By Chris Gilmour

Even the most successful business will encounter bumps in the road.

Crisis management is the difference between negotiating the tough twists and turns, or plunging down a pothole.

There are things every organisation should do to lay the basic groundwork to survive tougher times.

Because they will come, whether you anticipate them or not.

Prepare before it happens

The best time to draw up a crisis plan is when everyone is calm and able to think straight. Start researching the common crises to have affected your industry, learn from others’ mistakes, and list ways to tackle these problems if they come to you. Look at preventative measures, and ways to minimise damage should the crisis be unavoidable. Include specific actions you would take, how you would protect those endangered by the crisis and the key audiences to be kept informed.

Identify a spokesperson

Your organisation needs to speak with one voice and deliver a clear, consistent message. While you will have a crisis communications team, choose one person who is able – or can be trained - to speak for your firm and answer media questions or participate in interviews.

Keep key people informed

You do not want customers, suppliers and employees to learn about your crisis through the media. Information should come from you first. Make sure your crisis management plan includes a list of who needs to know, and how they will be regularly updated before, during and after the event. 

Be honest and open

Be as transparent as possible to diffuse a potential media frenzy. Put as many truths out there as you can – without panicking your employees or investors. Reputation management is all about shifting the focus from tragedy to remedy, by making your comments all about the positive steps being taken to rectify the issue at hand.

Communicate constantly

It’s better to over-communicate than allow rumours to fill a void of silence. Issue statements and updates as often as possible. News never sleeps, so don’t be caught napping. Combine crisis communication with media monitoring. In particular, be sure to establish a social media team to monitor, post and react to online activity throughout the crisis.

Speak to the experts

You may not have all the resources to deal with a crisis in-house. So talk to someone who does. You wouldn’t drive a car without insurance, so don’t run a business without having those in place to help you in the event of a brand reputation crash.


We are experts in crisis management. Call 0800 612 9890 and learn how we can take care of your business.