Crisis Management- When You Need An Outside Crisis PR Manager

July 7, 2014

Just when the financial industry thought it was safe to go back into the water, the French bank- Bank Pariabas announced it was pleading guilty to federal charges of violating US sanctions and hiding $$Billions of transfers from sanctioned countries including the Sudan and Iran.  The fine Bank Paribas agreed to pay- $9 Billion. The news of course was all over the media, with the New York Times devoting a major article on the matter, and Attorney General Eric Holder holding a news conference.Even the French Government got into the act by claiming the fine was excessive and could damage the European economy or at least the European banking community. Undoubtedly, the negative press will have a negative impact on the Bank Paribas brand.  How can it manage such a crisis?

Major crisis like the one mentioned above, must be properly managed.  As today's society has become very anti business ( and perhaps with some justification) because of the various mega crisis that have impacted people around the world, a simple PR or marketing statement no longer suffices.  A full fledged crisis management operation must be put in place .  Sometimes, damage control involves the use of an outside  crisis management consultant such as an outside Crisis PR consultant.  Normally, PR consultants that handle crisis or help risk managers or in house lawyers manage a crisis are those who have years of experience with the media.  A good PR consultant will know what the media wants from the company, will know the players involved in the media and will also understand how to minimize the media's appetite for bad press.  A good PR consultant will help the company embroiled in a crisis navigate the dangerous communication currents of the crisis management ocean .  It can help save the business reputation of the company and improve media relations.

There a few well known crisis media consultants or PR managers.  These consultants, if used in a timely fashion, can help a company weather the crisis storm.  Normally, they need to be brought in at the beginning to effectively do their job. I suggest therefore, to have one on retainer if and when a major crisis develops. One such PR consultant is Gillott Communications.  Their blog website address is as follows:

Remember, an effective crisis management plan must be implemented within 24 hours of the crisis event ( or as some say within several hours because of the explosion of social media platforms) or the company may not survive.  As a  legal risk manager or in house counsel, you need to develop an effective crisis management strategy prior to the crisis itself.  You will need to use all of the risk management tools available, including outside consultants that can help manage and even resolve potentially negative events  that result in major attacks on the company. Unless managed, a crisis can and often does lead to catastrophic results that not only damage a company' s brand value but its very existence.  Using a Crisis Management Consultant skilled in media relations is one of the most effective ways of managing and minimizing risk.

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