You’ve just been alerted to a cyber security breach – sensitive customer data has been published online.
In the information age we live in, this is a nightmare scenario for any business. As you contact your colleagues, trying to understand the scope of the issue, you see a tweet breaking the news online. Two minutes later, your phone rings and a journalist from a leading international newspaper bombards you with questions, the first of many calls.
The situation unfolds over the next one and a half hours with pressure from all sides, from worried customers and inquisitive media outlets, to the company’s CEO and regulators. Is it just you or has the room got a little warmer?
This is just a flavor of what the participants of our Kekst CNC Situation Room can experience when they go through an immersive crisis simulation. Scenarios are tailored to their organization’s needs and mimic a real-time crisis and the associated potential information overload. Participants are equipped with dedicated laptops and smartphones, which allows them to respond to emails, calls and social media via the dedicated Situation Room.
"A crisis can do untold damage to a company's reputation. Crisis simulations play an important role for communicators in understanding how to protect and build a reputation"
Every move they make – from one-on-one calls with journalists to statements on the mock company website – directly influences how stakeholders perceive the developing crisis, just as it would in a real situation. In a separate room or location, our crisis professionals are controlling the scenario, playing the role of journalists and other stakeholders on the phone, constantly adapting to the decisions made by the team in the simulation.
A crisis like a cyber security breach can do untold damage to a company’s reputation, and communicators are an important piece in the puzzle when it comes to protecting or building a reputation. Clients find that being able to handle a plausible crisis and interact with all relevant internal and external stakeholders in a safe environment, where you can’t send a tweet on a public account or email a real journalist by mistake, is invaluable.
This way, clients can train their teams and test their existing crisis manuals and protocols. The setup can handle anything from a small crisis communications team to a large crisis response team including various functions at one time, depending on what clients wants to achieve.
After the scenario is over (and heart-rates have levelled out again!), Kekst CNC dives into a lively de-brief session with the participants. Even more important than the scenario itself, this is where we give an initial summary of the key learnings. Based on a more in-depth analysis of the training and its outcome, we give some clear recommendations on how to further improve the company’s level of crisis preparedness.
Clients invariably leave the room on a high, full of adrenaline and confidence that they can handle the next potential crisis that may come their way.