Managing your reputation in a crisis


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Presentation from a crisis communications course run by Ann Wright of Rough House Media and Nicky Rudd of Padua Communications on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

On the highly interactive course, we took delegates through a developing crisis, in which they had to manage the response at each stage. We would like to stress this crisis is completely imaginary and bears no relation to reality.

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  • 30 minutesBoth of us
  • Nicks2. We’ll introduce company: 5 minsRHS Wisley – Halloween/Bonfire night10 minute discussionFeedback from 2 of the groups – 10 minsNicky to do
  • Group discussion (5 minutes)Group feedback (10 minutes)NR to set scene AW to give questionsAW to amend – give 2 slides situation + 5minsgp discoThen 10 minsgp disco F/back from gp messages on flipchart
  • Group discussion (5 minutes)Group feedback (10 minutes)NR to set scene AW to give questionsAW to amend – give 2 slides situation + 5mins disco in groupsThen 10 mins general disco F/back from gp messages on flipchart
  • Group discussion (5 minutes)Group feedback (10 minutes)Tea break after thisRecap – things to add/ reinforceChecklist when we get togetherMessages and timings – NR and AWWho do you need to inform (Brainstorm) (10 mins)Different audiences/ how often do you give updates? What do they need to hear?Different communications channels – pros and cons 
  • Nicks 10-15 minsTheir discussion
  • Nicks 10-15 minsTheir discussion
  • Nicks 30 minsTask 4
  • (30mins)AW
  • 10 minutes prep and 20 minutes taskInterview scenario – quick soundbite. They choose what the message will be and who will do interview. Radio interview for Radio 5 Live. (10 mins prep and 20 mins) NR – set the scene / produceAW – to do i/vHow did you think it wentAW/NR feedback on i/vs – what was the story + pr perspective
  • AW – takeawaysFeedback forms with both our contact details onVideo examples – good and bad – they can chooseRichard BransonGirl on NN
  • Managing your reputation in a crisis

    1. 1. Welcome to a CIM talk “Managing Reputation in a crisis” With Nicky Rudd and Ann Wright Date 9.30am – 1pm
    2. 2. A reputation once broken may possibly be repaired, but the world will always keep their eyes on the spot where the crack was.” Joseph Hall What is a crisis? • How can it escalate? • What are the implications of not dealing with it? • How fast should it be dealt with?
    3. 3. Task 1: RHS Wisley • Estimated 20,000 people walk through the door on an average day • Facilities: 3 x cafes, 1 x shop and a plant centre • Each assign yourself a role: • CEO • Head of comms • Head of customer service • Head of production • Head of health and safety • Additional roles: volunteer, social media manager, student intern press officer, receptionist/switchboard What kind of things might go wrong? Discuss
    4. 4. • Assess all potential emergencies • Prioritise these in terms of likelihood and impact on your business • Develop an action plan to deal with the most likely and the most damaging crises • Decide who has responsibility for what role • Develop key messages for use in specific/generic emergencies • Establish your key audiences What is a Crisis Audit (part 1)?
    5. 5. • Prepare senior management and key spokespeople to handle aggressive media interviews • Share your crisis strategy with all staff in a crisis comms manual • Ensure you have readily accessible contact details • Ensure you have access to extra phone-lines • Have a social media policy What is a Crisis Audit (part 2)
    6. 6. Task 2: Wisley goes sick RHS Wisley is holding a high profile Halloween Extravaganza Event, with children’s spooky trails & sleepovers, a Witches’ Brew BBQ and fireworks. • 20,000 tickets have been sold • The night before, there is an outbreak of Norovirus. • 10 of the 12 restaurant staff, including the head chef, plus 3 key members of the event planning team, all call in sick You have 5 minutes to discuss your strategy
    7. 7. Task 2: What is your crisis strategy? • What would you do? • Who do you need to inform? • What is your holding pattern? • Would you put people forward for interviews? • Who would you put forward? • What do they need to say? • Consider the pros and cons of different communication channels
    8. 8. Key considerations: Think about your different audiences • Who needs to know what? • How will you monitor events? • How will you keep them updated and how often? • Which communications channels will you use? • Think about timings
    9. 9. The wife of a member of staff is saying on Facebook that cleanliness in the Wisley kitchens is an issue • How do you respond? Task 3: Managing a crisis on social media
    10. 10. Going viral • Speed of information • You can’t control the message as you would in a traditional comms situation • Who is monitoring? • How are you monitoring • How do you remain neutral and in the conversation without entering into a slanging match?
    11. 11. Task 4: It hits the nationals The Daily Mail follows up with this story and goes to print the next day. Following an outbreak of Norovirus among staff at RHS Wisley, pictures of dozens of cockroaches in the kitchens of the restaurant have emerged. Staff told the Daily Mail there have been four previous outbreaks of Norovirus in the past two years, but the management have hushed them up. A spokesperson for the RHS told us: “We are very concerned the our staff are sick, but are confident we will be able to go ahead with our Halloween Extravanganza.”
    12. 12. Task 4: What do you do? When dealing with the media consider: 1. How does a journalist think? 2. What do they want during a crisis? 3. How should you react? 4. What are your key messages – are they clear? 5. Have someone senior & trained available to speak to the media 6. How to deal with interviews 7. CAC – Care, Action, Context
    13. 13. Task 5: Interviews Radio 5 Live want an interview about the incident 1. What will you say? 2. Who will say it?
    14. 14. • Recap • What are the key things you have learnt this morning? Takeaways & learnings
    15. 15. Top 6 dos and don’ts 1. Don’t wait for a disaster to happen – have a crisis strategy in place 2. Know overarching key messages in advance 3. React quickly, factually, pro-actively & frequently 4. Chose spokespeople in advance & get them trained 5. Never relax! 6. Preparation, preparation, preparation
    16. 16. Questions and Feedback We would be grateful if you could complete our feedback forms so we can keep improving too!
    17. 17. Contacts: Ann Wright Rough House Media Tel. 020 8332 6200 @roughhouse01 Nicky Rudd Padua Communications Tel. 01483 339311 @nickyrudd01