Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink: A case study in CNI Emergency Management

FloodBy Michael Gilbert

Here in the UK, we are fortunate that we have a reliable supply of clean water that rarely comes under serious threat. Water suppliers have comprehensive emergency plans and contingencies in place, backed up by extensive emergency management training programmes. So how does a provider of critical water supply respond in an emergency? We found out when Severn Trent was flooded by unprecedented flooding in Gloucestershire in the summer of 2007 and the Pitt Review that followed.

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“Why should I care?”: The psychology of crisis preparedness

By Dr Claudia van den Heuvel


Our perceptions of the likelihood of an event happening are based on how much emotion we feel when thinking about that situation. This is one of the tenets that Daniel Kahneman explores in his book ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow, which has interesting connotations for risk perception, emergency preparedness and crisis response. 

No matter how objective intelligent and rational people like to believe they are, emotion always affects how the human brain processes reality. Understanding the psychology of risk perception can help inform how best to train and exercise crisis management teams and prepare them for the unthinkable. Continue reading

Brandjacking: A history of the latest corporate crisis

BurgerKing_hackBy Rosanna Moseley

This week, Twitter hacking has been the corporate crisis of the moment. It started with Burger King on Monday, when their official Twitter handle @BurgerKing was hijacked and adorned with McDonalds’ branding, and claims that ‘the whopper flopped’ and had been bought by their arch-rival and a string of offensive tweets followed. On Tuesday, Jeep was taken over Continue reading

Media Interviews: How to do it and do it well

By Rosanna Moseley

video camera

In my last blog, ‘Media Interviews: Whatever you do, don’t do this’, we saw some of the most embarrassing media interviews around and learned from their failings. This month, in the name of fairness, we look at some highly-regarded interviews given during times of crisis. Below are some examples of when CEOs faced the press successfully during a crisis, with analysis and advice on how you should follow in their footsteps with solid crisis communications.

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Findus’ cautious (and damaging) crisis communications strategy

Findus_logo_2011By Dominic Cockram 

Findus UK’s communications response has been disappointing and out-dated following the discovery of horsemeat in their products, including some ‘beef’ lasagnes that were found to contain 100% horse. The overarching tactic has been to lay low and wait until it all blows over, which has attracted widespread criticism from consumers, crisis management and PR experts, and – most recently – even from their own investors.

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Thinking the Unthinkable: The psychology of crisis preparedness

By Dr Claudia van den Heuvel


I’ve recently finished a book by Daniel Kahneman, ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’, that raises interesting ideas about how people think about risk, prepare for disaster and react to a crisis, such as:

Can we as human beings ‘think the unthinkable’ and ‘know the unknowable’?

Apparently not, according to psychology experiments. Continue reading

ISO 22301 vs BS 25999: The Key Differences

By Isobel Nicholas


The International Standard for Business Continuity Management Systems is well and truly here, and we at Steelhenge have already started transitioning our own BCMS, and have been busy assisting clients with their ISO 22301 implementation. Below we take you on a whistle-stop tour of the headline differences between the requirements of BS 25999-2 and ISO 22301.

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HMV: Rogue employees and corporate communications in the digital age

hmv-logoBy Dominic Cockram

Concerned about hackers, protesters, weather disasters or even the threat of terrorist attack? You may want to look a bit closer to home. It is an established fact in crisis management circles that some of the biggest vulnerabilities an organisation faces come from its own staff. Whether that be a conspicuously hidden post-it note with log-in details to all the company accounts; opening a harmless looking email loaded with malware; or a disgruntled employee (or ex-employee) using company resources to tarnish a reputation.

Last week, HMV learnt this lesson the hard way when their Continue reading