Crisis Communications and Public Relations Services
A crisis can happen at any time — next week, on a weekend or holiday, tomorrow night. Companies that are prepared with timely, thoughtful and credible responses can emerge with their businesses and reputation intact and even enhanced. While you cannot always predict a crisis, you can plan your crisis communications strategy and internal protocols before rumors fly and stories appear in the media. Our experienced team includes former broadcast and print journalists and public relations specialists. We are skilled at crafting tailored messages and communicating simultaneously with many different audiences — employees, media and other stakeholders. If a crisis involves litigation or government oversight and compliance, we benefit from access to the resources of a nationally recognized legal team in McGuireWoods LLP as well as our in-house network of federal, state and local lobbyists.
PR Strategies to Fit Your Needs
MWC has a proven record of delivering results that manage the crisis while addressing the underlying issue. If your company or organization is thrown into an unexpected event or crisis — the subject of a recall, under investigation, the target of a lawsuit, or compelled to file a lawsuit to protect your business or reputation, or an unexpected shift in leadership — we can help. We can give you the advice and practical solutions you need, and help you execute them to get through the crisis and emerge stronger than before.
How We Help
Food and Beverage – A Middlebury, Indiana cheese processing plant faced reputation management issues when listeria was traced to its product distributed in several states under multiple labels. MWC acted as media spokesperson for the plant, conducting local newspaper and television phone interviews remotely. MWC focused on dairy industry consumer best practices to highlight public safety as well as proactive actions taken by the company to temporarily cease operations, address the issue and resume production.
Labor and Employment – When a senior level employee at a healthcare company was terminated by her board of directors, the individual subsequently filed a lawsuit claiming sexual harassment and verbal abuse making multiple demands. Our crisis communications team worked behind the scenes with media outlets that had covered the organization previously to get ahead of the narrative and protect the company. Working with the lawyers who negotiated a settlement in the case, we were able to keep the issue a non-story.
Long-term Care – As the COVID-19 crisis continues across the globe, residents of senior living communities are particularly vulnerable. MWC worked with a long-term care operator with independent living, assisted living and memory care communities in Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia, to provide strategic communications support and media relations related to COVID-19. MWC worked with company leadership on message development; devising media responses and managing reporter inquiries; developing and issuing media statements, letters to residents, families and employees, as well as website content.
Education – When a private university faced allegations that its Title IX investigations and hearings were biased against males accused of sexual misconduct, we managed the case and developed and implemented a crisis communications plan. A student challenged the Title IX process after being dismissed following a sexual misconduct hearing held by the university. It was important to inform the academic community, and their stakeholders, that the parties ultimately reached a confidential settlement of all claims, which included a joint press release exonerating the university and recanting the allegations against the Title IX coordinator in the case.
- Reputation management strategy
- Threat assessments, mock drills
- Assess or establish crisis communications plans
- Message development
- Press releases, media statements
- Monitoring and rapid response
- Media training
- Media outreach, story development
- Spokesperson identification, acting as a company spokesperson
- Social media assessment and engagement
- Websites, graphic design, collateral materials
Mark has extensive media and public affairs experience and focuses his practice on crisis and strategic communications, media relations and issue advocacy. He routinely works with national, state and local media outlets and leads the crisis and litigation communications team.
Gena focuses on developing communications strategies and executing tactical elements of public relations and marketing communications initiatives for clients. She has significant business experience, having previously directed communications efforts for a state chamber of commerce, state department of commerce, and two Virginia congressional offices.
Chad specializes in media relations, community affairs and researching and drafting strategic communications campaigns for both corporate and nonprofit clients. He is also well-versed in advertising, event planning, reputation management, crisis communications, and new media campaigns.