Unit 6. Best Practices

Best Practices

Best Practice 1
Set up a Crisis Team

First in 2015 with a subsequent scandal in 2018, Volkswagen faced a crisis after it was revealed that it had installed secret software that made engines appear cleaner in tests than on the road. Oliver Larkin, head of the investor relations team, told IR Magazine that “As a company, we immediately set up a working group, with representatives from the communications side as well as the technical side and the legal side that assessed the information as it came out – and these people were working 24/7.”

The group focused on messaging, brand reputation and relationships with major investors, while other responsibilities were sidelined. Experts and consultants also participated in the effort.
Although you have a designated crisis management team, you will need to define smaller teams focused on specific issues.
Give team members the resources they need, such as qualified outside experts. Cross-functional teams are often highly effective.

Best Practice 2

Shed light on smoldering crises

Smoldering crises are those events that start out as business as usual, evolve into small internal problems, slowly become public to stakeholders and, overtime escalate to crisis as a result of inattention by management.

According to Institute of Crisis Management (ICM, 2019) almost three quarters of business crises fall in the smoldering category.

Identify the existing risks of potential crises and anticipate and plan to mitigate or prevent them.

For example:

•Take facilities physical security measures in locations prone to natural disasters.

•Consider whether there are any nearby organizations or infrastructure that could have a disaster that could affect your business facilities (e.g., rail lines, airport, chemical plant etc.).

•Consider if your business sites are in areas prone to political or civil unrest.

•Anticipate legal or regulatory changes that could disrupt your business.

•Consider highly sensitive information hosted on company systems (e.g., personally identifiable information).

•Consider which services/products’ failure could seriously harm your business.


ISO 22300:2021 Security and resilience — Vocabulary, www.iso.org

The BCI, Good Practice Guidelines, 2018 Edition, www.thebci.org

Garnet Roche: Crisis management and rebuilding reputation at Volkswagen, in  https://www.irmagazine.com/case-studies/crisis-management-and-rebuilding-reputation-volkswagen

Effective Scenario-Based Crisis Communication Training – C4CS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOh9pUDFwJI