Lessons from the Trenches: Five Non-negotiable Crisis Response Steps

by F+A Staff

April 9, 2015

Someone calls your company to report a suspected impaired driver driving a company vehicle. There’s a chance the story can get out and your company can be named.

When this happened to one of our clients, we immediately sprang into action with five tried-and-true steps to mitigate the fallout and prepare the company for the potential hit to their reputation.

  1. Research – We saw it when Rolling Stone retracted the UVA rape story – misadvised facts and unsubstantiated research can come back to bite companies and individuals if they aren’t accurate. Before starting the crisis response, gather all of the pertinent background information, no matter how damaging or irrelevant it may seem.
  1. Write – Draft statements for the key audiences and the spokesperson. While the tone may differ – between external audiences and staff, for example – what’s shared needs to be accurate across the board. In this case, the audiences included the caller, the company’s employees and key clients.
  1. Prepare – Run through talking points with the spokesperson and rehearse, if time permits. At a minimum, the spokesperson should be familiar with the talking points and the company’s position.
  1. Distribute – Share the messages internally and externally, and be prepared to respond to questions that arise.
  1. Monitor – Keep an eye on media, both social and traditional, and track sentiment and volume.


While crisis response is a flurry of activity in the beginning, it doesn’t stop when the initial swell of attention dies down. In the Internet age, it’s near impossible to put issues to bed for good. Keep a monitoring strategy in place so you’ll know immediately if the issue resurfaces.

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Lessons from the Trenches: Five Non-negotiable Crisis Response Steps