Crisis Communication

Helping clients perform at their best when things are at their worst.

Crisis Communications


Today, companies face more and more scrutiny. There are more than 2 billion people in the world with mobile phones, meaning a lot more citizen journalists watching every move corporations make. And yet, only 51% of companies have a crisis communication plan.


Crisis preparedness allows you to quickly gather the right people to make good decisions promptly, and to leverage pre-developed communications templates, pre-tested communications vehicles, trained, competent spokespeople and pre-developed relationships with the right people to help mitigate brand damage. Our experience as a crisis communication firm indicates that minimal investment to prepare in advance of a crisis saves time, money and resources when a crisis occurs.


  • A Crisis Communication team that is a dedicated practice area, with a senior-management orientation and deep, high-stakes/high-impact crisis communications experience in a wide variety of industries
  • Application of tools such as:
    • Comprehensive crisis communication manuals in analog and digital formats
    • Web tools, including a “dark page” to go live in the instance of a major crisis
    • Contingency plans to address top risk areas facing an organization
    • Crisis media training for executives and field teams
    • Social media strategy for crisis
    • Change Management counsel for transformative events
  • Capabilities that can help you manage:
    • Change Management, including executive transition
    • Accidents
    • Environmental issues
    • Labor relations/Union activism
    • Financial issues, including bankruptcy, embezzlement and fraud
    • Corporate Litigation
    • Cybersecurity
    • Social media or online crises
    • Workplace misbehavior, including violence and criminal acts
    • Preparedness activities (training/manuals/contingency plans)


  • The confidence of knowing you are prepared for any crisis. Some examples from our experience:
    • With its stock price plummeting, its Board increasingly agitated, and its newly appointed CEO being terminated amid rumors of criminal behavior, a real estate company’s legal team worked closely with D&E to align its crisis communication strategy. We were able to contain press coverage to just a few trade publications, while the stock price increased the day following the termination announcement. The interim CEO (eventual permanent CEO) was seen as a stabilizing influence who helped calm any hostile takeover rumors and maintain employee morale
    • To expand its geographic service area, a large national airline had targeted a regional competitor for acquisition, but needed to keep its plans secret and at the same time be ready for transparency about the acquisition immediately following the announcement. D&E helped create an entire package of announcement-day communications, including a web site, news releases, talking points, employee and investor communications pieces and communications coaching. In the end, the acquisition plans remained confidential until the announcement, and coverage following it largely echoed the messaging we had helped prepare
    • An airline facing a firestorm of media following a plane crash was well-prepared to deal with the situation, having participated in crisis management training with D&E fewer than six months earlier. The training included a table-top exercise to test the team’s ability to communicate in the moments following a crash, including a mock press conference and on-camera interviews with review and critique by counselors and peers. Prepared by these sessions and supported on the ground by D&E’s team in the days after the crash, the company received press coverage that more than fairly balanced its messaging with that of its detractors
    • A mining company faced intense scrutiny from media, regulators, public officials, union organizers and community leaders following an explosion that resulted in fatalities. Engaged by the company’s insurance provider, D&E embedded senior counselors as the company issued updates to media, family members and employees, and activated a call center and page on the company’s website which became the go-to information source during the rescue and investigative processes. The multifaceted effort kept employees, family members and media informed of the company’s actions and helped it correct misinformation through constant and careful monitoring of media outlets
    • A German-owned clothing manufacturer facing a very public battle with a union over a US plant closure enlisted D&E to help counter the union’s position and reinforce the rationale behind the decision to close the plant. As the union became more aggressive, D&E provided messaging and communication coaching to help the company become more proactive in its response. Eventually, the union signaled an adjustment in its stance, opening the door to negotiations that resulted in the plant staying open – and plenty of favorable media coverage
    • A global manufacturer repositioning itself for survival in a shifting economic landscape turned to D&E to help roll out the largest restructuring and downsizing effort in its 100-year history – a plan that would close six plants and impact nearly 1500 workers. D&E prepared news releases, internal communication tools for use with colleagues, talking points for use with public officials and more. As a result, the company was well-prepared for the media barrage, and employees – many of whom praised the company’s commitment to transparent communication and efforts to help them by providing retention bonuses and outplacement assistance – were kept informed of their status throughout the year-long wind-down of operations at the affected locations

Note: These examples were written with no names to protect client confidentiality. For further detail contact us.

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Senior Managing Director

Matt Barkett
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