Crisis management has grown massively in the past few years and is set to continue

Crisis management has grown massively in the past few years and is set

to continue

The portion of turnover which PR firms estimate comes from crisis

management work has now doubled two years’ running. This is not

surprising: remember Shell with Brent Spar and Nigeria, British Gas

executive compensation, and the water companies.

The total could be even higher since many firms do not separate this

area out but roll it up into other specialisms. And because these tables

are based on 1995 figures, they will not begin to reflect the surge in

spending on crisis management that will result from the BSE crisis, to

say nothing of baby milk.

Countrywide Communications, with clients such as Blue Circle and Kraft

Jacobs Suchard, has seen its turnover boosted by over half from this

type of work. It replaces Shandwick in first place, which has seen a


Burson-Marsteller attributes 4% of its turnover to crisis management

(like a number of its counterparts, it keeps its clients in this area

confidential), down from 7% in 1994. That gives it about half the pounds

1.2m it showed in 1994.

Other firms on the list from last year include Hill and Knowlton, Dewe

Rogerson, Harrison Cowley and Brahm Public Relations. All experienced

substantial rises, ranging from 25% at Hill and Knowlton (clients

confidential) to 42% at Harrison Cowley (UK Atomic Energy Authority) to

84% - from a small 1993 figure - at Brahm (Rhone Poulenc and AH Marks).

Adrian Wheeler, managing director at GCI London, where this type of work

accounts for 3% of turnover, accords it great significance: ‘The soap

wars proved how well-managed PR can achieve results way beyond the reach

of any other communications discipline. Brent Spar proved how careless

PR can thrust a knife deep into a company’s vital organs.

‘Nearly all GCI’s brand programmes include a crisis-management module as

a matter of routine. We describe this element as an insurance policy.

You hope you will never have to claim, but you owe it to your

stakeholders to be ready for the unexpected.’


Top 18 crisis management


   Consultancy                    Turnover 1995    Crisis management

                                    (pounds)            (pounds)

 1 Countrywide Communications       21,263,000          2,764,000

 2 Shandwick UK                     36,843,000          1,105,000

 3 Burson-Marsteller                15,657,000            626,000

 4 Hill and Knowlton                20,025,000            601,000

 5 Dewe Rogerson                    13,157,000            526,000

 6 The Grayling Group                6,764,000            345,000

 7 Harrison Cowley                   3,962,000            317,000

 8 Kestrel Communications            1,023,000            286,000

 9 The Rowland Company               4,724,000            236,000

10 BRAHM Public Relations            1,475,000            221,000

11 GCI Group London                  6,872,000            206,000

12 Staniforth Public Relations       1,939,000            194,000

13 Wearne Associates                 1,279,000            192,000

14 Ludgate Group                     9,362,000            187,000

15 Manning, Selvage & Lee            3,605,000            180,000

16 Daniel J. Edelman                 5,176,000            155,000

17 Consolidated Communications       2,853,000            143,000

18 Darwall Smith Associates          1,289,000            129,000



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