Reputation Management Experts Reveal Top Tips for Crisis Planning — Part One

The risk you're not managing: Why corporate reputation matters even when you don't sell to the public


Every industrial company has a myriad of protocols for responding during an emergency. If your pipeline leaks, your building catches fire or there is an explosion in your manufacturing plant, you know how to address the emergency, secure the safety of personnel and contain the environmental impact.

But, do you know who should speak to the media that will be knocking on your door before the fire is out and what they should say? How will employees — especially those whose co-workers might be in the hospital, or worse — be informed? Do you know who should call your customers and whether you should give them an estimate of when you’ll be back on line? What should you say to the elected official who just showed up and is about to vilify your company in the media as “another irresponsible corporation” in order to field support for more onerous industry regulation?

If you have a crisis communications plan, you know the answers to those questions. If you don’t, you’re like the majority of other companies who will be caught unprepared when an incident occurs and who will suffer more than they have to in the aftermath. Even more concerning, the mere lack of a crisis communi­cations plan could increase your legal liability in the event of an incident.

And don’t think the only crises that could negatively affect your company involve explosions. Following is a list of the many crises to which today’s organizations are subject.


Internal Crises:

  • Reductions in force
  • Labor issues or employee misconduct
  • Loss of life

External Crises:

  • Plant closings
  • Environmental accidents
  • Online security breaches
  • Product recalls
  • Terrorist/hostage situations
  • Boycotts and protests

Stakeholder Crises:

  • Litigation communications
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Bankruptcy communications
  • Allegations of fraud
  • Media investigations


Companies who are unprepared to respond to the public and other key stakeholders during an incident are at greater risk of jeopardizing customer relationships; drawing the ire of regulators and lawmakers; losing employees and recruits; and ultimately, decreasing the valuation of their organizations. It’s a huge unmanaged risk and one that can be addressed through crisis communications planning. Pierpont’s executive counsel and experienced crisis management leader, Terry Hemeyer, explains 'What Makes a Crisis' in his latest podcast

To speak with Pierpont’s crisis communications specialists, contact us here