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Invisible PR

My wish for 2018: a new category in the Dutch PR Awards, namely ‘invisible crisis communication projects’.

I am sure that we would at least be among the nominees, should this request be honored as we have done quite a bit of work in this area this year. Although I obviously can't go into details, I would like to give you a taste of the bitter seeds that some of our clients have had to swallow.

They include ransomware in the commercial sector; family conflicts in industry; risk of contaminated soil due to the laxness of both municipal authorities and business; and of course the usual events such as product recalls, disgruntled employees and trade unions, fake news, financial malpractice and board conflicts.

In the healthcare sector we really had a ball this year, us communication professionals, that is. For, objectively speaking, we were able to handle some fantastic cases in conjunction with our clients’ communication departments. For the board members, clients and employees of our healthcare institutions, daycare organizations, hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, mental health care institutions and related organizations involved, however, the ‘ball’ was, of course, less festive.

They became the object of inflammatory attention from a trade unions and political parties. They were confronted by clients and their advocates who immediately blew up their complaints by addressing them through social channels rather than internally first. They were startled by missing clients, angry locals, pyromaniacs, fussy inspectors, whistleblowers, overly tenacious journalists, board members forced to leave, cyber-attacks, falls, suicides, unauthorized publications of client photos, accusations of child abuse and even murder.

Nevertheless, we look forward to 2018 with confidence. Because they have learned from their inexperience and that of others. Because they have mapped potential new incidents through clear scenario planning. Because they were well trained by our media training team, because they have drawn up or updated their crisis communication plan with us and because they have practiced their Emergency Response plans with our crisis communication team.

And should they need our help after all, despite the thorough preparation, they will undoubtedly remember us and our special crisis hotline: +31 26 3720871, also in 2018.

Serge Beckers