Michael Layne

There are several factors to consider when selecting a highly capable Crisis Communications and Reputation Management Firm.  First and foremost, make sure the firm you select has extensive experience in crisis communications and reputation management.  This is a very specific communications discipline that requires good judgement, related knowledge and a proven track record of managing similar crisis across different industry sectors.  Each industry sector, i.e., restaurant, finance, manufacturing, etc., has its unique challenges, and a deep understanding of working within these sectors is essential.

A highly reputable crisis communications and reputation management firm will have guided previous clients through a comprehensive strategy, including proactive measures to anticipate and mitigate potential crises, as well as reactive strategies to manage communications crises when they arise.

A high visibility crisis can take on a myriad of forms, from workplace violence, discrimination, environmental hazards crisis – the possibilities are endless.  In today’s digital world, crisis is not only exposed in print, broadcast and online media outlets – it is common for a crisis to first appear and spread virally on social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (X), LinkedIn, etc. Not only should a reputable crisis communications firm have a strong understanding of how to work with news editors and journalists quickly and effectively, but they should also be skilled at crafting and delivering effective media statements (crafted with mutual approvals from attorneys, municipal leaders, health departments, etc.) as well as have the technology infrastructure to immediately manage media inquiries and social media content from anywhere – onsite and/or at a remote location(s).

If you are reading this as a crisis erupts, you are at a communications disadvantage.  A highly qualified crisis management firm will offer crisis training and preparedness programs to educate and train key personnel within an organization – including media training, crisis plan development, and role-playing exercises – before a crisis rears its ugly head.

A tip: Try calling a prospective crisis communications and reputation management firm after hours.  See if they are immediately reachable.

Michael Layne is president of Marx Layne & Company, a Detroit-based public relations and digital media firms with deep experience and expertise in crisis communications and reputation management.  Clients have included public universities, municipalities, medical and legal professionals and  publicly traded real estate and shopping center developers.