Crisis PR: It’s not what you think

The reputation of crisis PR firms just became the latest collateral damage in Facebook’s continued fight to restore its own image.

In an effort to manage a series of crises, a Facebook communications director did what anyone in their position should: brought in a team of crisis communications experts to manage the message.


Communications best practices when responding to a data breach

If the increase in headlines has taught us anything, it is that businesses should assume that at some point they will be on the receiving end of a cyberattack or data breach, and they must plan their crisis communications strategies accordingly.

According to 2018 data released by the Identity Theft Resource Center, the number of US data breach incidents as of Sept. 5 comes to 864, with more than 34 million records exposed. This follows on the heels of a new record high of 1,579 data breaches in 2017. This March, Facebook announced how the political data firm Cambridge Analytica collected personal information of 50 million Facebook users, though that number has since swelled to 87 million (and is likely much more). But this was just the tip of the iceberg, with breaches also being announced involving organizations such as Yahoo, Uber, Panera, Under Armour and even the NSA.


The case for thoughtful crisis communications preparation in higher education

This month, the Infinite Brief blog is focused on discussing crisis communications issues that are of importance to our clients, colleagues and peers. As part of this, we'll look at how different types of organizations can prepare thoughtfully for an array of reputation-damaging scenarios, and provide tips for implementing tools that will help them respond to any crisis they might face. 

Today we spotlight the education sector, providing background on the specific, real-life threats that universities and colleges face, and showing how schools might use some of the tools that have proven so useful to organizations outside education.


Gallagher’s 2018 report: The growing need for crisis resilience

As we bid farewell to our summer interns, we’re publishing a series of posts they wrote based on interviews with Infinite Global staff.


Lessons in crisis comms: Responding to a data breach

As organisations prepare for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and with recent high-profile data breaches affecting TSB, Facebook, Equifax and others, the importance of crisis communications in limiting reputational damage and instilling confidence and credibility has never been more critical. Most organisations think they are sufficiently prepared to manage and communicate effectively in the wake of data breach. But are they? How confident should organisations be in the efficacy of their current crisis preparations? Being ready to handle data breach crises requires deeper preparation than is often realized. As many brands find out, an elementary crisis plan and generic messaging is rarely sufficient.


Crisis communications planning for CMOs: Q&A with Deborah Farone

Crisis management is a now a major part of a law firm CMO’s portfolio. When things go south, management increasingly looks to the CMO for guidance.


How to build your crisis communications team

So much of an organization’s success is reliant on its good reputation and the hard-won trust of its customers and constituents. It could be argued that reputation is the single most-valuable asset in an organization’s brand arsenal, and one that must be protected at all costs. 

As a leading crisis communications firm, Infinite Global has helped many organizations select, assemble and prepare their crisis teams. Below we outline the roles and responsibilities of each member in a typical crisis communications team.


Four communications steps to take before a crisis hits

As a leading crisis communications firm, we see preparation as one of the most helpful — but often underutilized steps for crisis communications and reputation management. Preparing thoughtfully for a crisis requires dedicating time and resources up front and confronting the difficult reality that bad things happen even to good organizations.  


Cyber breach: not if, but when

Nearly seven in ten large UK businesses experienced a data breach or cyber attack in the past year, according to data released by the government this week. For those running businesses in the UK, breaches are no longer a case of if, but rather of when.

With the average annual cost per company of cyber breaches put at £20,000 – and in some cases running into millions – firms are understandably investing more in security measures to counter the risks. What is less tangible is the reputational damage. Firms are strongly recommended to prepare for both the direct impact of cyber breach and its reputational consequences.

Consider this 10-point checklist for cyber crisis communications preparedness:


There’s more than one ‘I’ in crisis

Every day the news brings stories of people banding together to deal with a calamity, overcome a common obstacle or fight for social change. Total strangers, with disparate backgrounds working together as one.

Organizations, too, are regularly presented with opportunities to accomplish things as a team that, if attempted alone, would not be possible. How difficult though, does this sort of collaboration become when facing an intensely stressful and unforeseen crisis? The need to move forward as a unit and respond to a crisis is made more challenging when those whose support and collaboration is required all respond differently, and (too often) poorly under pressure.

Responding to a crisis requires the ability to make decisions under duress. But those decisions can’t be made in a vacuum and balancing the needs of stakeholders while also responding to a news story unfurling in real time is stressful. An organization’s crisis response plan should anticipate how competing demands will be addressed, while leaving some wiggle room to pivot when the story and facts change.

Ultimately, a balance must be struck between an immediate but often incomplete response, and a delayed but detailed one. This can be achieved by considering the team’s psychological response to stress and accommodating for those known variables when preparing an Incident Response Plan (IRP) before a crisis hits.