How to use risk methodology in your crisis comms strategies

Welcome to the PRmoment Podcast.

This week we’re talking to George Hutchinson founder of River Effra Communications about the expanding area of risk methodology in crisis communication.

It’s an interesting area which takes another perspective on PR’s increasingly complex intersection with data.

The central concept is to use risk methodology to model and understand the reputational consequences for an organisation if it behaves in a particular way.

George set up River Effra earlier this year, previously he had senior roles at Teneo and BCW.

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Here is a summary of what George and PRmoment founder Ben Smith discussed on the show:

2 mins George talks us through the use of risk methodologies in crisis communications.

“The time has come for increased use of risk methodologies in crisis communications…to help potentially avoid the crisis in the first place.”

4 mins What are risk methodologies and how do you use them in crisis communications?

“Reputational risks are always secondary, they don’t come from no-where”

7 mins So is this approach about putting a “threat” cost on reputations by modelling various crisis communication scenarios?

“The idea that your corporate affairs director can somehow relationship your way out of a crisis just doesn’t work”

10 mins George suggests that communication and reputation crises are actually pretty predictable - Black Swan crises are rare.

12.30 mins What are the riskiest areas of crisis currently?

16 mins How cyber security crisis can become business critical.

17 mins Are poor CEO behaviour the most common reputation crisis for most large organisations?

“There are businesses that I have advised where the CEO has had to go…you can’t treat your leadership team differently from the rest of the organisation”

19.30 mins What are the short, medium and long-term implications of a reputational crisis?

22 mins What are the impacts of a reputational crisis on the different stakeholders? From the leadership, to employees, to customers…

“In a crisis, initially you feel under attack, which can lead to persecution bias…and you can only deal with a crisis if you’ve accepted the problem.”

“Your employees can feel disillusioned by the corporate’s response”

24 mins How quickly do customers desert an organisation over a reputational crisis?

26 mins What does the CEO want from their communications leader in a crisis?

28 mins What is the most common mistake people make in a corporate crisis?

“You see a lot of leaders do flight to fight”

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