Issues Management & Training
Even the most successful companies or the most effective NGOs sometimes run into trouble.
Blameless governments are pilloried by interest groups. Multinational organisations find an attack from the most unexpected quarter.
Perhaps an adverse event hits the headlines or a trial delivers poor results.
Perhaps a programme delivers a long-term environmental benefit but creates short-term problems for established interests?
Maybe international relations are jeopardised by a neighbouring state or a domestic political interest group?
What happens then?
It is in these situations that strong communications management and research skills can help minimise the fallout. Stakeholders are critical and it is important to gauge in advance how they will react in such a crisis.
Issues management is one of Baird’s CMC’s strongest capabilities. We have experience with industry, governments and not for profits. We have handled product issues from supply to delivery. We have managed unintentional management and operational mistakes that could have cost successful businesses their reputation. We’ve enabled clients to minimise potential damage to reputation and shareholder value by helping them deliver an effective, timely and appropriate response. We have helped governments to talk to investors, activists and donors.
Over the past 30 years, our associates have worked with clients across the world to deliver comprehensive communication strategies that include crisis planning and risk identification as well as building messaging and response platforms. Our associates have worked as senior members of international aid organisations, directors of communications at multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and strategic communications consultants. We have conducted issues management training workshops for multinational pharmaceutical companies, NGOs and foundations and helped them respond to challenges using the communications skills at their disposal.
Who will speak on your behalf? Do they have easy access to facts and your perspective?
Who will social media and traditional media turn to?
Who is likely to form their own opinion and who’s going to follow the herd?
And how do you manage the fallout?
- Due to regulatory and other issues, a major producer was not able to supply all of the medical products it was contracted to supply to some clients. Baird’s CMC assisted the manufacturer in formulating a crisis communications plan to deal with possible negative media attention including
- a clear and comprehensive crisis response kit for GMs to make sure that the same answers are given wherever the question is asked
- training for GMs in working with different kinds of stakeholders in civil society, politics and medicine
- fast turnaround media monitoring in key countries to allow daily assessment of trends
- comprehensive media training for spokespeople with lots of opportunities for practise
- enlisting and briefing third-party manufacturing experts who would be available for media interviews and discussions on the inherent problems of manufacturing the medical product and managing multiple regulatory demands
- PATH was the lead partner in providing technical support to the Government of India (GoI) and 15 states for the planning and implementation of the Japanese Encephalitis (JE) vaccination programme. Between 2006 – 2009 almost 60 million children were immunised with the JE vaccine, manufactured in Chengdu Institute of Biological Products, China. Media reporting of JE had often highlighted the risks but had sometimes also created unnecessary public anxiety. Much had been unhelpful and was inaccurate; some was probably tainted by domestic commercial interests.
In response, Baird’s CMC helped develop a crisis communications plan that focused on managing communications with the media and with all relevant target groups. Baird’s CMC delivered crisis communications support to the vaccination programme through a wide range of activities that included
- Identifying the priorities, concerns, experience and needs of the JE crisis communications plan, in cooperation with GoI health workers, state health departments and those medical professionals implementing the JE vaccination programme
- Drafting the crisis communications plan and incorporating input from all participating stakeholder
- Devising communications crisis media training programme to support the crisis communications plan
- Implementing crisis communications training programme in Mumbai, Lucknow and Delhi with key health care workers
- Developing a suite of communications tools to support managers and other health care workers in the management of a crisis situation should it arise including: web site; Q&A documents; backgrounders for media; key contact lists and other resources