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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Reputation Risks caused by Cyber Attacks
Besides offering countless opportunities, digitization also entails new risks. The threat of cyber-attacks poses enormous challenges for both the private and public sphere. One in two companies have already been the victim of a hacking attack – with most security gaps unintentionally caused by employees. Given the complexity and the increasing pace of the cyber threats, it is essential that companies be well-prepared on a communications level and build an integrative approach that helps them maintain the trust of stakeholders by responding quickly, confidently and accurately.
When attackers target sensitive data, obtain trade secrets or shut down a company’s system, the first line of defence requires the skill and experience of IT experts. From the very first moment, however, such attacks also have legal implications – be it in the form of statutory reporting obligations (which will become significantly more stringent within the EU from 2018 onwards), liability issues or penalties under the criminal law. The actual risk of an attack has the potential to be accompanied by further million-dollar losses.
In addition to IT and legal risks, the risks posed to a company’s reputation should not be underestimated. Investors or shareholders, for example, could lose confidence in the company’s business processes and withdraw their support. Customers, too, may turn away if they believe their data to be compromised and potentially create a public outcry demanding more information on the attack. In such cases, a comprehensive, transparent and prompt communication with the affected stakeholders is crucial.
Hering Schuppener Consulting has long-standing strategic communications expertise in crisis prevention and crisis management, along with a large network of strong partners. We advise our clients around the clock in these challenging times and help them to minimize the risk of potential reputational damage.
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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.
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.