New multidisciplinary crisis communications division launched to help businesses manage growing risks.
Definition Group, the rapidly growing brand experience and communications group, has created The Brand Protector, a multi-disciplinary crisis communications division, in response to the growing need for organisations to prepare for and handle complex issues that threaten operational, financial or reputational risk.
It combines the diverse range of expertise and experience within its portfolio of consultancies into an integrated and specialist team. This spans former national and international journalists, digital media and search specialists, internal communications experts, as well as consumer sentiment and customer engagement consultants.
The development comes as the range of potential threats that organisations must consider in their business continuity and risk management strategies – and where effective and timely communications are vital in mitigating the most damaging repercussions – is expanding.
According to research by the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors (ICAEW), in its ‘Risk in Focus 2023’ report, business continuity, crisis management and disaster response are among the top ten dangers. Others include, cyber security, political uncertainty, climate and environmental impacts, legal and regulatory change, corporate governance and supply chain issues.
However, the Business Leaders Survey, carried out by research agency, 3Gem, earlier this year, also found the number of businesses with plans for identifying and tackling reputational risk had dropped by nearly 15% compared to December 2021.
The Brand Protector team includes corporate communications experts from Definition; customer engagement and sentiment tracking advisers from Brand Vista; and internal communications specialists from W&P. It can develop and test comprehensive crisis communications plans and toolkits and provide a rapid response facility when a crisis does occur, delivering calm and considered advice on a 24/7 basis.
Louise Vaughan, Definition Group chief client officer, said:
“A crisis can be multifaceted and require a multidisciplinary communications approach to ensure that critical messaging across the full internal and external audience spectrum is both efficient and effective. We are handling increasing numbers of requests for help on crisis communications and reputation management and are currently advising organisations in the legal, health, education and social care sectors.
“Because of the different but complementary communications skills within our family of consultancies, each a leader in its own specific field, our Brand Protector team can provide organisations facing complex and potentially damaging situations with an integrated service and a singular focus, rather than a client having to manage separate and competing agencies.
“Done well, communications can help mitigate the most damaging impacts of a crisis and actually enhance corporate reputation; done badly they can make a difficult situation infinitely worse. You only have to look at reactions to what’s happening at Twitter right now to see how badly orchestrated crisis comms cause both internal and external chaos, hitting commercial value and credibility.”
Definition’s new division comprises senior and highly experienced professionals, skilled in advising the Boards and senior executives of businesses and organisations in the public and private sectors.
Individual members have crisis communications experience acting for clients in professional and financial services, fintech, life sciences, food and drink, retail, education, charities, manufacturing, sport, leisure, logistics, automotive and construction. Many also have held in-house executive responsibility for managing high profile crises.
Brand Protector will provide:
Specialist crisis communications planning and preparation
Active internal and external crisis communications management
24/7 service provision
Executive media training for TV and print interviews
Media/social media monitoring and management
Presentation coaching for spokespeople
Customer engagement and consumer sentiment tracking
Katy Bloomfield, managing director of Definition, the Group’s PR and reputation management consultancy, added:
“When organisations face difficult and potentially damaging situations, they need to have confidence in the advice and guidance they are being given about talking to their internal and external audiences and stakeholders. That can only happen when those providing counsel have the relevant depth of expertise and real-world experience – and we have those qualities in abundance in this new division.”