Today’s rapidly evolving communications environment demands swift, thorough, and transparent responses to breaking issues and defining moments of crisis. Even the best managed organizations can be caught off-guard, or become victim to internal delays and paralysis when facing urgent, high-stakes situations.

The seasoned counselors at Colonnade Communications have been battle-tested, and can play invaluable roles in preparing and executing strategic responses. We provide insight and support to help our clients navigate unfamiliar challenges, preserve their reputations, and speed recovery.

Experience and Perspective

We understand the dynamics of crisis, and bring an independent perspective to support your internal teams and management. Our team has many decades of collective experience planning for and responding to crisis situations across a range of industries and issues, including:

  • Public Health and Safety

  • Natural Disasters

  • Industrial Accidents

  • Environmental Liabilities

  • Transportation Incidents

  • Product Failures and Recalls

  • Executive and Employee Misconduct

  • Governance and Leadership Transition

  • Business Continuity Disruptions

  • Data Breaches and Cybersecurity (more)

  • Labor and Sourcing

  • Workforce Reductions

  • Special Interest Group Attacks

  • Government Contracting Disputes

  • Regulatory and Legal Investigations

How We Operate

We Are Accessible and Responsive

When we take on assignments, your crisis becomes our priority and we make ourselves available 24/7 to help you identify priorities, meet deadlines, and think ahead. We will be where you need us, when you need us.

We Are Good Teammates

Crisis response is best managed by collaborative and multi-disciplinary teams. We work well with lawyers, risk managers, and internal comms teams. We understand our role as advisors, and know how to stay in our lane.

We Listen First

Although we heavily rely on our own frontline experience, we also understand that every client and crisis is different, so we ask the right questions to understand your issue and culture to provide appropriate assessment and informed counsel.

We Value Authenticity

We know that navigating tough issues with unsupported “media spin” or misdirection is not in our clients’ best interest. We operate with integrity and help you preserve your reputation through authentic, albeit careful, communications.

We Are Discrete

We do not seek the spotlight, and do not discuss or promote our crisis clients. We also refrain from commenting in the media on others’ crises – because we know we often are not privy to the information required to fully develop informed analysis or critique.

Crisis Communications Services

We work with clients in capacities ranging from defined roles as strategists and sounding boards, to providing onsite support, or filling gaps in implementing crisis response. We offer services across the range of crisis management:

  • Conducting risk assessments and strategy sessions
  • Reviewing existing crisis plans and procedures
  • Developing crisis communication plans and playbooks
  • Training your team
    • Understanding crisis dynamics and execution of your crisis plan
    • Preparing spokespeople to demonstrate leadership, accountability and action
    • Practicing through simulated scenarios and tabletop drills
  • Initiating monitoring programs
  • Conducting research and analysis of available information
  • Developing initial strategy and standby communications materials
  • Considering and mapping potential scenario development and contingency plans
  • Developing initial messaging
  • Exploring third-party engagement and potential support
  • Prioritizing audiences and identifying communications needs
  • Tailoring and adjusting crisis plans as the situation evolves
  • Developing communications timelines and action grids
  • Assisting with ongoing communications and materials development
  • Assisting with audience-specific messaging and outreach (internal and external)
  • Advising on media relations and assisting with responses
  • Preparing and rehearsing spokespeople for specific engagements
  • Conducting after-action analysis and crisis plan revision
  • Developing follow-up plans for regaining/building trust with key audiences
  • Supporting ongoing communications demonstrating completion of restitution and reforms

Team Experience

Our crisis counselors have honed their skills and proven their mettle through extensive experience gained through in-house communications positions, as well as outside consultant roles to Fortune 500 corporations, major industry associations, prominent academic and non-profit organizations, government agencies and more. Following is a sampling our counselors’ prior work across a wide range of industries and incidents:

  • Provided rapid-response assistance to a U.S. regional airline, including counsel across a range of in-flight emergencies, passenger controversies and regulatory issues.

  • Delivered media relations support to an international food product company reacting to highly publicized product quality issues and recalls in numerous communities.

  • Led development of a successful 100-day crisis management plan for a major U.S. trade association dealing with a high-profile product safety emergency.

  • Developed reputation management strategy and trained senior managers at a major U.S. utility following a high-profile public safety incident.

  • Helped a large public university respond to a highly publicized scandal involving student athletes.

  • Provided crisis communications counsel to a prominent philanthropic organization unable to deliver on its public promises, due to an underperforming aid program.

  • Supported a large behavioral healthcare organization dealing with controversy and investigations at several facilities.

  • Established communications strategy and messaging for a high-profile manufacturing company whose executives were accused of discrimination and harassment.

  • Executed an effective internal and stakeholder communications strategy for a major U.S. franchise chain facing litigation related to accusations of fiscal improprieties.

  • Drafted messaging and provided media relations counsel to a large international non-profit organization facing a reputation attack from business interests.

  • Managed dozens of data breach communications responses, including engagements for healthcare, technology, marketing, financial services, and academic organizations.

  • Developed and delivered crisis communications training sessions to large government agencies, corporations, and trade associations in the aviation, meat, and railroad industries.

  • Planned and participated in disaster drills for major food brands, freight railroads, and a major international oil transportation company.

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Engaging Our Team

Our crisis communications team is on standby for confidential, rapid deployment. Contact us for immediate assistance.
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