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Crisis Communications — On the Front Line to Protect Your Reputation

Crises can make or break an organization and its management. Some put the survival of an organization to the test. Almost all put the future of management to the test.

Escalating repetitional crises present the most serious crisis risks to most organizations. A crisis tests not only the long-term strength of an organization’s reputation but the quality of its management. Crisis response has become a measure by which external stakeholders, including Wall Street, competitors, customers, the news media, regulators and elected officials assess the quality, depth and preparedness of management. The quality and steadiness of performance under fire is watched closely in today's highly charged, social media-driven, scandal-eager 24-hour news cycle.

For more than 25 years, Behan has helped major companies and non-profit organizations manage essential communications and strategy during rapidly escalating events and slowly evolving crises, including complex, and high-profile litigation; criminal, regulatory and internal investigations; explosive employee allegations or misconduct; financial crises and bankruptcy; executive dismissals; strikes and political protests; fires, industrial accidents, derailments and natural disasters; and public health and environmental emergencies.

How you manage and communicate in the earliest moments of a crisis can make the difference between long-term damage, survival and strong recovery. Behan's team of the most experienced crisis communications and media experts goes to work immediately to help you assess the situation deeply and to provide guidance on if, when and how to respond. There are no off-the-shelf strategies. Every crisis is fact- and situation-specific. Sometimes an immediate response is warranted and wise. In other cases, delaying a response to allow time to carefully evaluate information, assess risk and identify options is the appropriate approach.

Behan provides careful guidance every step of the way, with the goals of protecting your legal, financial and reputational position and disseminating accurate, well-coordinated and timely information to your most important audiences. We provide round-the-clock support to your team, including your attorneys and other professionals inside and outside the organization.

 

Representative Engagements

> Community Evacuations

In the dark of night a rail car began leaking toxic anhydrous ammonia. On a summer's day, construction workers unearthed a large cache of buried dynamite on a project site. In both cases, police and fire officials scrambled to evacuate vulnerable communities. Behan worked hand-in-hand with its clients and emergency services and elected officials to coordinate communications with the news media, local governments, the community and affected residents.

> Misconduct Allegations

When explosive misconduct allegations were leveled against the chief executive of a leading not-for-profit, Behan coordinated an immediate response, helped arrange for a high-profile independent investigation, and managed months of daily national and regional media coverage, culminating in the conclusion that the allegations were unfounded.

> CEO Dismissals

When they decided abruptly to part ways with their high-profile chief executive officers, a college and a major non-profit each turned to Behan for help in managing the likely political, community, contributor on or, and news media reaction. Behan worked with senior leaders of both institutions and the departing executives' representatives, successfully steering the institutions through the events.

> Contamination Scare

A major storm unleashed flooding across a region, and questions were raised about whether pollutants in waterways could have been washed onshore and onto residential properties. Behan went to work immediately, reaching out to potentially affected property owners, offering environmental sampling and providing results, and communicating with the news media and local elected officials.

> Shareholder Unrest

When dissident shareholders leveled allegations of impropriety against a senior company executive and his family, Behan helped the organization resolve the issues by arranging for an independent examination and recommendations for clarifying and improving internal policies.

> Animal Rights Activism

When national animal rights activists set a goal of eliminating a popular animal attraction, Behan responded immediately to the growing media firestorm with the facts and commissioned independent experts in veterinary medicine to investigate the activists' claims, ultimately recognized as unfounded.

> Investment Investigation

When a major investment firm was targeted by New York's Attorney General, its law firm turned to Behan for assistance in crafting a media and public strategy to complement the legal defense.

> Workplace Fatalities

Even in the safest workplaces, despite stringent precautions and advanced training, tragic accidents occur. Behan is experienced in handling internal and external communications related to workplace accidents and fatalities, including employee and media communications immediately following the incident and during the subsequent investigation.

> White Powder

When a small amount of mysterious white power was discovered on the counter of a bank branch not long after the national anthrax scare, the financial institution's management team turned to Behan to work with the state Health Department to ensure there was no danger to customers or employees so the bank could resume normal operations in a timely manner.