Whether it’s BP’s oil spill in 2010 or Johnson & Johnson’s cyanide-laced Tylenol capsules in 1982, many of the world’s largest companies have had to deal with their fair share of crisis management. Crisis management requires a lot more than an apology or a press release now days. News is ever more accessible and can go viral instantaneously.

Here are 12 DO’s and DON’Ts from content marketing strategist and content writer, Patricia Redsicker to help guide you in a crisis:


  • Act quickly to gather the facts and respond to the problem. This reduces speculation and resentment brought about by slow response.
  • Use the best people to speak on behalf of your organization. This is usually the top executive or founder of the organization.
  • Correct erroneous information and rumors with current and accurate information.
  • Commit to regular, incremental release of information to keep your base abreast of the situation.
  • Communicate from the victim’s point of view using compassionate language that demonstrates solidarity and sympathy.
  • Make it up to those who have suffered! Pledge to fix the problem and then keep your promise to do it!


  • Finger point in an attempt to divert criticism. Blaming others will quickly dilute your reputation and give your base reason to go elsewhere.
  • Issue self-serving messages in an attempt to save face, e.g. “If we had known then, what we know now….” and other meaningless statements.
  • Use ‘tech’ speak when explaining yourself to your base. Speak plainly and use terms that are easy to understand. This re-assures your base that you’re in touch with them.
  • Issue conditional regrets such as, “We’re sorry but….”. If you do this, you create the perception that you’re not really taking responsibility for your role in the problem.
  • Issue a press release to express your organization’s regret – at least not initially! Wait until a top representative of the organization has spoken directly on the crisis and then follow up with a press release.
  • Allow employees to communicate on behalf of the organization!

By Sarah Gribble


  1. Great Information!  Crisis management is so important.   Your information was easy to understand and if used in a crisis situation, you will for sure succeed in handling the issue.

  2. I feel like this post is especially helpful because I don’t feel like we really cover how to handle crisis management in any of our PR courses. It’s nice to have some easily understood guidelines!

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