PR LEAGUE TABLES: Crisis expertise proves its worth - When a crisis looms it may be time to call on the expertise of a PR team that has developed the skills to cope

It’s one of the tenets of public relations that they are the people with know-how to cope with a crisis. They can prepare action plans in anticipation of trouble, and identify what messages to communicate to what audiences.

It’s one of the tenets of public relations that they are the people

with know-how to cope with a crisis. They can prepare action plans in

anticipation of trouble, and identify what messages to communicate to

what audiences.



Heading this table again, as it has done most years since we began these

surveys, is Countrywide Porter Novelli. It’s one of the few agencies to

have made a sales point of its crisis management skills.



’We invested in the development of a product or service, which we call

Reflex,’ says Countrywide managing director Paul Miller. It’s more

outward reaching than anything previously available in the

marketplace.



’The fruits of that investment continue to accrue. It gives us an entry

point to a company, often at a time when the client’s need is

greatest.



’The other important aspect of it is that it gives us access to senior

management. Too often the contact is below senior management level. But

in crisis management, you can work one-to-one with the chief

executive.’



That’s not to say that other agencies don’t take crisis management

seriously.



Most of the big agencies have executives who, in an emergency, can be

drafted in to work with the account’s team. Hill & Knowlton has

appointed several PR experts whose task is to identify best practice

around the globe.



Calculating the fees



Plans can be prepared in anticipation of a crisis, but almost by

definition one cannot be sure when it will happen. This is the reason

why a number of PR agencies have difficulty identifying how much of

their income is derived from this source. In many cases, managing a

crisis is covered by the monthly retainer - though fees go up if it

turns into a major conflagration.



Agencies in this year’s survey have identified pounds 16.9m worth of

fees for crisis work. Few get more than 10% of their income from it, and

for many it’s less than 5%. Biss Lancaster, with 15%, is an exception

this year.



Chairman Graham Lancaster says: ’It tends to wag around. We do a lot of

work for the travel industry, including the Federation of Tourist

Operators, that involves crisis management.’



Crisis management has a bearing, of course, on corporate reputation,

which is one of the PR industry’s big talking points. ’Like most people,

we think corporate reputation offers the strongest growth potential for

our industry,’ Lancaster adds.



On top of all that, agencies and their clients are beginning to

appreciate the potential for crisis represented by the internet (see

page 60).





CRISIS MANAGEMENT, TOP 15

Rank   Agency                                Total income         Crisis

                                            1998 (pounds)     management

                                                                (pounds)

1      Countrywide Porter Novelli              17,913,000      3,403,000

2      Biss Lancaster                           7,244,000      1,159,000

3      Shandwick International                 25,843,000      1,034,000

4      Hill & Knowlton (UK)                    23,295,000        932,000

5      Text 100                                 7,729,000        773,000

6      Grayling Group                           8,091,000        728,000

7      Fishburn Hedges                          4,991,000        699,000

8      Government Policy Consultants            6,402,000        640,000

9      Ketchum (incl. Life)                     9,608,000        480,000

10     The Shire Hall Group                     4,222,000        422,000

11     Beattie Media                            4,120,000        412,000

12     Nexus Choat                              3,724,000        372,000

13     GCI/APCO (incl. Focus Comms.)            7,422,000        371,000

14     The Communications Group                 3,421,000        342,000

15     College Hill                             5,656,000        339,000



Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message