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Managing an issue or crisis begins long before one actually occurs

Managing an issue or crisis begins long before one actually occurs

Robin den Hoed

Director of Corporate Communications

Hill+Knowlton Strategies


Issues like the fatal technical problems with the Boeing Max 737 or recent safety discussions about Huawei telephones, highlight just how unexpectedly an issue or crisis can occur for brands, and the tremendous impact one such crisis can have on a large number of people. Most companies and governments believe they are well prepared for these kinds of shock occurrences. But how well are you really prepared if an issue emerges – for an incident that could have a significant impact on your business operations, or the reputation of your brand?

Issue and crisis management is a constant process, and certainly not a one-off activity to be carried out in the wake of an incident. Plans and processes for issues and crises must be regularly checked and validated to ensure they are as relevant and complete as possible for whatever risks your business might face. To be truly effective, issue and crisis management must start long before an incident occurs.

What’s more, handling an issue or crisis doesn’t end with an evaluation after the most immediate problems have been addressed. Issues and crises can have a long-lasting impact, both internally and externally. So it’s important to commit to a long-term recovery program to restore trust, both internally and externally. 

In sum, effective issue and crisis management isn’t something that begins when a crisis occurs. It’s an ongoing process that starts long before any single event. It begins with thorough preparation for any potential threats that your brand could realistically face, and it requires the commitment to restoring trust long after the immediate symptoms of an issue begins to fade away.