Can You Handle A Crisis?


A crisis can happen to any business, of any size, at any time. Do you have procedures in place to avoid a crisis before it happens, and a plan for responding to it when it strikes? And if you do have a plan, is it effective?

This year, the world will celebrate Nelson Mandela’s 97th birthday. Whether he knew it or not, he had a lot to say about crisis communications. In honor of his life and achievements, we’ll use some of his wise quotes to highlight key elements of a solid and successful crisis management plan:

“The first thing is to be honest with yourself.”

You may not be able to account for every possibility, but you can identify the most likely problem areas and prepare for the moment when they cause a major issue for your company. Be aware of your liabilities, the things that could come back to haunt you, personally and professionally. Some of these might be uncomfortable truths, but think how much worse it would be if someone else found them first.

“One cannot be prepared for something while secretly believing it will not happen.”

Part of being honest with yourself is acknowledging that you and your business are vulnerable. If you accept that you are not immune to damage, you can create a plan that will protect your brand from the worst repercussions.

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

A strong response to a crisis can shine a positive light on you and your company even in dark times. Your handling of negative situations says a lot about your business. You can respond to a crisis in a way that makes the public question your integrity, or you can respond in a way that gives them reasons to respect you more.

“When the water starts boiling it is foolish to turn off the heat.”

Whatever you do, do not ignore the problem. The crisis will affect you whether you react to it or not. You will have more control over the outcome if you are proactive. Ask for support from a trusted advisor, someone not affected by the situation and who has had a positive experience handling crisis.

If you or your business is facing a crisis, don’t lose hope! You may feel discouraged, as though there is no way you and your business can ever bounce back. But a solid plan and a right execution will carry you all the way through from prevention, to response, to reclaiming your good reputation when the smoke clears.

As Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

GillespieHall is an integrated digital marketing and digital PR  firm. Our award-winning team is comprised of astute PR  communicators, sociologists, digital strategists, and  creative content designers. We are leaders in exceptional  results-based marketing, social media,  brand development and crisis  management.

PPRA Members Move Earth at the Lutheran Settlement House

lsh-02 (1)

Dvorin and Engel Menendez, third and fourth from the left; in front of Engel Menendez is her son, Cole; Bershad, far right.

PPRA members, Catherine Engel Menendez, Adam Dvorin, and Robert Bershad, along with family and friends recently volunteered at The Lutheran Settlement House (LSH).

Volunteer efforts involved the regrading of a plot of land that the Lutheran Settlement House will soon turn into a park. Thanks to the hard work of volunteers the plot of land that was once uneven and not conducive for planting, now has a smooth, slight grade that is ideal for seeding and growing.

Volunteers used shovels, wheelbarrows, and rakes to move and tamp down two large piles of soil into a nearby park plot. They also prepared flower beds. The effort, which took about three hours, saved the LSH $6,000 in labor costs.

PPRA participated through the PPRA Community Service Committee, chaired by Robert Bershad. The activity was planned in collaboration with LSH’s activities coordinator and urban farmer, Jesse Bilger.

“PPRA put in a great volunteer effort that went far beyond what I expected. Many hands make light work and that’s never been more true than when PPRA moved earth for the Lutheran Settlement House,” said Bilger.

The urban farm where volunteers worked spans across land that was at one time four row home lots. The farm produces thirty kinds of vegetables that are all donated to LSH’s senior center meal program.


The Lutheran Settlement House, located in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood, empowers “individuals, families, and communities to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency through an integrated program of social, educational, and advocacy services.” Their programs include a senior center, transitional housing and counseling, teen after school activities, adult literacy classes, and a food pantry.

Are you interested in participating in one of our upcoming volunteer opportunities? Join us on Saturday, May 2, from 12 pm to 3 pm, as we assist the Norris Square Neighborhood Project (NSNP) with their spring cleaning efforts.

The NSNP “promotes positive change through youth education, community leadership, green spaces, the arts and the celebration of Latino culture.” Let’s work together to clear out-of-date children’s after-school games and activities from the basement of their headquarters, which is located at 2141 N. Howard Street. This activity includes lifting and carrying assorted items of varying weight and a flight of stairs.

Please RSVP to the PPRA Office at We look forward to seeing you there!

Top 5 Reasons to Join PPRA

Hundreds of the top PR professionals in the Greater Philadelphia Area are proud PPRA members. With the 2013-2014 membership deadline just around the corner (September 30), now is your chance to join the oldest and largest independent metropolitan public relations association in the nation or renew your existing membership. Although the benefits of being a PPRA member are countless and everyone has their own reasons for getting involved, here are a few of the top reasons you should join:

  1. Networking –  Relationships are important in any profession, but nowhere is that more true than in the communications industry. Whether you are a student looking to make your first connections in the “real world” or an established PR professional, networking is vital to your success. As a PPRA member, you will have plenty of opportunities to meet and build relationships with others in the field.
  2. Media Directory – For a PR professional, there is nothing more sacred than their media list. A solid list takes serious time and dedication to develop, but as a PPRA member you will have access to an extensive directory of media contacts in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
  3. Leadership Opportunities – With any organization, you get out as much as you put in. In order to get the full PPRA experience, you should get involved. Help plan an event, write for the newsletter, or work on improving PPRA’s relationship with local colleges and universities. Being an involved member can often result in becoming a leader within the organization. When you’re looking for a job, leadership experience will never hurt your chances.
  4. Membership Directory – In addition to interacting with fellow members at events, you will also have access to a directory which contains contact information for all PPRA members. Next time you’re looking for a point of contact at another organization, you’ll know exactly where to start.
  5. Industry Discounts – PPRA members are entitled to reduced pricing for a number of services, including Cision and TVEyes. These tools can become your best friends if you let them.

This post was written by PPRA Blog Chair Lauren Cox. Lauren is a Public Relations Specialist in the Office of the CIty Representative, where she works on the City’s major events like the Wawa Welcome America! Festival and the Philadelphia Marathon. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.