Crisis Communications

Working Ahead of the Crisis

An Investment in Business Insurance

The name of our company is Veracity. It means truth. While we will never spin the truth for clients, we firmly believe that there are two sides to every story. As communicators, we’re able to get down to the heart of the matter dissecting it to uncover the true picture and offer advice as trusted confidants.

However, it’s always our aim to work ahead of the crisis, well before it occurs, if it occurs at all. There are three ways in which we do this:

#1: Don’t Get into a Crisis

This is the best case scenario. Hopefully you have your business and employee relations buttoned-up enough that you don’t need to call in a crisis communicator at the last minute to put out a fire.

Empowering a savvy, forward-thinking PR firm to be your true partner who is able to call you out on mistakes and blind spots is an ideal place to start. The strategic, sensitive guidance we can offer as women, millennials, people of color and for God sakes*, true-blooded native Portlanders, can be your saving grace.

Oftentimes your team is too “in” the organization to see beyond it.

#2: However, Stuff Happens

A crisis can befall the best of us. But if you’re already backed by a solid body of PR work, encompassing Community Relations and Internal Communications, and you’ve been telling that story frequently through press coverage, on your blog and in social media, hopefully the damage will not be as severe.

Ideally you have been investing in your business by working with a solid PR team that has thought ahead of the crisis and in doing so has consistently and frequently spread your positive message to both internal and external audiences so that when the crisis hits the damage is short-lived and less impactful.

#3: Have a Plan

A crisis plan that outlines every foreseeable worst-case scenario can help you act swiftly — which is key when time is of the essence and remain calm. It’s really hard to remain level-headed when you are blindsided and possibly scared by what has happened. Just knowing where to retrieve the necessary information in The Plan can help calm your nerves and set you into right-thinking.

Veracity’s crisis plans are replete with response trees and talking points, with pull-quotes, for each nerve-wracking scenario and platform. Possibly the extra sleep you’ll gain with some peace of mind is worth the investment in and of itself.

Stranger Danger in Your Vulnerable State

Now, of course there is the very worst case scenario, which means you aren’t already involved with a PR firm, or you don’t have a trusted PR team in-house, so you are calling in cold reinforcements during your most vulnerable time. If this is you, we will of course examine your situation to see if we can help, but it is going to be more expensive than if we were able to plan ahead.

This is because crises for non-retainer clients are the “drop everything” type of work that requires senior leadership brains. However, we would be honored to talk it through with you and possibly help, depending on bandwidth. If not, we have a list of some pinch-hitters we could refer you to.

Just prepare yourself for a pretty heavy conversation because we use our gut intuition when accepting new clients, especially if they are coming in through a crisis. If we have too many differences in the way of social justice beliefs, or the energy is just feeling off, we will respectfully point you in a different direction while maintaining the strict measures of confidentiality that are standard to the PR Code of Ethics.

*That wasn’t very “PC” of us, now was it?

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Internal Comms, D&I, Community Relations, Crisis, Thought Leadership


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