Crisis Communications

19 June 2014, London

Crisis Communications - 19th June 2014

Registration  and coffee


Morning Chair's Opening Remarks

Patricia Yates, Director of Strategy and Communications, VisitBritain


Joint Opening Keynote - Flood Alert!

From local incident to national emergency: how the many parts of government handled the crisis communications of the recent “biblical” flooding

Over 5 thousand homes and business flooded…more than 1 million homes without power... thousands forced from their homes…hundreds of rail and flight cancellations…many south east rivers at their highest level since records began. This joint keynote speech from DECC and DEFRA will reveal the government response strategies behind the recent severe weather crisis. It will also explore how coordinated communications across multiple branches of government has been essential to its strategy. What are the benefits of a multi-agency approach in a crisis situation? How effective was this when faced with, what the prime minister termed, “biblical scenes”?

Rae Stewart, Director of Communications, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Penny Fox, Head of News, Department of Energy and Climate Change


The dos and don’ts of responding to social crises

An increasing number of crisis situations are hitting the headlines due to social media. Take the HMV Twitter disaster where employees’ were made redundant and used the brand’s Twitter account to tell the world how they felt; or British Gas’ customers hijacking the brand’s hashtag #askBG to vent their anger over price hikes. So what can you do to ensure this doesn’t happen to your organisation?

Tim Lion, European Head of Social Media , Sony Consumer Electronics Europe


Data Breach Scenario

Don’t lose your reputation as well as your data – managing reputation within a complex legal and technical framework

When faced with a serious reputational crisis, competing priorities can complicate an effective response – often creating tension between communications’ desire to be fast and lawyers’ desire to be considered . Bringing together the worlds of Risk Consulting, Law and Cyber Security, David Imison and Jennie Sumpster from Schillings will dissect a data breach scenario – one of the most daunting, and growing, reputational and legal threats facing businesses today. They will set out how an enormously complex and potentially damaging legal problem can be navigated effectively to protect stakeholder confidence.

David Imison, Delivery Director of Risk Consulting, Schillings

Jennie Sumpster, Senior Associate,  Schillings


Morning Refreshments


Preparing your leaders for a crisis

Strategic crisis preparedness is about being ‘ready for anything’. And, with leadership a key factor in successful crisis response, an organisation’s leaders must be ready to make career, organisation and even corporate history-defining decisions with little information, and with the world watching. Leaders will not succeed in a crisis just because they are senior; they need to be prepared to perform. As communications is at the heart of crisis response – and as the communications team often acts as coach, adviser, guardian and confidante to the organisation’s leaders in a crisis – it falls to the function to help prepare leaders to face the worst, however extreme or unexpected.

Andrew Griffin, Chief Executive,  Regester Larkin


Effective internal comms and stakeholders’ management before and during a crisis

From sinking ships, sick and quarantined passengers through to fires and engine failures -  the cruise sector has faced its share of negative press. This session offers a perspective from the front line on the best internal structure and communications strategy to get your staff and stakeholders fully prepared and engaged for when crisis strikes.

-          Before a crisis: engage staff and overturn misconceptions of it being “low priority” to ensure they are fully prepared

-          During a crisis: manage key stakeholders and ensure they are on your side:

  • how can communications manage the relations with other departments such as customer services, operations, internal comms, board members etc.? Identify different groups and how best to communicate with them
  • leverage the role of internal comms – often forgotten, how can a successful internal comms campaign help you with your external crisis comms?
  • use your employees and stakeholders as brand ambassadors during a crisis

Andrew Baldwin, Customer Care and Communications Manager, Carnival UK


A new era of Crisis Management?

The dynamics and demands of corporate reputation management are changing daily. Traditional audiences are fragmenting and new communities are coming together, with an increasingly powerful point of view. This session will offer a perspective on why we are entering a new era of crisis management, intrinsically linked to an organisation’s cultural and corporate legitimacy. It will also explore best-practice in crisis preparation and response as a means of protecting commercial and strategic interests, and ultimately that most valued asset, reputation.

Tim Fallon, Managing Partner, Instinctif Partners


Lunch and Networking Opportunity


Afternoon Chair's Opening Remarks

To continue the day’s honest sharing of experiences, Nestle’s Deputy Head of Media Relations and co-chair of the conference shares his front-line experience of crisis handling. In his Afternoon Remarks, he will discuss how organising yourself like a newsroom can massively help when a crisis hits.

Chris Hogg, Deputy Head of Corporate Media Relations, Nestlé S.A.


Trains, Banks, Gas and Beer!

360° Perspectives: Rebuild brand value and reputation post-crisis

A panel of communications professionals will discuss what it takes to rebuild company and brand reputation post-crisis:

Learn your lessons: what went wrong?

  • Identify the root causes of a crisis – what role did company culture and attitudes play?
  • Review how you handled the crisis – what worked, what didn’t, what took you by surprise?

Strategies to rebuild public trust and confidence -

  • build key stakeholder relationships to make them your advocates
  • understand the power and role of  social and how to engage

What are the best methods to track perceptions and analyse your programme’s effectiveness?

Francis Thomas, Head of Communications, London Midland

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Wenham, Head of Defence Media Operations Centre


Crisis Comms Challenge!

Live-simulation experience

This interactive session will challenge delegates at their table to form a speedy yet thoughtful action plan in response to a given scenario. But… we don’t want to reveal too much. Full details to be provided on the day! 

Kate Hartley, COO, Polpeo


Death By Media - How To Avoid It

Understanding the regulatory landscape and the secrets of influencing editors

This session will inform you of the regulatory and legal protections available to preserve the investment that you make in your corporate reputation or the value of your brand. It will outline this year’s seismic changes to the law of defamation and to the regulation of the press, and the secrets of how to influence the editorial decisions that determine whether you or your brand(s) will become a victim of attack via the media, both to prevent it taking place and to restore any damage if it does.

Jonathan Coad, Partner, Lewis Silkin


Afternoon Refreshments


In The News: TV vs Print Focus

Journalists are not your friends: successfully manage media relationships

Leading TV and print editors will give insights on how they work with PR professionals to produce their stories during a crisis. Examine the role of journalists during a crisis, and how you can best manage the PR-journo relationship while riding the storm. What would make a journalist take notice and listen to your message? What are the differences in online and broadcast (which need constant feeding and interaction), and print? If journalists rely on sources for information to break news before their peers– how can you make the most out of this and become truly indispensable?

Simon Waldman, Morning Editor, BBC News Channel

Doug Wills, Managing Editor, London Evening Standard, i, Independent and Independent on Sunday


Dealing with an Arrest: "You do not have to say anything..."

David Sleight, criminal lawyer at Kingsley Napley, speaks about crisis and reputation management in the context of a criminal investigation.

David will share some tips about what to do if a senior employee of your company is arrested. What can you expect to happen and how can you manage the fallout?

He will also talk through what you can do if the authorities arrest you as part of a criminal investigation.

David Sleight, Partner, Kingsley Napley LLP


Major Incident - Police Helicopter Crash And Missing Malaysia Airlines Plane

When it all goes wrong: the “golden hour” of crisis management

It is well known that most response strategies in a crisis fail in the first hour or two. It is particularly true with emergencies, disaster and life-threatening situations: what do you do first, second and third? How do you avoid feeling overwhelmed and how should you prioritise in those precious first moments? Drawing on the recent events involving a police helicopter crash in Scotland, Andrew Walker will give an account of the first “critical” comms actions when lives are endangered or lost and it’s already all over the news. How can you effectively integrate communications around a major incident and what is the best human approach to consider?

Andrew Walker, Head of News , Police Scotland


Mystery of flight MH370: Managing The Bigest Crisis In Recent Times

When the Malaysia Airlines plane went missing, the worldwide interest was unlike anything British satellite firm Inmarsat had ever experienced. The situation certainly did not fall into one of the crisis categories they had planned for. As they worked doggedly to find the missing plane, they faced a barrage of media enquiries from all platforms and all countries. The crisis is still unfolding, but to date there have been more than 30,000 articles online and the company has had to add an additional server behind its website to deal with increased traffic. This session reveals how a small team of two has been handling all communications activities on worldwide news, working more than 19 hours a day and even using Twitter for the first time to keep on top of this terrifying crisis.

Chris McLaughlin, Senior Vice President, External Affairs and Marketing Communications,  Inmarsat


Chair’s closing remarks

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Crisis Communications- 2014

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Designed by leaders in comms for leaders in comms, this event offers a unique opportunity to tackle the most persistent challenges faced at the very top of communications.

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