Crisis, Issues and Reputation Management

Author: Andrew Griffin

In this book the author analyzes the links between issues, incidents and reputation. In addition, crisis management also comes to the surface. A crisis can arise from the issues or incidents, and can threaten the reputation. This book is therefore relevant in the current time frame in which organizations function. This is because these are increasingly occurring issues since the rise of social media.

The book is divided into two large parts.

A first part exposes the links between issues and incidents. This both in an external and internal context. The author further divides the issues in negative and positive, each with a possible reactive or proactive approach. This part ends with an overview of inter-related risks, or how internal and external issues and incidents can overlap during a crisis. All this is upholstered with a large number of examples.

So far the theoretical part.

The second part starts with an overview of the course of the reputation cycle before, during and after a crisis. The big steps are:

  1. Prediction, including the scanning of the horizon, the interests of the stakeholders, reputation assessments.
  2. Prevent, with, among other things, a reputation-risk architecture, training, awareness
  3. Being prepared for the crisis
  4. Solution, with issues management and change management
  5. Respond with strategic crisis management and crisis communication and
  6. Recovery with a lessons-based and performance improvement, the re-acquisition of trust and the changes in organization and strategy.

Each of these six steps is subsequently explored in a chapter. But actually every chapter is worth a book.

One of the biggest take-away messages of the book is that in a crisis for the organization there is always the opportunity to change and adapt.

Risk Issues and Crisis Management in Public Relations – A Casebook of Best Practice

Authors: Michael Regester & Judy Larkin

In this book, the authors discuss risk management (although they only speak of risk issues) and crisis management as part of what they call ‘Issues management’ and that with an approach from the perspective of public relations. Here they give numerous examples in the form of case studies.

The book is divided into two parts: a section on the elaboration of issues management, which looks suspiciously like risk management, because it has many similar building blocks, and a second section on crisis management, emphasizing both the importance of the teams, as the communication aspects.

Issues management is working on the drafting of a procedure of issues management, in which a great deal of attention is paid to the components that the authors consider important. The whole is concluded with some overviews of concrete approaches in two existing organizations.

Concerning Crisis Management, it is the intention that you remember the following (not necessarily in this order and certainly not an exhaustive list):


  • Be the first to share, recognize first that there is a problem.
  • Rectify immediately any error that comes into the media.
  • Be complete, correct, honest, transparent and willing to communicate. Do not say things like ‘no comment’ and if nothing is known yet, then tell them you will not leave no stone unconverted untill is known how things work.
  • Provide a place to speak to the press. It’s best to work one-on-one for the television channels. The latter can take a lot of time and energy and therefore it can be interesting to have a single TV interview set up in consultation with all channels.
  • Start communicating immediately, even if you do not have any information yet.
  • Always discuss the following topics in the following order:

    • People
    • Environment and environs
    • Properties
    • Money

And always talk first about the facts, then emotions and then state a vision of what you will do or are doing about it. Prevent a void in communication.

  • Always make sure that your actions are in the spotlight, and that you are heard.
  • Avoid putting bad blood in the population.
  • Visit the disaster site.
  • Acknowledge fault when it is proven, not before. Refer to experts for the evidence and do not be tempted into endless defense talk.
  • Never speculate about what you do not know.
  • If the press does not pay attention to you, do not walk away, stay in the area but do not pull any attention to your organization. Do not be a ‘sitting target’.
  • Do not ignore any media source.
  • Be willing to pay ex-gratia.

All this is extensively upholstered with cases where it worked and where it did not work.