Recent events in the banking industry, among others, highlight the importance of effective crisis management and the need to stay a step ahead of complex and fast-breaking issues, particularly as it relates to reputation and legal considerations.
Members of our Crisis Communications and Issues Management practice recently co-authored a chapter on "Public Relations and Message Management" for the Fourth Edition of Cleary Gottlieb’s Global Crisis Management Handbook.
The chapter discusses how to handle public relations aspects of crises, including how to weigh the practical benefits and legal risks of any public response and factors to consider when crafting and delivering your message.
Some key takeaways include:
In addition to reputation, you need to consider the legal—and practical—consequences of any public response.
The decision to proactively disclose an issue is critical—do you have a duty, and, if not, is it the right move strategically to frame the message and support the legal strategy?
In crafting a disclosure, close collaboration between PR and legal can help maximize its effectiveness while avoiding language that may generate future risk.
Most often, a crisis response won’t require just a one-time statement but rather a sustained communications strategy.
When working with outside counsel and public relations firms, take steps to maintain privilege, to the extent possible.
Recent legal and legislative actions across the country show states have become the front lines in the culture wars.
Last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed into law a bill allowing the concealed carry of a gun without a permit, training or background check. DeSantis has stated he believes Florida should go further and allow open carry, which some members of the state legislature also support.
A bill to criminalize helping minors obtain an abortion without parental consent was signed into law by Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R).The law will restrict out-of-state travel for abortions by creating the crime of "abortion trafficking" and would bar adults from obtaining abortion pills for a minor or "recruiting, harboring or transporting the pregnant minor" without the consent of the minor’s parent or guardian. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) signed a bill protecting abortion providers from related prosecution, professional disciplinary action or extradition attempts by out-of-state interests.
Lawmakers across the country advanced GOP-led legislation last week that would restrict the rights of transgender and nonbinary people. North Dakota’s State Senate passed several bills limiting transgender rights in sports, health care, schools and workplaces. The legislation still needs to clear the House and be signed into law by Gov. Doug Borgum (R), who notably vetoed another bill involving pronoun restrictions. Meanwhile, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) and Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) both signed legislation into law this week that would restrict gender-affirming healthcare for youth.
In Kansas, lawmakers overrode Gov. Laura Kelly’s (D) veto of a bill that would ban transgender athletes from women’s sports, enacting the restrictions into law. Days earlier, Kansas lawmakers also passed a bill that would ban transgender and nonbinary people from single-sex public accommodations, which critics are calling the most restrictive legislation aimed at transgender people in the nation.
You may have seen the news that global investment firm KKR will make a minority growth investment in FGS Global. We’re humbled and excited by this development, but as always at Capital in Context (and in our work in general!), we’re focused on what this means for you.
It reflects the evolution of the sector. Like us, KKR believes our increasingly volatile world calls for advice when communicating with the "stakeholder economy" – a myriad of voices from employees to civil society, regulators to politicians, and customers to investors. They view FGS as a pioneering market leader focused on helping leaders succeed in this incredibly complex environment.
Succeeding in the modern communications landscape requires an interdisciplinary approach. Many of our senior team don’t come from traditional communications backgrounds, and they bring fresh perspective and high-level experience that deliver unique solutions to our clients’ most complex problems. We also are fully integrated across disciplines, functions and subject matter expertise, meaning you get the best team that already knows how to work together to address your issues and capture opportunities, no matter where they are.
This is an investment in you. FGS will benefit from KKR’s depth of expertise supporting companies build robust, scalable platforms and world-class infrastructure. We are grateful this investment will help us support clients even more effectively.