As any PR consultant will tell you, every crisis is different. Each situation contains unique elements, although the broad strokes are similar. If you’ve been in the business for a while, you’ll likely find yourself saying, “Haven’t dealt with that before,” about at least one crisis component.
Having said that, similar crises that arrive close to one another can be a sign of the times—indicators of issues being covered in the media or raised by shareholders and board members because they represent heightened awareness.
If only to be prepared for a situation that hopefully never arises at your own organization, it’s essential to keep an eye on crises being talked about by major media and the public. Here are some of the issues we’ve kept an eye on for our clients so far this year.
Top 3 crisis communication examples
2023 Crisis Communication Example #1: Silicon Valley Bank Collapse
The Spring collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, a significant funder of tech start-ups, rocked the global financial industry and seriously affected many adjacent sectors like tech, venture capital, and biotechnology.
Many media watchers feel the communications strategy surrounding the collapse only served to hasten the situation, with the company issuing a convoluted press release and seemingly reacting slowly to assuage investors’ concerns after a widely-read newsletter reported on it being over-leveraged.
The fall of the 16th largest bank in the U.S., just months after the collapse of crypto exchange FTX, sent shockwaves through the global financial system. Staying on top of this story and providing real-time updates and background messaging was essential for any organization that did business, either directly or indirectly, with Silicon Valley Bank or had members or stakeholders who did as well.
2023 Crisis Communication Example #2: School Culture Wars
Educators, school administrators, and board members continue to face heightened national tensions over “culture war” issues, such as transgender students participating in sports that match their gender identity, anti-racist teaching curriculum, and book bans.
It’s startling to concede that we live in a country where some school districts are pressured not to accept students for who they are, ban books, or pretend our country’s ugly racial history doesn’t exist. But here we are.
Working with schools to navigate how they communicate these thorny issues means staying on top of the news surrounding them. From crafting talking points to gaming out FAQs, the language schools use to address these issues can help calm educators’ fears and quiet some of the reactionary and alarmist rhetoric around them.
2023 Crisis Communication Example #3: Data Breaches
In March, members of Congress and residents of Washington D.C. were subject to a hack of an online health insurance marketplace that jeopardized their personal information. Closer to home in Boston, an April ransomware attack against Harvard Pilgrim Health Care impacted more than 2.5 million people.
In the murky world of online attacks, establishing the facts and understanding how your business or organization’s members could be impacted by a data breach or security incident is the first step. Once a fuller picture of the scope of the breach or security incident is established, quick and clear communication to the public can help reduce uncertainty and mitigate reputational damage.
Need assistance with crisis communications?
These are just some significant crises impacting companies and public institutions this year. While each situation required an individually tailored response, keeping an eye on these issues and thinking about how they could impact your organization or your partners is a tried and true way to stay a step ahead of a crisis on the horizon.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with crisis communications.
David Tanklefsky is a senior account director at The Castle Group. He can be reached at email@example.com.