Crisis Communication and Reputation Management

To paraphrase Sun Tzu, a battle is won or lost before the first shot is fired. Being prepared for a crisis significantly increases your chances of success. That is why we work with organizations to help them predict and prepare for the unexpected in the following ways.

Crisis Plan Development

We utilize a proven four-step process to develop comprehensive crisis communication and issues management plans that ensure clients are ready to face the issues that keep them up at night, as well as the crises they didn’t see coming:

  1. Discovery and planning – Our crisis plans are grounded in exhaustive research. We work with clients to understand the realities – fair and unfair – of the industry landscape, as well as to obtain relevant documents, processes and background information.
  2. Crisis plan creation – We build tailored crisis plans for each client that might include:
    • Objectives and plan determinations
    • Response criteria/risk assessment chart
    • Response process and timing
    • Messaging related to specific scenarios
    • Monitoring recommendations
    • Crisis/issues management checklists
  3. Testing and refinement – Once the crisis/issues management plan is finalized, we host a half- or full-day crisis tabletop drill – often incorporating our proprietary Online War Room. This workshop tests and analyzes your responses in order to identify any gaps that may exist.
  4. Evolution, revisions and lessons learned – The outcome of the tabletop drill informs the next step of the planning process. We revisit our crisis communication/issues management plan and revise the details as necessary. To augment these efforts, we offer a separate message training session for relevant client team members to ensure that everyone is clear on messaging, roles and protocol. Role-playing and on-camera practice interviews and conversations are instrumental during these training sessions.

Media & Message Training

Thanks to mobile technology, news exists everywhere and can spread like wildfire. Brands must deliver their position in a truthful, authentic and convincing manner every time. We develop customized message and media training sessions to build clients’ comfort in the media spotlight and under pressure. We rehearse and perfect the delivery of your key messages, so you can express them with ease — especially in demanding or confrontational situations.

When it comes to message and media training, our experience is significant. Several of our team members are former journalists who are able to offer unique insight from “the other side of the interview” during media training, while others have been on the front line delivering the tough messages on camera. This perspective affords our team the ability to craft realistic questions and accurately predict a variety of scenarios.

On-camera mock interviews, managed by members of our CenterTable team, are an invaluable part of the training we offer. These interviews are recorded and reviewed in real time, allowing your team to improve and refine your messaging and response times in real time. We don’t rest until your responses are confident and seamless.

Online War Room®

There is no harder playing field for a crisis than the online world. Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram provide critics with a powerful soapbox and allow them to mobilize the opposition quickly. The unfortunate result can be an overwhelming attack that impacts your ability to respond articulately. We saw this happen again and again with clients across a variety of industries and decided to do something about it.

In 2011, in conjunction with our Rapid Response Team, the co-founders of CenterTable developed our groundbreaking Online War Room®, which enables clients to participate in a simulated online crisis to understand and practice how to effectively respond before ever facing the real thing. We have utilized the Online War Room with:

  • Clients who have known issues on the horizon
  • Clients who are just entering the social media space
  • Clients who lack an established response plan
  • Clients who have a response plan but want to test and refine it
  • Clients who want to train their social media staff or educate executives about their social media properties and brand voice

Simulations in the Online War Room are secure and not visible to the public eye. We can conduct them onsite or remotely. In both cases, members of our team provide instantaneous feedback and guidance as other members of our team post remotely via pseudonyms and anonymous accounts. Through our membership in the Public Relations Organisation International Network (PROI), the Online War Room has been conducted with companies worldwide.