Crisis & Litigation Communications

The Anatomy of a Crisis #1 – Shining a Light on 100 High Profile Crises Over 20 Years

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What do the crises of recent times tell us about how best to prepare for future incidents?

In this age of round-the-clock company scrutiny, we see almost as much focus given to how a Company handles a crisis as the crisis itself.

With turbulence in our world growing on an almost daily basis and the always-on nature of the news, crisis has become an almost daily consideration for business. Globalisation, investor activism, political and cyber risk are all contributing to increasing business vulnerability and any Board’s sense of concern.

If handled poorly, crises can cause deep and long lasting damage to a company’s reputation. If handled well, however, a crisis can become an opportunity for a company’s management team to demonstrate their mettle to investors, customers and employees.

With this in mind, FTI decided to undertake a piece of proprietary research around the recent crises that have made headlines. Our objective was to shine a light on those crises, and assess how they played out with a view to helping businesses successfully navigate future disruptive events of their own.

We have reviewed 100 crises over the past 20 years. These include oil spills, cyber hacks, plane crashes, cases of fraud, product recalls and many more. We were interested to see what patterns emerge from these crises – patterns which might be instructive for Boards and communicators when facing their own crisis scenario.

In order to capture the key reactions and responses, but also provide some room for reactions to settle and normality to resume, we chose the three-month period after a crisis becomes publically known as our window of observation.

A key element of our research is the variety of crises included. Of course we looked at some of the best known events of recent years, but we also wanted to look at some lesser known crises that companies might be more likely to face day-to-day. These might be here today and gone within several weeks as far as most of us are concerned, but the impact on the companies involved can be much longerlasting. Here we included issues like cyber breaches, cases of corruption and accidents, for example. We also analysed the data by topic and by region.

 

 

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