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.
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
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
NR - how did it goRECAP OF INTERVIEWS: NR TO DO LESSONS LEARNTGENERAL DISCUSSIONFlipchart
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
Welcome to a CIM talk
Reputation in a
With Nicky Rudd and
9.30am – 1pm
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?
Task 1: RHS Wisley
• Estimated 20,000 people walk through the door on an
• Facilities: 3 x cafes, 1 x shop and a plant centre
• Each assign yourself a role:
• 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,
What kind of things might go wrong? Discuss
• Assess all potential emergencies
• Prioritise these in terms of likelihood and impact on your
• 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
• Establish your key audiences
What is a Crisis Audit (part 1)?
• Prepare senior management and key spokespeople to
handle aggressive media interviews
• Share your crisis strategy with all staff in a crisis comms
• 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)
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
• 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
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
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
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
• 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
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.”
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
Task 5: Interviews
Radio 5 Live want an interview about the incident
1. What will you say?
2. Who will say it?
• What are the key things you have learnt this morning?
Takeaways & learnings
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
Questions and Feedback
We would be grateful if you could complete our feedback
forms so we can keep improving too!
Rough House Media
Tel. 020 8332 6200
Tel. 01483 339311