Crisis Communications Boot Camp 12

15-16 October, 10 am - 3.40 pm (EDT)


Crisis Communications Boot Camp 12


15-16 October, 10 am - 3.40 pm (EDT)

About the Event

The COVID-19 pandemic and the social restrictions drastically changed the way that consumers interact with brands. In this new reality, it is now more important than ever to communicate effectively to the right audience, with the right message and plan for every potential threat to your brand’s reputation.

The 12th (online) edition of the Crisis Communications Boot Camp will cover the latest challenges for communications professionals in today’s changing world and will go behind some of the most talked-about global PR crisis, giving you the unique opportunity to live through front-line experiences.

By the end of this program, you will be able to:

  • Detect early warning signs for a crisis, and minimize the damages
  • Structure a robust and effective crisis management and communication plan
  • Manage diverse stakeholders and communicate efficiently in times of complex crisis
  • Choose the right messaging channels
  • Communicate when information is scarce
  • Deal with aggressive media interviews better
  • Craft powerful key messages and take full control of media exposure
  • Leverage social media for effective crisis and communication management
  • Rebuild trust and reputation post-crisis

Facts & Figures


  • The first ever Crisis Communications Boot Camp was held in Calgary in April 2017.
  • In less than three years, over 2000 PR and communciations professionals from Europe and North America have attended the Crisis Communications Boot Camps in Calgary, Ottawa, Vancouver, Miami, Chicago, Atlanta and Helsinki.
  • Previous delegates at the Crisis Communications Boot Camp include PR representatives from: Bechtel, Morehouse School of Medicine, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Duke University, Harvard University HPAC, Visa Inc, UPS, University of Central Florida, Edelman, The Calgary Airport Authority, Export Development Canada, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, National Gallery of Canada, University of Ottawa, Target, Bank of America, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Turner, Spotify, Harvard Law School...


Patrick Jephson Former Chief Of Staff To Princess Diana

Mary Jo Jacobi Former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, Former Assistant US Commerce Secretary for President George H.W. Bush, British Civil Service Commissioner

Donald Steel Former Chief Communications Advisor, BBC

Daniel Tisch Argyle Public Relationships

Lori Eberenz KFC

Ginger Buxa Plumbo Mayo Clinic

Amanda Coleman Former Head of Communications, Greater Manchester Police

Sean Greenwood Ben & Jerry's



Managing Reputational Risk in Unprecedented Times
In this session, drawing from her experience at Royal Dutch Shell, BP America, Lehman Brothers, HSBC Holdings and Drexel Burnham Lambert, Mary Jo will share with you lessons learned in building and maintaining a global reputation, handling corporate and financial crisis and most importantly, how to craft the perfect apology.
Additionally, in this session Patrick will help you identify the qualities people expect to see in their brands, prepare your CEO for major crisis, define the essence of your CEO’s brand, build the key message and most importantly, acquire substance, not spin.
Patrick owes much of his practical communications experience to Princess Diana, who chose him to be her equerry and only private secretary/chief of staff.  He served the Princess for eight years (1988-96), responsible for every aspect of her public life, charitable initiatives, and private organization.
Mary Jo Jacobi, Former Assistant U.S. Commerce Secretary, Former Chief Reputation Officer at Royal Dutch Shell and Former Executive Vice President of BP America
Patrick Jephson, Former Chief of Staff to Princess Diana


Taking a Stand Amid Political and Societal Turmoil
Fake news’ and ‘Trump crises,’ along with campaigns including Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, fill today’s social and political landscapes. As more consumers call for brands to take a stand, gone are the days of staying away from hot-button topics. Enter an ice cream brand that considers itself an “aspiring social justice company” seeking to speak out about racism, environmental concerns and most recently, criminal justice reform. Sean Greenwood, grand poohbah of PR for Ben & Jerry’s, will share how the company sprinkled its “Empower Mint” and “Pecan Resist” flavors with messages of hope, activism and social justice along the company’s learning journey —and how you can prepare to launch your own voice in ways that are true to your company’s mission.
Sean Greenwood, Grand Poobah of Public Relations, Ben & Jerry's


Preparing for a Crisis in a Digital World
- Understand how crises spread virally online
- Take control of the narrative
- Learn about  the crisis messaging  hierarchy
Donald Steel, Former Chief Communications Adviser, BBC, UK


Lunch Break


Crisis Communications in the Age of COVID-19: Lessons Learned from Mayo Clinic

- Understanding the importance of innovation and adaption while working 100% remotely
- How to successfully manage the flood of COVID-19 related media requests
- How to revise your staffing structure for COVID-19 work
- How to successfully craft your media relations strategy for local and regional media vs. national and international media
- How to redesign your staffing plan to account for the fuloughs  
Ginger Buxa Plumbo, Communications Manager, Issues & Crisis Communications, Mayo Clinic


Training Your Employees To Use Social Media Responsibly And Deal With Potential Crises 

Can you imagine likening a cross-department crisis management unit to a basketball team? That's how the crisis team at KFC sees it: a coach at the top to decide on the players and prepare a game plan; players on the court, determined by their specialty and the game situation; and reserves on the bench ready to join the action when called. Lori Eberenz would know. As senior public affairs manager for KFC's U.S. Brands, she oversees media and PR for the company and its 4,100 restaurants nationwide. While half of her job is generating positive buzz, she also handles controlling negative spin and derailing crises. Improving training of restaurant personnel also is part of her portfolio. In addition, she leads the crisis team to manage issues before they reach a point that could derail KFC’s five consecutive years of growth.

In this session, Lori will argue that every PR and marketing professional always must wear the crisis communicator's hat. In addition, she's discuss the importance of a deep bench. This includes having members of other corporate departments ready to go.

Lori Eberenz, Senior Manager, Public Affairs, KFC


Short Break


Case Study: Lessons Learned from the Manchester Arena Bombing
On 22 May 2017, an Islamist extremist suicide bomber detonated a shrapnel-laden homemade bomb as people were leaving the Manchester Arena following a concert by US singer Ariana Grande. Twenty-three people died, including the attacker, and 139 were wounded, more than half of them children. Several hundred more suffered psychological trauma.
In this session, Amanda, who until recently was the head of corporate communications at Greater Manchester Police, will talk us through the Manchester Arena bombing and the importance of keeping people at the heart of your response and bringing agencies together in a unified response. 
Amanda Coleman, Crisis Communications Consultant, Amanda Coleman Communication LTD, Former Head of Communications at Greater Manchester Police, UK


Ready for the Recovery? A Post-pandemic Playbook to Build Brand & Reputation
While timid leaders and organizations have watched the pandemic silently from the sidelines, the farsighted have leaned in – using this turbulent time as an opportunity to demonstrate values and deliver value. Those are the ones who will be best positioned for a recovery. In this exclusive presentation, we examine the seven things leaders and communicators should be thinking and doing now to position their organizations for leadership, growth and success.
Daniel Tisch, CEO, Argyle Public Relationships


End of Day One

10.00- 15.00

Full Day Interactive Crisis Simulation Workshop with Donald Steel, Former Chief Communications Adviser at BBC


 Crisis Communication: Then and Now
- How the smartphone and social media is changing citizen and consumer behavior
- The implications for crisis and issue management
- How pictures, not words, are becoming decisive


 Crisis and Issue Classification 
- How to classify issues in your organization and defining which consitute a crisis
- The Red- Amber - Green model
- Which resources to apply to which classification


 Exercise: The Importance of Narrative
In this exercise, we explore the concept of narrative, and why in handling issue and crisis, it is a battle for control of your narrative. We explore the war of narratives going on in your organisation and how to make sure the dominant one is the positive narrative.
- How to define the positive and negative narratives of your organisation
- Using your narrative to change your professional practice
- How you can keep the positive narrative dominant over the negative


Lunch Break


Messaging In Issues and Crisis 
- The rules of a core message (few, simple and repeated) when handling a serious issue or a crisis.  
- The hierarchy of messages
- Communicating your values through your messages


Social Media In Issues and Crisis 
- Social media toolkit for crisis
- The role of the “dark” website
- The use of grayscale
- Preparing pictures for a crisis 


Short Break


Crisis Simulation Excercise
This simulation explores:
- The need for speed and how to prepare for emergencies in advance
- The importance of messaging
- The need to stay focused
- The role of the CEO in communications
- Using all channels to communicate 
- The simulation will give practical experience and tips on
- The rules of early crisis statements
- The crisis media interview
- The crisis press conference


End of Crisis Communications Boot Camp 12

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