When to Call a Crisis Communications Expert


When to call, and the advantages of doing so.

Has your organization been faced with a serious problem that threatens the organizational reputation and its many important relationships? Any number of situations can give rise to a crisis, such as:

● An employee treated a customer poorly and it wound up on the internet
● A business partner behaved badly in public and a story appeared in the gossip columns
● Private customer data was stolen or confidential competitor data was accessed by unauthorized personnel
● An employee has “blown the whistle” and your company is now under investigation by the government

Even the best, most experienced-in-house corporate communications team can benefit from expert assistance in a crisis situation, like that provided by BETTISON, Minneapolis-based public relations firm focused on critical issues and crisis management.

Having an expert stand by your side during every moment of a crisis, with the incredible power of experience, insight and intuition, can change everything.

Here’s why:

Crisis communications is a unique skill set

Internal PR and marketing professionals have a lot of experience communicating a company story, sharing good news with the media, and preparing timely materials for internal and external audiences. However, some corporate communications professionals have less experience handling an aggressive investigative reporter preparing a negative news story or facing down an angry citizen group organizing a boycott or other action against the company.

Crisis communicators are experienced at delivering difficult, sensitive messages in hostile situations — both traditional and social media platforms — a skill developed over time in handling repeated crises situations on behalf of clients. Your team can begin to develop that skill by working with a crisis communications expert.

An outside expert can see the big picture

Communications consultants have often worked with many clients in a wide range of industries, facing a variety of crisis situations. They bring a breadth of knowledge and insight to the table in a crisis situation. With BETTISON, the big picture view also includes insights into legal and insurance liability matters.

Your business will continue to function

Internal communications staff members have a job to do every day. If their time is diverted to dealing with a crisis, which part of the business falls by the wayside?

Crisis communicators need to be available quickly, on short notice, and sometimes 24-hours-a-day as an emergency situation unfolds. An outside crisis communications consultant is able to focus on one issue — and see it through to the end.

An outside crisis expert can separate the professional from personal

When something goes wrong, sometimes internal communications staff may feel threatened or may otherwise find it difficult to ask the hard questions. An outside crisis communications expert, however, is not directly affected by the personnel changes that may occur because of the current crisis. Their only objective is to help the company get through the crisis with minimal damage.

An outside crisis expert will be impartial

Strategies for dealing with a media crisis may involve unpopular solutions that could put a staff member in an awkward position with management or other departments. Because the outside expert has no personal relationships to protect — other than protecting the client itself — he/she can take what may be viewed as a more challenging approach with fewer repercussions.

Some departments may be more responsible for the crisis than others, which can make it difficult for the company to pull together as a team to move past the problem. An outside consultant will not feel the weight of past company baggage and can, if authorized to do so, operate outside the typical company structure, drawing upon many different departments to arrive at a comprehensive solution that involves all departments, including sales, engineering, executive management, HR and marketing.

An investment with guaranteed ROI

Although there is an additional cost to hiring an outside communications consultant, the benefits and return on investment are compelling. By hiring an expert, your company will be in a position of strength as it takes critical steps to successfully manage a crisis.