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Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World

Updated: Feb 27, 2019

By Melissa Agnes

Melissa Agnes is a leading authority on crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection. Agnes is a coveted speaker, commentator, and advisor to some of today's leading organizations faced with the greatest risks.

1. What is Crisis Management for Melissa Agnes? Could you describe a situation that you define as a crisis?

It is extremely important for organizations to define what a crisis is to their company, as a crisis for one organization is not necessarily a crisis for another. Additionally, in this age of social media, where issues can quickly go viral and cast unwanted negative attention upon your brand, you want to ensure that your entire team is able to detect the difference between an issue and a crisis, so as to be able to respond appropriately.

So, how do you define a crisis for your organization? Following are baseline definitions of both an “issue” and a “crisis”, taken from my new book, Crisis Ready. Feel free to take these definitions and use them to define and identify crisis scenarios for your organization.

A crisis is:

a negative event or situation that impacts, or threatens to impact:

· people (stakeholders),

· the environment,

· business operations,

· the organization’s reputation and/or

· the organization’s bottom line…

… over the long-term. A crisis is a negative event that will stop business as usual to some extent, as it will require immediate attention and decision-making from leadership.

An issue is:

a negative event or situation that either:

· does not stop business as usual, and/or

· does not threaten long-term negative impact on any of the five business attributes listed above.

However, this is not to say that issues aren’t important to quickly detect and manage, as mismanaged issues can develop into crises.

2. How should a brand respond to a crisis?

While the strategy of response depends on the specifics of the situation, there are two necessary components of successful crisis management:

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