Our UK Crisis Communications Partner, Alder

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Fuzion Communications are part of a European crisis communications network with the core purpose of providing clients with a network of experts in crisis communications should a pan-European issue occur.

The Crisis Communications Network is an association of European owner-managed PR agencies with unrivalled expertise in Crisis Prevention and Communication. As independent agencies it is highly flexible and is able to react immediately to clients’ needs and where necessary co-ordinate across different jurisdictions in Europe.

At the time of writing there are experienced agencies in 11 countries as part of the CCNE.

To give you some insight into these international partners we have asked each of them to give us some information about their business, the local “hot topics” and their general approach.

In a previous post we provided an overview of the founding partner of the CCNE, our German partner agency, Engel & Zimmerman.

Today we focus on our UK, London based partner, Adler.

About Alder

Alder is a London-based crisis communications firm founded in 2010. Its team of consultants – known as Specialist Partners – have backgrounds in the worlds of journalism, regulation and public affairs and advise a diverse range of clients from individuals through to major companies. Schools, charities and healthcare organisations are also a key area of expertise. Given its focus on complex issues where litigation is frequently ongoing or imminent, Alder works closely with the UK’s leading law firms to deliver advice that is closely aligned with the client’s legal strategy. It is also trusted by many international insurance companies to advise their customers when an incident gives rise to a claim under their insurance cover. 

Crisis communications: Alder’s approach

Crises don’t just happen at a moment’s notice, they can also arise because of slow-burning issues that suddenly cut through to the public consciousness. In both cases, preparation is key in order to maintain discipline and control of messaging because the demands for information from stakeholders can be overwhelming, and any miscommunication can lead to reputational, legal or insurance difficulties.  

Time is the most valuable commodity in a crisis, and steps should be taken as soon as a problem appears on the horizon to plan for the most important elements of the communication strategy and to ensure the client’s lawyers are content with the approach.

The speed of people’s social media responses also means clients need to quickly get on the front foot in order not to be defined by a problem. Each situation is different, so regardless of whether a crisis plan is in place the response needs to be bespoke, and Alder’s consultants work round the clock to ensure communications are issued in a timely and calm way and do not create any hostages to fortune.

Dealing with a crisis can feel overwhelming for the individuals concerned. Alder advises clients to break the response down into three phases: before, during and after public scrutiny of the matter.

Briefly this breaks down as follows:

Before: planning and aligning draft communications and strategy with legal and insurance considerations.

During: roll out the plan, paying particular attention to stakeholder management; monitor coverage; intervene to correct any significant inaccuracies in ‘real time’.

After: embed organisational learning from what happened; take steps to clean up any negative online legacy; assess impact on reputation and take steps to address any residual problems.

The Irish Comparison

While the basics that we follow are identical; be prepared, identity potential risks, have a plan, have a great, experienced team that can handle a crisis and a client team that is trained to handle media with support – it is clear that there are special conditions in each country that you need to be aware of if you are dealing with a crisis and it is at these times that you need a local experienced, agile partner to help you navigate these challenges when they occur.

If you would like any information about our crisis communications service or the Crisis Communications Network Europe feel free to contact me at deirdre@fuzion.ie.

Deirdre

Deirdre Waldron, founder of Fuzion heads up the Crisis Communications team, which operates from offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland.

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