Recent headlines surrounding Nigel Farage and Coutts bank serve as a stark reminder of the importance of having a robust issues management plan in place. We have received a number of calls from concerned B2B Marketers concerned with their own issues and crisis communications protocol and so in this blog post we will explore the important of having a crisis management plan from the perspective of B2B marketers in the UK.
The Nigel Farage and Coutts Bank Debacle:
The recent news story involving Nigel Farage and Coutts bank has sent shockwaves through the UK business landscape. Despite the bank's strong business performance, the fallout from this crisis has resulted in multiple senior executives losing their jobs and a significant drop in share price. And all because of a few careless words at an awards dinner.
Imagine the call: “The CEO has said something about closing a high-profile account at an awards dinner”. If you were part of the comms team, I imagine that you might be concerned, but could never have predicted that this would become front page news, with everyone from the Prime Minister, the House of Parliament and every major news outlet and talking head in the country debating it for weeks. I doubt anyone would have considered that this could have led to the resignation of the CEO and Chairman of the Board. One of my PR Heroes, Mark Borkowski said in The Guardian last week: “They’ve massively got this wrong…They should have put a blanket on the fire when it first ignited. Instead, they’ve thrown petrol on it.”
This unfortunate incident highlights the need for businesses, especially B2B marketers, to be prepared for unforeseen crises that can potentially tarnish their hard-earned reputation and quickly, unpredictably spiral out of control.
Of course, an issues management plan might not have predicted this specific turn of events, and probably wouldn’t have prevented them, but it could have helped guide the firm and its team through what must have been for many of them, the worst month of their professional lives. For some it has certainly been the last moth of their professional lives, as they knew them to be at least.
The Importance of an Issues Management Plan:
- Protecting Reputation: A well-crafted issues management plan acts as a shield, enabling B2B marketers to proactively address and manage potential crises. By having a plan in place, businesses can respond swiftly and effectively, minimizing reputational damage and maintaining trust among stakeholders.
- Crisis Communication: In the event of a crisis, clear and consistent communication is crucial. An issues management plan outlines the key messages, channels, and stakeholders to engage with during a crisis. This ensures that B2B marketers can swiftly disseminate accurate information, control the narrative, and mitigate any potential misinformation or rumours.
- Stakeholder Engagement: B2B marketers understand the importance of maintaining strong relationships with stakeholders. An issues management plan helps identify key stakeholders and establish effective lines of communication. By engaging with stakeholders proactively during a crisis, businesses can demonstrate transparency, address concerns, and maintain trust.
- Legal and Regulatory Compliance: Crises often involve legal and regulatory implications. An issues management plan ensures that B2B marketers are aware of the legal and regulatory landscape, enabling them to navigate potential pitfalls and ensure compliance. This proactive approach minimizes legal risks and protects the business from further damage.
- Learning and Improvement: A well-executed issues management plan allows B2B marketers to learn from crises and improve their strategies. By conducting post-crisis evaluations, businesses can identify areas for improvement, update their plan, and enhance their crisis management capabilities.
The recent Nigel Farage and Coutts bank crisis serves as a stark reminder of the importance of having a robust issues management plan in place. B2B marketers in the UK must recognize that crises can strike at any time, regardless of business performance. By investing time and resources into developing an effective plan, businesses can protect their reputation, maintain stakeholder trust, and navigate communications during times of crisis. Remember, being prepared is the key to successfully weathering any storm that may come your way.
We work with our clients to put in place an issues management protocol which is then reviewed regularly, typically every 6 months.
The normally includes the following steps:
- Scenario planning
- Stakeholder mapping
- Messaging / playbook development
- Agreement on escalation and communications protocol
- Hostile media training
These steps won’t stop a crisis from happening, but will mean that when the unexpected does happen, your company is a little more prepared and therefore more likely to be able to prevent things spiralling out of control.
For more information on developing a Crisis Management Protocol, see here.
If you would like to discuss how we might be able to support you as you develop your own crisis management processes, please get in touch via email@example.com
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