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Realistic crisis simulation exercises

Don't just think that your team should be able to manage a crisis - KNOW they can.

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A series of consumer complaints, negative comments going viral, product recalls, or a corporate scandal can have a devastating impact on a food or consumer goods company.

Social media means bad news travels further and faster than ever which means you have to get on top of it quickly.

 

There are two ways to know you can manage a crisis - in a real one, OR in the safe, learning environment of a crisis simulation.

A realistic crisis simulation exercise will prepare your team!

Our simulation exercises help you ......

Practice key leadership skills

Problem-solving, communication, strategy and facilitation skills are not only critical skills for managing a crisis, but key leadership skills for your team to develop for their career.

Respond confidently on social media

Practice your response to consumer complaints and negative comments on your social media pages in real time - and stop incidents from escalating out of control.

Protect your reputation and your business

Your team has worked hard for years to to build trust in your brand and your products. Don't risk all that in a poorly managed crisis. Practice using the tools you need to protect your business!

Prepare your team to protect your business today!

Crisis management is one of those programs that keeps getting put off. It's not urgent - until it is and you're not prepared!

Full immersion exercise - including social media

You need to respond to consumers on social media, customers, the media, regulators and other stakeholders. 

Build the skills and confidence of your team in a safe learning environment - but one that is as close as you can get to a real crisis without being in one!

We can customise your exercise so it looks like your social media pages starting to go viral - but behind our secure server where you make a mistake without damaging your brand! 

Understand team dynamics and team management in a crisis

When everyone is casually sitting around a table discussing what they would probably do in a crisis, when the phones start ringing, customers are demanding answers you don't have yet, regulators are pushing you towards action you don't feel ready for and social media is going viral, a crisis doesn't seem intuitive at all!

The fact is that decision-making in a potential crisis is different and you won't really know whether your plan will work or your people are prepared until your team is put under some pressure. 

Our exercises can be tailored to go easy on a new team but really push an experienced team.

 

Practice using your plan and key tools

You will only know that your plan is useful if you are confident with it under crisis conditions. Many companies have  plans that look great when the auditor takes a look through but you will know whether they provide useful guidance in a crisis when you're either in the middle of one - or in the safe learning environment of a realistic simulation.

"Our annual crisis simulations really helps to keep us on our toes and provides the confidence that we’ll be able to respond should a crisis situation occur”"

Jason Sheriff
Chief Financial Officer, Miraka Ltd

Feedback and coaching

Consumers respond to your communications in real time. Experienced consultant provides feedack and coaching

KNOW you're doing it right!

Build confidence that your processes are right and your team have the capabilities to manage a real crisis.

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Identify gaps and address them

A real crisis is the wrong time to identify gaps. A crisis simulation helps you identify them and address them.

Frequently Asked Questions

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. 

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. 

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 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.

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.

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. 

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