines of PR communication are essential, with a full understanding of who deals with Government, press, trade and other enquiries. You require different contact points for each country

Messages: clear, unambiguous messages are essential, consistent for all stakeholders – customers. staff, shareholders and others. People want the reassurance, firstly, over any issues of safety and how they might be affected. They also want to know to whom they can go to deal with their specific problems. You want to be able to express how the problem is being resolved and timing. We don’t make promises that cannot be met. And we say sorry

Regain trust: because trust is the essential precursor to any relationship, sale or transaction. So this requires that customers are reassured and get the service and response they expect and require. A ‘cultural’ change may be required – perhaps with additional training and processes to support the change

Ensure it doesn’t happen again: every organisation should have an internal audit team that identifies areas of risk and checks the key processes and compliance issues for the business. It should function independently from the mainstream operation and report at board level to a responsible director

Every organisation has problems, many have crises. It’s the ability to identify and address them quickly and effectively that can make the major difference – we each know this as consumers and customers. Companies can actually boost their reputation in the long term by resolving problems effectively – if you have a plan.