One of the most difficult challenges any business can face is how it manages a crisis. In high pressured situations where your reputation – and business success – are at stake, Sapience Communications can give you the guidance to respond promptly and decisively – and minimise disruption.
To make sure you’re prepared for any eventuality, we can work with you to anticipate threats on the horizon and identify and plug gaps in your contingency planning. In a crisis, our team will proactively communicate with your stakeholders and the media – and ensure that the facts are represented accurately – so that you’re always ahead of the story.
Sapience Communications has decades of collective experience as crisis communications consultants. Our team members have worked with some of the largest and most complex organisations across the public and private sectors, regularly advising C-suites and Boards on the actions that they need to take to manage a crisis effectively. We also understand the changing nature of crisis communications, and the need to not simply monitor online and social media reaction and sentiment, but to anticipate the trajectory of stories with segmented audiences; to know when and how to intervene in debates using the latest tools and techniques.
Our results-driven team has managed and advised on crises including deaths, industrial accidents, cyber-attacks and data loss, regulatory action, police investigations, Coroners’ and court verdicts, protests and undercover filming. Our sector experience in crisis communications covers health and social care (including private, voluntary and NHS organisations), food and drink, beauty and cosmetics, education (including universities), transport, tourism, technology, property and construction.
All organisations are susceptible to crises
Crisis comms is about controlling the way a negative situation is perceived, but it also goes beyond that aspect.
The starting point for any effective crisis communications is to accept that, even after doing everything you can to prevent them, crises will occur. It is vital to not only plan for them comprehensively in advance, but to know which audiences will take an active interest in the news and what you will say to them.
But crisis communications is not a reactive-only insurance policy. It means taking proactive measures to build relations with stakeholders, developing trust and ensuring that you achieve a fair hearing when responding to criticism.
Effective crisis communications does not end once a crisis has been resolved; it involves constantly learning from events and mistakes as they occur. The Sapience team will help you to do this by providing constant monitoring and analysis of crises, as well as advising on future strategies and providing crisis management training.
Proactivity can make all the difference
Sapience will work with you to establish a permanently on-call team, either by providing additional capacity through our own experts, or training your in-house team to make them better prepared. We will draft all internal and external communications and provide senior counsel as required.
We recognise that an exceptional crisis management service recognises the difference between good strategy and good tactics. We excel in anticipating risks, identifying key stakeholders, and establishing proactive communications.
We have a wealth of experience providing these services across a range of sectors, ranging from healthcare provider Cygnet to financial advisory firm FRP Advisory.
Sapience ensures that all of our clients have the guidance to strike the right tone, convey clearly the measures you are taking to address the crisis, keep key audiences updated and demonstrate your own accountability.
Common crisis comms services
A crisis communications strategy has to be tailored to every organisation and sector in order to produce results. But what all effective crisis management strategies have at their heart is an understanding of the wider brand, reputation and tone of voice which must be clearly conveyed.
Here are some of the most common crisis communications services and ways in which Sapience can help you navigate any crisis:
- Creating crisis management plans
- Delivering crisis communication training
- Devising crisis intervention strategies
- Delivering crisis intervention services
- Utilising crisis monitoring in the media
- Conducting vulnerability audits
- Running crisis simulations
- Providing rapid crisis response and management
- Integrating crisis communications with wider reputation management
Our results-driven team has extensive experience of content marketing and digital marketing across financial services, property, technology, hospitality, beauty, education, transport, tourism, health, and construction, to name just a few of the sectors of which we have.
Why should you work with Sapience?
We are crisis intervention specialists, with the experience and expertise of working with clients of all sizes across all sectors, who have the track record to deliver for you.
How is pricing determined?
We sit down with our clients to understand their exact needs and price transparently, based on the amount of time and the number of Sapience team members required to get the job done. Unfortunately there isn’t a standard price to speak of since every situation is unique.
What is the difference between crisis communications and crisis management?
They are interchangeable terms. Both are about controlling as much as possible the way a negative situation is perceived.
What’s the difference between reputation management and crisis management?
These are overlapping disciplines. Whereas crisis management will inevitably concern an often unforeseen, large-scale adverse event affecting an organisation, reputation management often focuses on the longer term building and protection of the perception and brand of an organisation through constant cultivating of a positive image.
How do you prepare for a crisis?
Anticipate, plan and simulate. Sapience can work with you to identify the crises you are likely to face. We then plan the best responses based on the possible scenarios, and can also run simulations of a crisis so that you and your team are as well prepared as possible.
How do you develop a crisis comms action or prevention plan?
Work with crisis communications agencies who have the knowledge, insight and experience to take a strategic approach, rather than just reacting tactically.
What are some examples of disastrous crises?
Any crisis is likely to attract negative coverage. That is something that you can never guarantee preventing entirely, but it can be minimised. However, the worst examples of disastrous crisis comms are not the same as the worst crises. We have worked with organisations who have suffered loss of life, and yet have been praised or their response. By contrast, the worst crisis communications ends up becoming the story.
Who needs crisis communications services?
Any organisation which cares about not only its reputation but its bottom line and its future.
Can a PR crisis lead to a complete business shutdown?
It can. Not just because of loss of sales or income, but politicians and regulators may decide to intervene if they feel that you are not up to the job of not only putting right what’s gone wrong, but ensuring that it never happens again.
Depending on the sector, things can differ quite a bit in terms of compliance, legislation, public sentiment and other details. B2B sectors are not as sensitive to emotional factors like the consumer sectors when making purchases, but there’s a lot of emphasis on ROI, for example. Similarily, there’s a large subset of technology consumers financially empowered and willing to drive test emerging solutions, but the same cannot be said about the healthcare industry.
Crises can severely reduce an organisation’s chances to compete and ignored crises can definitely lead to complete shutdown.
Can companies completely foresee and prevent public image crises?
No company can completely foresee and prevent public image crises (And we would never believe one that said it could). What can be done is ensuring you implement crisis communications best practices and have crisis communications checklists so that you are minimising the chance of a crisis as much as possible.
What if we need crisis comms for both online and offline?
You absolutely will. The online and offline are inextricably linked. You need access to the PR crisis communications experts who understand this and know how to develop integrated strategies and tactics.
Raise the profile of CHEC and its newly launching sites across the UK to optometrists, showcasing its expertise in delivering ophthalmological care. Build local awareness among the public of alternative choices in providers for ophthalmology treatment in order to reduce backlogs and improve patient outcomes.
Blockchain & Crypto
StrikeX wanted to position itself as one of the UK’s leading blockchain start-ups and promote the launch of its flagship wallet product through creative thought leadership, as well as a digital projection stunt.
Food & drinks
Gunner Cocktails, a luxury beverage company offering a disruptive range of RTD canned cocktails, required a launch strategy for both its alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, The Saint and The Sinner.
Not-for-profit & social support
Position Dimensions, one of UK’s largest providers of support for those with learning disabilities and/or autism, as an expert in its field. Lobby government and influential community stakeholders around key issues for those supported, such as voting rights, health equality and representation.
Thoughts and analyses
How communications can help in a crisis
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How to manage a corporate crisis [quick 2023 guide]
Thankfully, crisis management isn’t used very frequently, but its importance shouldn’t be overlooked. On the one occasion that you need to manage a crisis, being prepared can help dramatically.
Navigating internal comms during a crisis
In a time of turbulence, such as that we are now all living through, businesses are naturally tempted to accelerate and prioritise external communications – reminding customers, prospects and partners that they are still open for business and ready to support. It’s an approach our own business is taking and businesses are right to do […]