Crisis and Reputation Management

Our crisis management experts are experienced in handling complex issues and crises, including product recalls, class action lawsuits, and boardroom disruption, for multinationals and start-ups alike. 

Our objective is always to minimize the negative impact of any situation on corporate, brand and personal reputations, and bring it swiftly to an acceptable conclusion.

Prepare. Respond. Recover

Nobody wants a crisis to happen, but most organizations face one at some point. 

We help to anticipate issues, putting in place measures to minimize the risk of them blowing up into full-blown crises, and ensuring our clients are prepared for every eventuality. 

But should the worst happen, we provide 24/7 support through any crisis, and develop recovery strategies to rebuild reputations once the dust has settled. 

Issues and Crisis Management Expertise

Our team is experienced at preventing issues becoming crises, and handling them if they do.

Data is a highly valuable asset, and one that is coveted by ever-more-ingenious nefarious forces. As we have seen from some high profile data breaches, even large, sophisticated organizations are at risk from cyber attack, and are often woefully unprepared, either to prevent or deal with the fallout from one, should they become a victim. Our crisis and reputation management team understand every aspect of this particular risk. As well as providing counsel on prevention, preparedness and damage limitation, we work with 'white hat hackers' to test the robustness of companies' systems, through crisis simulation exercises.

Accidents happen. But how a company responds when they do, can mean the difference between a reputation lost and a reputation maintained - with all of the commercial consequences that implies. Our team ensures that companies at risk of any kind of accident befalling a member of staff, or a member of the public, are prepared, drilled and able to respond swiftly, compassionately and appropriately - with our guidance and support - should the worst happen.

Almost all companies whose reputations are most damaged as a result of a product recall have one thing in common - they failed to act quickly and decisively and, in extreme cases, actively tried to avoid having to issue a recall notice. Our crisis and reputation management experts not only ensure robust processes are in place and regularly tested, but have experience in managing communications in the face of dozens of recalls - and their aftermath. Product recalls are costly. But the long-term cost of failing to respond appropriately once a product flaw is discovered, is invariably, much, much greater.

Business abhors uncertainty, and any change in senior management can give shareholders, customers, employees and other stakeholder a serious case of the jitters, resulting in a loss of reputation and even value. Our team is experienced at managing communications around the most sensitive of changes in executive leadership, ensuring a sense of continuity and forward motion is projected.

Companies that operate in highly regulated markets, like energy and finance, can quickly find themselves facing business-critical issues, should the regulatory winds change direction. Navigating the regulatory landscape requires a deep understanding of how legislation works, and what levers to pull to stop this kind of risk from threatening a company's very license to operate.

Our research into the issues most likely to affect companies across all sectors shows that the most visible is poor customer service. The advent of social media, and its use as a customer service channel, makes complaints and their responses highly visible. We have seen plenty of examples in recent years of major companies not only get their response to customer complaints spectacularly wrong, but compound matters by making a mess of their follow-up, too. We are not in the business of training customer service teams, but we can help to identify which types of complaint are most likely to go viral, devise appropriate responses, and step up to provide crisis communications support at a moment's notice, should that become necessary.

Issues and Crisis Management Services

We provide the full suite of issues and crisis management services, to help organizations of all sizes to prepare, respond, and recover.

Crises are best avoided, and we believe in preparation rather than panic. We help clients to plan ahead, identifying risks, gaming out potential scenarios, and putting in place measures to respond in the event that those risks become reality. As part of our Crisis Planning service, we typically carry out an audit of capabilities, processes, resources and owned and social assets; and undertake a risk assessment and scenario planning exercise, identifying areas of weakness or sensitivity, and developing appropriate responses.

All of the crisis procedures and scenario planning in the world are only of value if they are stress tested. Our crisis management training ensures our clients' executive teams are thoroughly prepared and able to handle any crisis, as a team. We design crisis management training programs, customized to a company's operating environment, and test processes and responses through desktop or full scale crisis simulations, including 'hostile' media interviews. Finally, we may revise crisis management procedures, based on the experience of a simulation.

Should a crisis occur, we will act quickly and activate our established crisis management process, establishing a 'war room' and providing 24/7 support, including a crisis response strategy, which is kept under review as the situation evolves; real-time media and social media monitoring; media and stakeholder relations.

It can take a long time to recover from a crisis – but it doesn’t have to. In the wake of any crisis, whether we have managed it or not, we undertake a review to see what can be learned, and use those lessons as the basis for enhancing processes and procedures, if necessary. The post-crisis review also serves as the starting point for a Crisis Recovery Plan. A damaged reputation can take time to re-build, and work needs to begin immediately.

The best way to minimize the negative impact of a crisis, should one happen, is to ensure you have a healthy store of goodwill accumulated with your various stakeholders, including the media and other third parties with influence. A reputation tended to, can weather most storms. Our corporate reputation experts develop programs that act as an insurance policy, managing ongoing issues, and shielding against future assault.

Today, a company is not longer what it says it is, or even what the media say it is; you are what Google says you are. Search, and Google Search in particular, is the most widely used and trusted source of information for all audiences. Potential customers, suppliers, partners, employees, investors, regulators... they all turn to Google first. Using GCore, our proprietary online reputation management tool, we are able to identify risks in any company's search profile, and recommend and implement content-based solutions that ensure your Page 1 results tell the world what you want it to know about your brand.

Crisis and Reputation Management Team

Our crisis and reputation management team has decades of combined experience, both in-house and agency-side, and has successfully managed many high profile issues.


Read the latest thinking from our team, on the Grayling blog.


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Get in touch

If you need issues or crisis management support or advice, get in touch.
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