Crisis Public Relations Practice

Crisis Public Relations Practice

Crisis communications and crisis public relations are core practice competencies of LIQUID, a strategic crisis public relations firm. Having managed over 150 crisis situations, our firm is the leader in crisis communication, crisis management and crisis response strategy.  All organizations are vulnerable to a crisis and while most organizations attempt to advance response strategies, they simply fall short of their intended result, as many elements of a crisis cannot be contemplated in real world crisis situations. 

The reality of a crisis and our role in crisis management

No organization is immune from crises. It is not a matter of if but simply when a crisis will emerge. The belief that a crisis situation will not impact an individual or organization is unrealistic. The incidence of crises is not a new phenomenon, but increasingly catastrophic crisis impacts have validated their relevance in modern public relations practices.  Crises are a reality that companies, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations must recognize. 

Our firm rises to the top 1 percent of U.S. based crisis communication firms.  We specialize in crisis and situation management, actively managing crises daily, for public, private, and nonprofit clients.  Our extensive experience provides our clients with a unique and valuable perspective, a partner intimately familiar with the anatomy of a crisis and best situated to guide crisis response strategies.

What we do as a crisis public relations firm

We investigate collecting facts central to the crisis to analyze and create in-depth understandings of the issue and risks facing your organization and stakeholders. We deploy strategic and proactive solutions to mitigate risk and reduce the overall impact of the crisis.  We resolve crisis issues by delivering risk  mitigating  strategic solutions focused on reducing crisis impact and duration, protecting relationships with stakeholders, and above all, protecting your most valuable equity – trust.

Understanding the anatomy of a crisis

The definition of a crisis must be established in order to adequately explain our firm’s approach to crisis communication, public relations, and crisis management.  Sapriel (2003) identifies a crisis as “an event, revelation, allegation, or set of circumstances which threatens the integrity, reputation, or survival of an individual or organization.”  Furthermore, crisis communication scholars including Pachant, Mitroff, Miller, Miglani, and Donahue (2009) define crisis more broadly  as “…a disruption that physically affects a system as a whole and threatens its basic assumptions, subjective sense of self and existential core.”

While there are various definitions, lay and scholarly, defining crisis as a term, the management of crisis communications is a component of Issues Management, another core competency and practice of LIQUID.

Of 256 crises studied by LIQUID nearly all crises have a single common element.  Crisis occurs suddenly.  In few situations, organizations are provided the opportunity to prepare for the crisis event and substantially influence the outcome of the crisis. LIQUID believes that the preparation for a crisis – identification of impeding crisis potentials – leads to active crisis response planning, a considerable factor that can directly affect the outcome of a crisis.

Effective crisis management depends upon planning, people, and experience in the crisis communications and crisis management lifecycle.  Research conducted by Penrose (2000) and affirmed by LIQUID supports the thesis that organizations practicing proactive crisis management will lessen the damage of a crisis, sense potential problems, and work  aggressively at resolving or minimizing future impacts.  This practice, known as Issues Management, can provide a methodology for organizations to prepare for a crisis; however, it cannot neutralize a crisis or eliminate the risks a crisis presents.

Through LIQUID’S experience, and in-depth studies of crisis situations, our firm has developed battle-tested methodologies for identifying and reducing risk in response to crisis situations.  Having comprehensive issues management practices in place in preparation for known potential crises is helpful.  Seldom does advance preparation adequately prepare an organization for the reality or the immediacy of crisis impact.

Case Study: Retail on Edge - Target Under Attack

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Our approach to crisis public relations and crisis management

Our firm recognizes that each crisis is unique. Each individual crisis event is unique.  Natural disasters, explosions, train derailments, cyber-attacks, or active shooters may create quickly evolving crisis situations.  While these examples of crisis events occur quickly, the fallout  from the  crisis may take months or years to reconcile. In our firm’s ongoing analysis of crisis communication strategy and general crisis management strategies, we identified, among others, three unique situations that present both immediate and long term challenges.

  • In 2007, entire countries were still coping from the massive damage and loss of life caused by a tsunami that struck areas of Southeast Asia on December 26, 2004.
  • In 2007, three years following the devastating hurricanes from the 2004 hurricane season, residents impacted by hurricanes of the State of Florida were still recovering. 
  • In 2012, nearly 11 years after the largest terrorist attack on American soil, evidence suggests that our country still questions the risk of another mass terror attack resulting in severe injury and loss of life.  Furthermore, American’s were justified in their reluctance to resolve the crisis. 
  • On April 15, 2014 two pressure cooker bombs exploded during the Boston Marathon killing three and injuring more than 240 others.  This event has since been identified as the worst terror attack on American soil since Sept. 11, 2001.  The perpetrator, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found guilty of each of the 30 counts on Apr. 8, 2015 as indicted by a federal grand jury. May 15, 2015, Tsarnaev was sentenced to death.

Crisis situations present immediate and long term impacts, effective crisis public relations and strategic communication strategies minimize the impact

Our firm utilizes a unique approach to manage the core elements of a crisis.  We carefully considers  all aspects of crisis communication including issues management, response strategy preparedness, emergency issues management, crisis recognition, information distribution, narrative development, and long term reputation management through  crisis resolution.  We recognize that each crisis is unique, and   requires individualized intervention, custom communication strategies, and a fully vetted, outcome based approaches to crisis communication. 

Trust the experienced crisis communication and crisis management professionals at LIQUID and discover the difference a battle tested crisis public relations firm can provide you or your organization.  

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