Crisis Management — A Few Basic Strategies from Sitrick And Company

By Michael Sitrick and Terry Fahn, Sitrick And Company

“If you don’t tell your story, someone else will tell it for you.” — Michael Sitrick, Founder and Chairman of Sitrick And Company

Numerous media reports have stated that, in addition to sickness and death, the Coronavirus pandemic could bring the economy to a standstill. Already, we are seeing waves of layoffs and business closures. Many experts predict it is only going to get worse. This type of crisis is unprecedented.

No one, to our knowledge, has ever managed a crisis of this type. But our firm and its partners have, over the past 31 years represented clients in a wide spectrum of less deadly crises and sensitive situations. And while our prior work does not compare in scope and scale to the current situation, there are some common threads from a communications standpoint.

We have found that with few exceptions, the best crisis communications strategies include taking control of the narrative. During a crisis, the initial communication can and often does set the tone for what follows. As our Founder and Chairman has said in both of his books, “If you don’t tell your story, someone else will tell it for you.” But you can’t tell your story until you know the facts. The following steps outline a process that could help.

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Terry Fahn

Terry Fahn specializes in strategic communications, litigation support, crisis and reputation management. He joined Sitrick And Company in 2000 after working as a litigation attorney. During his tenure at Sitrick he has worked on complex crisis, litigation and business matters representing and advising clients that include publicly traded and private businesses, non-profit organizations, corporate executives, governmental entities, lawyers and law firms, private equity firms, high-profile celebrities, performers and professional athletes.