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Could your team prevent a reputation crisis?

Crisis management training and crisis simulation exercises to help FMCG Managers prevent a reputation crisis.

Download your FREE guide to Preventing a Social Media Crisis Book a complimentary demonstration of our ONLINE crisis simulator!

A reputation crisis can be devastating for your business

The average cost of a crisis in 2000 was $10m - and 25% over $100m. A quarter of companies don't survive. 

By 2018, the cost had doubled! Why? 

Social media!

Social media means negative news about your brand travels further and faster than ever before. What starts out as a minor incident can quickly spiral out of control.

It doesn't have to be that way!

Social media can actually be your greatest asset - and the only one you can control! 

Social media provides an unprecedented opportunity to reach out and engage with consumers, build trust in your company, products and brands and actually strengthen your business!

We can show you how.

The FMCG Manager's Guide to Preventing a Social Media Crisis

In this FREE Guide, we'll show you how to respond effectively when an incident happens. Go from feeling at the mercy of a fast escalating crisis to getting - and keeping control!

Preparation is critical!

Being prepared means having the 3 P's in place:

1. Plan

An easy to use plan that provides good guidance to your team under the pressure of a crisis.

2. People

People that have been trained and have the leadership skills to implement your plan effectively.

Enrol in our Online Course

3. Practice

A realistic crisis simulation so you KNOW your plan will work, and people respond well, when it really matters!

More information on crisis simulations

"Great insights and practical tools that have helped George Weston Foods lift capability and be better prepared for incidents."

Andrew Bray
Head of Internal Audit and Risk Management, George Weston Foods Ltd

How can we help you and your team?

We can give you the skills you need and the processes you must have in place to confidently manage major incidents effectively so they don't escalate into a reputation crisis, particularly over social media.

Training

Our online and onsite training courses will help you build an effective crisis management plan and develop tried and tested processes to respond effectively and keep your company out of a crisis.

Enrol in our Online Course

Online coaching

Small group and one on one coaching to develop the key leadership and facilitation skills necessary to implement your program. You also get to practice those skills in a simulation exercise.

More on coaching

Crisis Simulation Exercises

Feel confident that your plan will work and your people will respond effectively when a potential crisis happens. Our crisis simulations include a full social media simulation fully customised to your company and products.

More on Simulations

Frequently Asked Questions

We've seen senior managers from a range of functional areas - HR, Marketing, Quality, Operations, Security, Risk Management, Legal and Finance; become very successful incident coordinators. These are the people that lead the senior team through the successful management of an incident.

 The key to facilitating a team in a potential crisis has more to do with leadership skills (which we help you develop) and having a structured process to follow (which we give you) to keep the team focused on what is important, not so much the functional expertise. In fact there are times when you don't really want a functional expert as the incident coordinator. For example, if it's a product recall, the Quality Manager will often have a significant functional role to play so you're better off having someone else facilitate. This is also the reason that we recommend having an alternate, not just one person.

Our programs enable managers to step up when incidents and product recalls are required and demonstrate leadership skills rather than just fulfilling their functional responsibilities as important as they are.

Many companies feel powerless to stop a fast escalating incident, particularly once it hits social media. This is not the case.

Consumers act in surprisingly predictable ways when incidents happen. We humans express a certain level of outrage when incidents happen, particularly if is a safety related incident, and social media can carry that sense of outrage quickly and widely.

When messages are confusing or companies seem to be acting in a way that is in conflict with their brand promise, values or what they say, or don't seem to care, the incident will escalate fast.

Good crisis prevention means responding quickly and thoughtfully to address the concerns and expectations of key stakeholders including consumers, reducing the level of outrage and building a platform to return to business.

A crisis is not only preventable, but a well managed incident or product recall can actually have a positive impact on your business and brands. 

While any company will benefit from good crisis prevention processes, we focus on food and consumer goods because major incidents, consumer concerns and issues and product recalls in these industries impact a lot of people and generate the greatest level of interest and concern when an incident happens.

The companies that will get particular value are food, toys, clothing, personal care and cosmetics, consumer electricals, household appliances, building materials and tools, motor vehicles etc

Manufacturers, retailers and distributors of products that consumers use regularly must have effective crisis prevention programs in place whether they supply direct to consumers or supply other businesses that do.

The process we teach you can be applied to any kind of incident - extreme weather, major disruption, workplace accident, product problems, consumer complaints, allegations of impropriety, malicious threats, regulatory changes etc. It is a high level management process designed to keep you out of a crisis and is designed for the senior management team. 

What supports this higher level program are the detailed operational plans you may need for emergency response, IT disaster recovery, business process recovery, product recall etc. These plans require functional specialists to go though often very detailed planning and implementation that is part of their functional roles.

We do get into more detail around managing product recalls because we work with food and consumer goods companies and recalls need to be managed really carefully to prevent a crisis. The overall process and the skills required however apply to any type of incident.

There are many good PR companies but their focus is generally on marketing communications with some experience in crisis communications.  Few have a good understanding of social media crisis management.

Crisis communications is not the same thing as crisis management. Communications are an outcome of a good assessment and response strategy, not an end in itself. 

We generally explain it by saying that PR companies are good at making a bad situation sound better, but crisis management is about making a bad situation better, then communicating effectively!

We focus on getting the critical assessment and strategy elements right, then we help you create a communications plan, particularly for social media. At that point you may want to call in the PR company to help you get the messages out to stakeholders - but you will have briefed them well first!

 

The processes we teach do seem quite intuitive and we do not claim to be teaching rocket science.

However, when the phones start ringing, customers, consumers and regulators start demanding answers you don't have yet, the media are calling and social media is starting to go viral, it doesn't seem as intuitive at all!

Even the most experienced teams can quickly become overwhelmed and that commonly leads to companies saying or doing things that they later regret.

What keeps you out of a crisis when things start escalating is a good process and people that know how to use it. 

We see crises happen all the time - Johnson & Johnson, Heinz, Volkwagen, Takata, Australian strawberries, BP, United Airlines, Facebook - it's a long list. The CEO and senior executives of these companies are not stupid nor do they lack resources, yet they got into a preventable crisis. 

That's great! Many companies do mock recalls and in fact some industries and standards require it. The thing to consider with mock recalls however is that they tend to be focused on traceability and are internally focused. While traceability is really important in a product recall, it is usually not an accurate test of your ability to prevent a major incident or product recall escalating into a crisis. 

For that you need to make sure you include role-playing of key external stakeholders such as customers, consumers, regulators, the media, industry associations etc- even better if you can get them to join in the exercise with you, but certain role-playing them is important.

Likewise, if you are currently doing crisis exercises, you need to make sure you are exercising your engagement with key external stakeholders.

Even if you are doing them regularly as an internal exercise, you should get an external provider (such as us!) to run them occasionally to make sure you are getting a different perspective.  You need to know you're doing it right! The middle of a crisis is the wrong time to find out that it's not working!

All of our simulations include us role-playing a broad range of internal and external stakeholders as well as a full social media component - what looks like your products, your social media sites and your stakeholders but all behind our secure server. 

Many companies have crisis management plans but unfortunately they are not always helpful in a real crisis. They are often too long, don't include the right guidance and rarely contain an effective social media strategy. The people that need to implement the plan often haven't been trained and haven't practiced in a realistic simulation.

There is really only two ways to find out whether your plan is effective and your people will respond well: 1. In a real crisis (not the recommended strategy) or 2. in a realistic simulation exercise. One that applies enough pressure to get the feel for a real crisis but within a safe learning environment.  

All of our simulations include role-playing a broad range of internal and external stakeholders as well as a full social media component - what looks like your products, your social media sites and your customers and consumers but all behind our secure server. 

While you might think you have an effective plan, we urge you to stress test it so you KNOW you have an effective plan and your people can implement it.

We offer crisis management training, coaching and simulation exercises online so geography is not really important to us. 

We do offer onsite training and simulations. We are based in Sydney, Australia but we do travel! Through our partnerships with RQA Inc based in the US and with offices in North and South America; and RQA Group in London, UK with offices and consultants in Europe and Asia, we are able to offer services in many countries around the world with a local, experienced consultant. 

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