How to build a PR crisis-management team

01/04/2020By scandinaviancomChange Communications, Christina Rytter, Crisis Communications, Management Communications, PR, Strategic Communications

By Christina Rytter, Founder & Crisis Communications Advisor

When a crisis hits you need to have a team of key people in place, so you can respond quickly and effectively before the situation escalates. So, let’s look at whom you need on your team – and how the team should operate.

The Crisis Communicator

This is the person on your team with the experience and expertise to plan and execute the right communications response in any kind of PR crisis or internal crisis. Ideally, this person will also exude a calming influence on the team, while knowing how to manage the crisis response narrative. If you don’t have an internal Crisis Communicator this role can also be managed by The Crisis Advisor.

The Key Leader

When a major PR crisis hits, it’s inevitable that the CEO will be involved in some way, whether you are making key decisions, delivering a message, or as a spokesperson providing a face for the company’s crisis response. But who else on your team can pivot from their day-to-day work and take on a key decision-making role in the crisis response? Ideally, you will have at least two or three of these key leaders.

You need someone who is an accomplished communicator and a clear thinker to help the crisis communicator and the CEO formulates a response. This person will have a proven track record for making smart decisions with limited information on short timetables. You will also need someone to manage the internal crisis response. Someone who has the authority to control and monitor what your team says and to whom, who can also be a calming influence as they deliver messages from the decision-makers to rest of the team.

Every Key Leader who acts as company spokesperson can also always secure a higher success rate by participating in Media- and Message Training – especially in a crisis. This will also secure the alignment of the company key messages in the crisis-management team

The Media Manager

At some point in your crisis response, you will need a person whose sole duty is to manage media interest. From moderating social media to responding to media requests and connecting the right messages with the right people, this can be a full-time job in the middle of a crisis.

The Crisis Advisor

When you’re very close to a situation, you can miss details or make assumptions that diminish the effectiveness of your crisis response. That’s why it makes good sense to bring in an outside advisor who specializes in crisis communication. This person or team has a different perspective that can prove invaluable in formulating and executing a crisis response.

To get your own Crisis Advisor as CEO also means that someone fully has your back – and that the advisor will work with you and your in-house team to build a narrative and implement a crisis response that should minimize the damage to your brand reputation and put your company in a better position to begin rebuilding credibility.

When facing a PR crisis your Crisis Communications Advisor also has an extensive list of key media contacts with whom they have developed good working relationships. When speed really matters and you need positive earned media, knowing exactly whom to call is a vital aspect of an effective external crisis response.

Learn more about Crisis Communications

How to handle your Corona Crisis Communications in Scandinavia?

13/03/2020By scandinaviancomChange Communications, Christina Rytter, Crisis Communications, Management Communications, PR, Scandinavian Communications, Social Media, Strategic Communications

By Christina Rytter, Founder & Crisis Communications Advisor

The Scandinavian countries have not been spared the coronavirus pandemic. As of this Friday morning Denmark reports 674 cases of the coronavirus. Norway reports 734 cases and the first fatality. Both countries now shut down schools and universities for the coming two weeks. Denmark furthermore encouraged companies to let people work from home – and bars, restaurant and clubs to stay closed. Danish indoor events with +100 participants are banned.

Sweden reports 667 cases of coronavirus as of today with every region in the country affected and had the first fatality linked to the virus in Scandinavia. Sweden now bans large public events for +500 people. Finland does the same with today’s reported number of 59 cases of the coronavirus.

The time is now

You need to take charge of your communications before rumours, panic, fear or anger does. Most humans don’t like sudden change – and they will fill in the blanks of missing information with their own interpretation of, what might happen next. Everyone carries their personal backstory and life experience, that will be the starting point to fill in the blanks if their leader doesn’t. Often peoples own guess of what happens next in crisis and change is their worst-case scenario – driven by strong emotions like fear or anger. Starting rumours or impulsive negative reactions.

Therefore, a quick response is key in a critical situation, because it gives you the chance to handle and control the communications around the situation and thereby the outcome proactively with a higher possibility for success. BUT the quick response must be flanked by carefully thought out communications – especially what key messages you need to deliver in the conversation with your different stakeholders.

Create order in your own house first

As a first step, you need to prepare for information and conversation. And as with the situation of the coronavirus in every case that has or can have an effect on your employees it is vital to create order in your own house first. Clear internal communications must be your first step. Over the years I have seen many examples of how a crisis or change suddenly turned MUCH worth do to internal rumours and unforeseen actions from employees driven by fear or anger because management and boards were too busy focusing on external communications as their first step. To let employees, learn about for example their potential job loss for the first time via the news, is not the way to do it! Always unintended of cause, but still this can happen if you don’t start with and steer internal communications quite firm in a crisis and change.

Get ready for Corona conversation

In your crisis communication around the coronavirus, the most effective way is to draw up and work with different realistic crisis or change scenarios and plan, what to do and say in each imaginary scenario – and which communications channels will suit your messages and conversations with different internal and external stakeholders best.

Scandinavians are very critical and direct – and we don’t hold back with the questions. This apply to both employees, journalists, clients, business partners and competitors. So, you really need to prepare.

Create your Q&A:

  • What is your overall intention with this information?
  • What is your key message? Your communication is clearer, when you only focus on one or few key messages.
  • Who are you talking to? (Your key target group/stakeholders)
  • Which information do the person/stakeholders need?
  • Which situation are they in? Communicate the messages relevant to them, not to you.
  • Choose your role based on the person/target group. Are you formal or informal? How do you dress? What language and body language do you use? BUT be yourself!
  • Prepare, prepare and prepare. Train, train and train.


Take the opportunity to show your values

In a crisis case like the coronavirus pandemic, suddenly we as companies as well as humans get a higher common purpose to stick together and help each other. It must be people before profit. So as a company or organization, you need to find out how you can do your best – and at the same time, it is an opportunity to show the world your values and corporate social responsibility.

Corona Communications Kudos and Fail of the week

A great positive example that deserves Corona Communication Kudos from Denmark this week is a joint press release from leading retail companies AND competitors Coop, Salling Group, Dagrofa and Rema 1000. The release informs Danes that there will be plenty of convenience goods in the stores in the coming weeks. In this way taking proactive social responsibility to secure that people are not stockpiling food driven by fear and uncertainty. In this way, the companies as suppliers and industry experts fill in the Danes communications blanks with clear and trustworthy information to create security. At the same time show their corporate values and leave us as consumers with positive feelings and stronger awareness around their brands. Even a feeling of pride that we have such companies in Denmark.

The Corona Communications Fail of the week I must assign to Airbnb that refuses scores of refunds if you cancel your trip. This is also a way of communication the company values very clear. But I’m sure in the light of the coronavirus setting profit over people at this time, is very shortsighted and will damage the brand and not been taken lightly by the clients. The stakes are even higher for Airbnb, because this is the company wants to debut on the stock market – so their reputation has never mattered more.

Remember all in all in crisis and change when your response quickly and are well prepared, you can turn the difficult situation into an opportunity to show authentic positive values – if you have them 😉. By working out a carefully thought out message platform with key messages as a first step. And train through the different scenarios with message- and media training, you can navigate successfully through. Get your Corona Crisis Communications Action Plan in order; Whom do you need to communicate to as a first step? When and how? If you handle crisis and change like this, people will understand you much better – and even get on your side. When you keep calm and friendly – and communicate in a clear and authentic way you be at the forefront of things. And as always, the most important thing is to prepare – and train, train, train!

Get free advice for your Corona Crisis Communications

Don’t hesitate to contact directly if you need help. We offer a free 20-min call with personal advice for your Corona Crisis Communications – book at the webpage formula.

Scandinavian Communications wins Global Business Award

15/01/2020By scandinaviancomChange Communications, Christina Rytter, Content Marketing, Crisis Communications, Management Communications, PR, Public Relations Global Network, Scandinavian Communications, Social Media, Strategic Communications

Just arrived from Chile – 1st Place The PRGN Business Power Awards! We are very thankful for The Public Relations Global Network recognizing our work in Scandinavia this year 🙏

If you also like to leverage your business in Scandinavia, don’t hesitate to contact our CEO Christina Rytter at email: cr@scandcomm.com or mobile +4523967733. We are here to help.

Top 5 tips for Crisis Communications in Scandinavia

21/12/2019By scandinaviancomChange Communications, Christina Rytter, Crisis Communications, Management Communications, PR Tips & Trends, Scandinavian Communications, Social Media, SoMe Tips & Trends, Strategic Communications

By Christina Rytter, Founder & Crisis Communications Advisor

When crisis or change hits like a bolt from the blue it’s normal for even the most experienced executive to feel concerned. Especially when you want to be at the forefront of things. Here are my Top 5 tips on how you navigate successfully through the storm when a crisis or change hits you in the Scandinavian market:

1. Response quick – but well thought out

A quick response is key in a critical situation, because it gives you the chance to handle and control the situation and thereby the outcome proactively with a higher possibility for success. BUT the quick response must be flanked by carefully thought out communications – especially what key messages you need to deliver in the conversation with your different stakeholders.

Scandinavians are very critical and direct – and we don’t hold back with the questions. This apply to both employees, journalists, clients, business partners and competitors. So, you really need to prepare. I find that one of the most effective ways in crisis and change communications in Scandinavia is to draw up and work with different realistic crisis or change scenarios and plan, what to do and say in each imaginary scenario – and which communications channels will suit your messages and conversations with different internal and external stakeholders best.    

2. Get ready for conversation

  • What is your key message? Your communication is clearer, when you only focus on one or few key messages.
  • Who are you talking to? (Your key target group/stakeholders)
  • Which information do the person/stakeholders need?
  • Which situation are they in? Communicate the messages relevant to them, not to you.  
  • Choose your role based on the person/target group. Are you formal or informal? How do you dress? What language and body language do you use? BUT be yourself!
  • Prepare, prepare and prepare.
  • Train, train and train.

3. Take control over your body language

Your body language is your greatest asset, when you know how to control and use it. When you learn to use your body language proactively combined with clear messages, you can be a brilliant and authentic leader and communicator. BUT if you don’t have your body language under control – and that is quite normal in a crisis or change situation, when you might get nervous – then it can work so much against you, that nobody hears what you say. Well-known international studies show, that up to 80 % of people’s perception of you will be from your body language. That is if you fail to control it. Otherwise people listen. Scandinavian will mostly listen – if it’s not to boring. And if you serve beer (or something stronger for the Finns) they will really listen. 😉.    

Control what we see:

  • Posture: Straight back and raised head express security, authority and energy.
  • Choose a suitable grimace for the occasion; Seriousness, enthusiasm or joy?
  • Use gestures that support the message.
  • Firm eye contact exudes security and credibility.
  • If you avoid eye contact it signals insecurity, uncertainty – and thus untrustworthiness.
  • Pay attention to your bad habits and patterns – they especially come out when you are nervous under pressure.
  • Look fresh and well-rested (of cause sometimes that might be a little difficult in a crisis).

Control what we hear:

  • Deep and calm voicing creates trust and credibility.
  • Variation in voice creates dynamism and awareness of the recipient.
  • Talk slowly – without getting boring. It exudes heaviness and credibility.
  • Breath deep and use (rhetorical) pauses.

4. Keep calm
Even the most experienced executive can get nervous under pressure in a difficult crisis or change situation. That is just human nature.

What happens when you get nervous?

  • You protect your body with your arms, turn your back, avoid eye contact, smile stiffly and stave off.
  • You sweat, get pale, get ticks, mess with your hair or perform other unconscious bad habits. What are your bad habits under pressure?
  • You move uneasily; rocks or turns on the chair. Tilting back and forth on your feet.
  • You breathe quickly and superficially.
  • You speak faster and get a sharper and lighter voice.

Then what to do?

  • Breathe deeply and plant both feet into the floor.  
  • Lower your talk rate and use (rhetorical) pauses.
  • Open your arms, straighten your back and look up and out.
  • Make and maintain eye contact – possibly look between the eyes if real eye contact is unpleasant.
  • Only smile when it suits the occasion.
  • Sit and stand still.
  • Choose a chair that stands firm. Otherwise you will quite easy start rocking or turn it.
  • If at a presentation: Go consciously among the audience.
  • Avoid carbonated water – so you don’t burp (when you breathe quick and superficially).  

5. Use the crisis to your advantage

When your response quickly and are well prepared, you can turn the difficult situation into your advantage. By working out a carefully thought out message platform with key messages as a first step. And train through the different scenarios with message- and media training, you can navigate successfully through. Get your Crisis Communications Action Plan in order; Who do you need to communicate to as a first step? When and how? If you handle crisis and change like this, people will understand you much better – and even get on your side. When you keep calm and friendly – and communicate in a clear and authentic way you be at the forefront of things. And as always, the most important thing is to prepare – and train, train, train!   

Need help with Crisis Communications in Scandinavia?

Don’t hesitate to contact Scandinavian Communications if you need help. We are passioned with heart and mind to help you handle crisis and change so you can communicate with impact and leverage your business in the Scandinavian markets.

Communication Agencies and Law Firms: the new allies in business crises

27/09/2019By scandinaviancomChange Communications, Crisis Communications, Management Communications, Public Relations Global Network, Strategic Communications


By Valentina Giacaman Hazboun, Founding Partner at RumboCierto Comunicaciones

In an era of corporate reputation coming under close scrutiny from an increasing number of directions, strategic communications agencies – at least the ones staffed with experienced communications professionals and former journalists and capable to support companies and individuals alike in a crisis situation – have become increasingly valued by law firms and their clients.
Still a few years ago, when a corporation – or a company executive or business tycoon for instance – had to face the courts, they mostly called only for a lawyer to get prepared to defend themselves against charges.

Today the notion is on the increase that this is far from enough. Corporations and businesspeople have become seriously worried about their image, as well. What will the press write? How the reputation will be reevaluated by those in the market where they operate? And – last but not least – how they can effectively defend themselves against charges (either false or true) so that a crisis does not end in any damage with unthought-of consequences.

In today’s growingly image-conscouios environment, legal specialists and counsels have also started to involve crisis experts or lobbyists, since they have become aware that without the crucial communications aspect of an analysis they will have less chance to win their cases.

I’ve come across lawyers who have even included public disqualifications as a way to litigate. And recent evidence shows clearly that companies have been destroyed, sold cheap or even come to be worth zero after a crisis erupted involving them. The same can happen to executives and businesspeople: if their reputation is tarnished, they will never be able to access new jobs or even close deals.

The true specialists companies and individuals need in such situations are people who can understand the media, anticipate intentions behind calls from journalists, ask the right questions and – based on accurate data gathered that way – can reconstruct facts and explain them in simple language everyone understands.

This specialist area within the general communications practice has developed over the recent years of crises while the industry also found a name for it and called it Corporate Reputation Management – which is now so much talked about in seminars and the trade press. And most recently this field has been further intensified by the arrival of “fake news” and “post-truth”. Now it is a part of almost all conflict and crisis situations that false news is created around them with the intention to damage the image of a person or to distort perception of reality by the public opinion.

While reputation management is not a new practice in the field of communications, awareness is growing that a loss of reputation can have serious consequences on the judicial outcomes, and social networks can aggrevate that impact further. A prominent judge in Chile recently noted in an article: “It is the social sanction which is invoked that can often be harsher than the sanctions by the courts.

RumboCierto Comunicaciones is our partner agency in Chile.  Article originally published at PRGN.com

Visit from our international partners in Poland & Brazil

13/09/2019By scandinaviancomChange Communications, Christina Rytter, Content Marketing, Crisis Communications, Management Communications, PR, Public Relations Global Network, Scandinavian Communications, Social Media, Strategic Communications

Today we had a wonderful visit and Friday Lunch in Copenhagen with our Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) partners and friends from OneMulti in Poland and SMARTPR in Brazil.

The World’s Local Agency
PRGN is The World’s Local Public Relations Agency. We are a connected network of 50 hand-selected agencies working within PR, Strategic Communications and Digital/Social Marketing servicing key markets around the world. As leaders in our respective regions, PRGN agencies offer the “boots-on-the-ground” savvy of a local Public Relations agency, yet on a global scale. Our model allows us to deliver a unique level of flexibility – scaling up or down across multiple markets to meet your business needs. Each PR agency knows its local community and it knows how to help clients connect with their audiences in those regions.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help in Scandinavia – or beyond with single-point-of-contact.

Read more about PRGN.