Crisis & issues communications

In critical situations, a company’s future depends on the right choices. A suitable communication strategy helps protect reputation and strengthen trust in the organisation. We support clients in identifying, assessing, and monitoring risks early – and in conveying the right internal and external messages in a crisis.

Reputational damage through poor communications in crisis situations – violations, product recalls, restructuring measures, insolvencies, compliance incidents or the poor handling of public pressure from trade unions, NGOs or consumer associations – can be sudden and long-lasting. Even though some crises may come as a surprise, organisations can anticipate and analyse risks early on and take adequate precautions. Taking the right preventive measures before a crisis occurs helps minimize reputational damage when disaster strikes.

We support enterprises facing a crisis or another challenging issue with targeted, proactive communications to all stakeholders. Together with our clients, we develop messages that create clarity and reflect the prospects of the business in question. We develop bespoke crisis prevention and communications concepts to preserve the sovereignty of information in mission-critical situations and reduce the risk of stress-related communications errors. Our experienced team of consultants will assist you in crisis prevention and in overcoming a crisis or other challenging situation.

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Tina Mentner Managing Partner
Active in Düsseldorf
+49 211 430 79 217
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Tina Mentner leads the Special Situations Practice of HERING SCHUPPENER. From the Düsseldorf office, she develops communication strategies for crisis and change situations with a focus on restructuring processes and insolvencies. Since joining HERING SCHUPPENER in 1999, Tina has advised far more than 100 companies on the prevention and handling of crises. 

Her previous work experience includes a leading corporate communications consultancy where she formed part of the advisory team that backed up the IPO of Deutsche Telekom. Tina studied at the universities of Bochum and Munich. She holds an M.A. in communications, economics and market and organisational psychology.
Dirk von Manikowsky Partner
Active in Düsseldorf
+49 211 430 79 265
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Dirk von Manikowsky advises companies and organisations in challenging crisis and change situations, focusing particularly on communications advice in criminal or civil litigation, antitrust or fraud proceedings, compliance issues as well as restructuring. 

He headed the press and public relations department of private bank Sal. Oppenheim jr. & Cie. until 2011 and served as the group’s press spokesman in Cologne and Luxembourg for six years. Previously, he worked for nine years as an advisor focusing on financial and crisis communications in Cologne and Düsseldorf. Dirk studied communications, political science and English literature.

Litigation & compliance communications

Judgements are not only passed by courts of law but also in the court of public opinion – which has its very own rules of engagement. It is, therefore, key for companies involved in legal disputes to communicate deliberately and in a targeted manner — to both internal and external stakeholders during and after litigation. In doing so, they can avoid reputational damage while supporting a company’s legal strategy.

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Compliance incidents – whether real or alleged – represent a specific challenge to companies. Experience has shown that reputational damage can be minimised the sooner legal professionals and communications advisors team up and prepare a consistent approach to solving the problem. Before an incident occurs, we analyse the potential for damage, recommend a tailored counterstrategy and adequate early-warning systems. During an incident we organise communications quickly and professionally when the media are reporting. After the fact we help rebuild lost trust by communicating a clear path toward compliance both internally and externally, as well as enriching the media’s agenda with positive issues that can get lost along the way.

Effective public relations during legal proceedings can avoid the potentially negative impact of a lawsuit on businesses. At the same time, good communications helps employee morale. We devise strategies, prepare measures, and help approach the relevant target groups with bespoke measures. This is important because lawsuits that have been won in court mustn’t be “lost” in public.

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Restructuring and insolvency

World markets are dynamic and economic realities can change more quickly than many realize. Enterprises need to adjust in order to ensure sustainable growth and secure jobs – not only in times of crisis. They must approach different stakeholder groups – employees, clients, investors, creditors, suppliers, the media, unions, works councils, and politicians – in a targeted and adequate manner. This is the prerequisite for a successful reorganization.

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In the course of a restructuring or in cases of insolvency, uncertainty among a company’s various stakeholders is high. In these situations, it is key to inform and explain the essential procedural steps as quickly as possible to all the parties involved – including the media – through open and transparent communications. This is the only way for an enterprise to rebuild and retain trust, thus counteracting permanent damage to its reputation.

We advise our customers – companies, insolvency practitioners, turnaround managers or trustees – in this difficult period and assist them throughout the communication process, whether it be during a restructuring, negotiations with employee representatives or creditors during insolvency. We are committed to delivering the appropriate communications strategy and a reliable process for its implementation for our customers.

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Crisis prevention

Companies can no longer afford to neglect crisis prevention today. Crises are exceptional situations that can severely damage the reputation and liquidity of a company. In our globalised, digital age, even local issues can develop into cross-border crises within minutes.

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We provide systematic online and offline systems for the correct response in the traditional media and in news and social media channels. They enable our clients to identify critical situations early on or to successfully manage a state of emergency as speedily as possible.

In focus: real-time, networked communications among all crisis managers. Our service combines the two core disciplines of crisis communication, i.e. crisis prevention and crisis management.

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Leadership & Change Communications

Mergers and acquisitions, strategic realignment and restructuring, cultural change and digital transformation: Companies are undergoing perpetual change. Many change projects that make perfect economic sense fail, however – because employees simply refuse to support them. Successful change communication plays a vital role in mobilizing employees at all levels of the organisation.

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Effective change communication offers guidance by answering all the important questions about the impending change – from the “Why” to the “How”. It fosters dialogue between stakeholder groups to deepen their understanding of the intended change and reduce resistance against it. It engages staff and managers and gives them a sense of purpose by involving them in the change process. It uses the inspirational power of stories and the integrative appeal of social media.

We help companies design their change communication from the communication strategy to target group specific content and the concrete implementation of individual measures, placing special emphasis on empowering managers as multipliers.

Our clients benefit from our long-standing expertise in communicating a diverse range of change projects. We leverage our deep understanding of methods and tools combined with attention to detail and creativity to develop change solutions that work.

Katrin Häbel Managing Director
Active in Frankfurt am Main
+49 69 9218 7436
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Katrin Häbel is a Managing Director at HERING SCHUPPENER in Frankfurt/Main, where she works in the Corporate Communications Team. She advises clients particularly in crisis and change situations and in all aspects of internal communication. Katrin Häbel began her career with HERING SCHUPPENER and has been with the company since the year 2001. She studied Mass Communications, German and American language and literature and Journalism at the University of Mainz and at the American University in Washington D.C.
Dr. Tatiana Belgorodski Director
Active in Frankfurt am Main
+49 69 9218 7438
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Dr. Tatiana Belgorodski is a Director at Hering Schuppener. She advises clients regarding crisis and change communication, with a focus on internal communications and cultural change. Before joining Hering Schuppener in 2006, she worked for more than five years in internal and external HR communications at Deutsche Bank AG in Frankfurt and New York. After her studies in American Literature, Economics and French at the University of Göttingen, she made her Executive MBA in „Communication and Leadership“ at the TU Munich and wrote her PhD thesis on „Value and implementation of storytelling in internal communications“ at the University of Leipzig in parallel to her job. She has received in a Change Management Foundation Training with the Neuwaldegg Consulting Group.  
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