What IT is and How to Solve a Reputational Crisis

This new guide shows you everything you need to know about the Crisis Management procedure.


First, I will explain you what it is, the meaning and the most striking examples.

Then, I will help you prepare a communication plan and define the best strategy to understand how to solve a reputational crisis.  

Well, let’s get to the heart right away.

Do you urgently need to overcome an online reputation crisis?

Contact ReputationUP now.

You will have a team of experts by your side for a free and immediate Crisis Management consultation.


Crisis Management 101

In this chapter I will help you clarify the basics.

If you are not sure that your brand or company is ready for a Crisis Management operation, this chapter will take you on the right path.

Then, in the next few chapters, I will show you examples, procedures, plans and advanced strategies.

Crisis Management 101​

What is Crisis Management?

Those who deal with Crisis Management in any public or private entity, perform the delicate task of creating a business plan  that they need to quickly implement in the event of a reputational crisis.

What is a Reputational Crisis?

It is a negative event that threatens to damage the image of the organization itself and its entire commercial, economic and financial chain. Brands that constantly carry out a Web Reputation Analysis are more ready to face the crisis than others.

What is the definition of Crisis Management?​

With the expression Crisis Management we tend to indicate that set of strategies implemented by an organization to face a reputation crisis.

Why is it important to have a Crisis Management strategy?

crisis management ceo statistics and facts

According to the US Department of internal Security, the Crisis Management is the planning that reveals common sense in business:

Crisis Management and Social Media: an ideal scenario

In late Latin the scaenarium was the “space for scenes” which the Cambridge Dictionary defines as follows:

This is exactly what happens on social networks, where truth does not exist.

The Perceived truth triumphs, built through rhetorical artifices of words and images (articles, photos, videos).

Social Media represent the ideal scenario for a reputation crisis to take root, develop and spread every sector of the institution involved.

Increasingly, crises are induced by expert hands, with the aim of destroying you and taking your market share.

The technique used to stimulate an online reputation crisis is to cause and feed a negative event by spreading:

  • Fake news

  • Fake Videos

  • Harmful links

  • Defamatory Articles

  • Controversial Images

  • False or Negative Reviews

  • Other

Infographic on the spread of Fake News by Traffic Sources - USA 2017

distribuzione fake news per fonte di traffico USA 2017

Result: the true truth is manipulated and the perceived truth produces a hostile sentiment towards the “victim”.

The question is not whether or not the victim is an example of morality.

We are not here to judge anyone.

We are interested in investigating how dangerous it is to deprive yourself of a strategy to prevent, deal with, manage and turn to your favor the collapse of your online reputation, on social media and search engines.

This is why it is essential to know the playing field, the actors involved and the main rule:

The only certainty is the data you see in this picture:

how negative reputation impacts on companies turnover

Private and public entities – therefore companies, brands, professionals, politicians, parties, banks, private clinics – accumulate millions of euros in losses every year, due to the lack of a Crisis Management strategy.

Do you urgently need to overcome an online reputation crisis?

Contact ReputationUP now.

You will have a team of experts by your side for a free and immediate Crisis Management consultation.


Negative Examples of Crisis Management

In a world where every seller is longing for the trust of his buyers, few remember the saying:

Prevention is better than cure”.

Working hard to gain market share and then collapse due to the incapacity to manage a crísis is something for beginners.

In this chapter I will show you some negative examples of Crisis Management.

5 Esempi Negativi di Crisis Management​

If you think protecting your reputation is expensive, try bad reputation.

Even in 2020, and more generally in a hyper-connected society, everyone tries to conquer the most precious diamond: consumers trust.

Banks which are lacking in reputation management yearn for the trust of current account holders.

Hospitals and private clinics elbow to earn the trust of patients.

The big brands struggle to win the trust of customers.

Industrial groups work hard to gain the trust of the institutions.

Politicians and parties are scrambling to win the trust of citizens.

And then, everyone discovers that success is ephemeral.

A gust of wind – or rather a shitstorm – is enough to ruin your reputation and business.

Dolce&Gabbana Crisis Management

crisis management dolce e gabbana cina

How to destroy in a couple of seconds your image in the immense Chinese market the infamous cannolo spot – lasts so long.

November 2018.

On the occasion of the fashion show in Shanghai, the D&G maison launches an advertising that – rather than amusing the public – offends the entire Chinese community with a devastating mix of sexism and stereotypes.

The scandal explodes on Weibo and the video is successively removed from it.

An important fashion journalist asks Stefano Gabbana about the campaign, directly via Instagram.

The stylist thinks well to respond to criticism with a series of epithets on the:

The conversation is screened and shared by Diet Prada, the web’s most feared fashion Instagram account (1.3M followers).

The Chinese Government offically cancels the fahion show.

Loss for D&G: 20 million euros.

The Group declares that Stefano Gabbana’s account has been hacked but the perceived truth is another.

Nobody believes the D&G version.

The largest Chinese retailers – Ynap, TMall, Secco, Xiaohongshu and – suspend sales of D&G products.

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana make a video apology, which in the eyes of the Chinese is not enough to repair the damage.

Final result: D&G risks losing the Chinese market, which is worth 30% of its turnover (1.3 billion euros, 2017 data).

And if you do the math, the fashion company would burn 400 million euros.

Dolce e Gabbana could avoid such a disaster if they had:

Autostrade per l'Italia Crisis Management

autostrade benetton genova crollo ponte morandi (Foto Sir)

Genoa. ‎14 August ‎2018‎, 11:36 am.

The Polcevera viaduct collapses on the A10 motorway.

The Benettons control 88% of Autostrade per l’Italia through Atlantia.

In the hours and days following the tragedy, the Group demonstrates unpreparedness in managing a sudden crisis.

The first press release, which arrives 5 hours after the event, forgets the 39 victims and tends to deresponsibilize.

Social media become inflamed and after another 4 hours the second release – this time of condolence – appears.

On August 15, the day after the tragedy, the Benetton family meets to celebrate in Cortina during Ferragosto festivity.

A catastrophe.

The protest stirs up the media and the Benettons accuse the backlash.

Atlantia shares sink.

Titolo Atlantia in Borsa dopo il crollo del ponte morandi di genova

Moral of the  tragedy.

Even a large industrial group like the Benettons makes the macroscopic error of not planning a Crisis Management strategy or not using a reputation monitoring tool.

5 Stars Movement Crisis Management

Giulia Sarti e Rocco Casalino m5s disastro mediatico

Rino Formica stated: “politics is blood and shit”,

And in politics the little hands that act to ruin a competitor’s reputation are always ready to strike.

It is surprising, however, that the vaunted digital 5 Star Movement is paying the price, especially since its public relations go through Casaleggio Associati:

Yet Giulia Sarti is a victim of sextortion and Rocco Casalino of a series of scandals that affect his credibility and authority.

The splashes of mud dirty the image of the entire Movement, which begins its waning phase precisely in conjunction with the Sarti-Casalino affaire.

Final result: in the last European elections the M5S party takes the biggest bang of all time (ref. Di Battista), with 6 million fewer votes in one year.

confronto voti m5s lega pd europee 2019 politiche 2018 il messaggero
Fonte: Il Messaggero

A real paradox.

The “digital party” born on the web discovers the bitter taste of defeat due to a badly managed online reputation crisis.

Considering the most appropriate political declarations to make to earn votes – the 5 Star Movement collapses, due to the lack of a Crisis Management plan and a reputation risk analysis.

Today the election victory depends on the so-called Reputation Score.

Artificial intelligence algorithms and tools optimize the candidate’s image through:

  • Posts

  • Releases

  • Rallies

  • Public statements

  • Interviews

  • TV appearances

  • Posters

  • Others.

Do you urgently need to overcome an online reputation crisis?

Contact ReputationUP now.

You will have a team of experts by your side for a free and immediate Crisis Management consultation.


How To Develop a Crisis Management Plan in 7 Steps

Now it’s time to take action.

In this chapter we explore how to develop a 7-step Crisis Management plan and prevent a reputational crisis.

I will use the previous examples, to better explain the expressed concepts.

Come Definire un Piano di Crisis Management​

1. Assess potential risks.

Potential risks can include:

  • Comunication errors

  • Gaffes on social media

  • Market withdrawal

  • Cyber attacks

  • Data breaches

  • Media/ judiciary scandals

  • Accidents at work

  • Other…

Much depends on your industry.

If you are a political party, a potential risk means a media / judicial scandal against one of your representatives, which can determine his listing by PEP data providers such as World Check.

2. Determine any impact on your business.

The BIA (Business Impact Analysis) investigates how much your business can lose in terms of:

  • Customer dissatisfaction

  • Damage to image/reputation

  • Revenue decrease

  • Costs increase

  • Fines

  • Judiciary actions

  • Other…

If you are a political party and your representative is overwhelmed by a sexual scandal, your image / reputation will be damaged and this will undermine the satisfaction of your customer / elector.

3. Identify the actions to be taken.

For each risk / impact variable, you will identify the best possible option.

Taking as an example the party facing sexual harassment allegations that undermines the voters’ confidence, you will work both from a legal (to evaluate any complaints) and the Reputation Intelligence point of view, to understand who speaks bad of you and why.

Only by doing so, you will be able to send the right message to your voters so that they will listen, understand and accept not only the detractors belief, but also your truth.

Having an expert company like ReputationUP behind you makes actions effective, fast and safe, especially when you need to clean up your reputation.

4. Plan building.

The scheme is a simple matrix, to be filled as if it were a template in Excel.

Action 1 corresponds to Risk 1 with Impact A, and so on.

crisis management plan matrix

5. Assign key roles in the company.

Every employee involved in Crisis Management operations must know exactly:

  • What to do

  • When

  • How

  • Why

  • Whom you can relate

In the example of the political party, you will identify one or more members of the press and communication team who will respond politely and precisely to the protests of fans, followers and haters.

6. Train your employees

Offer the right tools and you will have an effective team.

The best solution is a training service on reputation, so that the employees involved will react to stress in cold blood.

Those who are prepared will know how to face it.

7. Keep your plan updated.

Is it really necessary that someone reminds us that what was valid in 2000 today counts less than zero today?

Do you urgently need to overcome an online reputation crisis?

Contact ReputationUP now.

You will have a team of experts by your side for a free and immediate Crisis Management consultation.


The Crisis Management Procedure

You can afford the luxury of activating the Crisis Management procedure to face the crisis successfully only through a written plan and a structured strategy.

In this chapter I will show you when and how to implement the plan that you have prepared.

La Procedura di Crisis Management_

When is a Crisis Management procedure activated?

The obvious answer would be: in case of crisis.


But the most forward-looking and performing companies are those that sniff the air and intercept the signs of a potential danger before it blows up.

Today there are  sophisticated artificial intelligence tools that analyze the sentiment of your corporate and / or personal brand.

If you are a young startup with little cash flow or a novice digital entrepreneur, you can use the free tools (such as Google Alerts).

Just enter the query to monitor and activate the receipt of e-mail notifications every time the query is mentioned.

Obviously the Alerts service only monitors the pages indexed by Google.

how to use google alerts to prevent reputation crises

And since social posts and comments are excluded from Google’s crawler, you won’t be able to  know who is talking badly about you on social media.

Identifying sudden flows of negative citations in a specific area affected by your business will cause you to be on the lookout and examine what is happening or could happen.

Understanding this in time represents the demarcation line between successful prevention and an expensive reputational crisis.

How to activate a Crisis Management procedure?

When you decide to push the red activation button, turn on the entire team of internal resources that will make up the supposed “Crisis Cabinet”.

The structure is pyramidal: without a command deck, the boat sinks.

This must be clear.

struttura piramidale del team di crisis management

The company crisis is one of those moments when democracy is useless and overrated.

The 4 cornerstones that make a Crisis Management procedure effective are:

  • Move forward quickly and decisively

  • Ensure team safety

  • Be available and physically present in the place of crisis

  • Ensure that the flow of information is constant

Do you urgently need to overcome an online reputation crisis?

Contact ReputationUP now.

You will have a team of experts by your side for a free and immediate Crisis Management consultation.


How to Solve an Online Reputation Crisis

How to act when the attack starts from the web?

In this chapter I will present you the checklist prepared by Andrea Baggio, CEO of ReputationUP.

So let’s see how to solve an online reputation crisis through the eyes of an industry expert.

Come Risolvere una Crisi Reputazionale Online​

Follow the checklist of an experienced Reputation Manager

Surfing the web is not a saying.

It is reality.

Because the web is like a wave for the surfer.

You know it can make you touch the sky with a finger, but you also know that it can slam you into the foam. Everything can happen in a matter of seconds.

The same time it takes to put an article, a video, an image or a post online.

According to Andrea Baggio, CEO of ReputationUP and Reputation Manager, to solve an online reputation crisis you must:

  • Analyze the situation

  • Develop a plan

  • Put the plan into action

  • Take additional actions

  • Flood the web with positive content

  • Remove the harmful content

  • Monitor the web


What is true regarding crisis management?

When your business encounters a crisis, you need to respond quickly and efficiently. You need to manage the situation and keep your team safe. 

You need to communicate with the people who are affected by the crisis, and you need to identify the right people to call when you’re in a pinch. As a business owner, you don’t have the time or resources to handle every crisis on your own so it’s critical to keep your team updated.

How to handle crisis management?

The first step to handling crises as a business is to plan for them. As an organization, you should have a plan in place for how to respond to a crisis. 

This will include who will be in charge, what they will do, and who will be notified. It will also include steps to take to prevent a crisis from becoming an issue in the first place, such as keeping an eye on current events that could affect your business, and keeping your staff informed.

What are the phases of crisis management?

Phase 1: Understand the situation (understanding the scale, cause, and impact) 

Phase 2: Communicate with the right people (stakeholders, regulators, etc.) 

Phase 3: Take action (mitigate the crisis, minimize reputational damage, and prepare for next steps) 

Phase 4: Review (analyze what happened, determine what worked and didn’t, and decide on next steps)

What is crisis management training?

Crisis management training teaches you how to respond to a crisis in a way that protects the integrity of your organization and preserves the safety of your employees and customers. It gives you the tools and knowledge you need to manage a crisis in a way that minimizes impact on your business and keeps your people focused on the task at hand. 

This type of training is designed to help you react quickly and decisively to a crisis when it happens. It helps you avoid becoming a victim of a crisis instead of creating a solution for one.

What does a crisis management team do?

The crisis management team, sometimes referred to as the crisis response team, are responsible for handling a crisis when it happens. They’re the first responder to a crisis and their job involves managing the crisis, coordinating with other departments, and ensuring the safety of the people involved. They’re often the first people affected by a crisis, so it’s critical that they’re prepared when it happens.

What is crisis management in public relations?

One of the most important aspects of public relations is crisis management. This is the process of managing a crisis when it happens. Your crisis management plan will tell your crisis response team what to do when a crisis strikes. It will also help your team prepare for the worst-case scenario so they can effectively manage the crisis and protect the people involved.

What does a crisis management team consist of?

A crisis management team comprises people in charge of generating an action plan with different strategies to mitigate a negative or detrimental impact on the company.

What are the 5 P's of crisis management?

According to the National Crisis Management Framework, the 5 P’s of crisis management are based on: Predict, Prevent, Prepare, Perform and Post-Action and Assessment.


In this guide I have shown you a series of advanced strategies to create and develop your Crisis Management plan.

I want to emphasize that the plan must be written, printed, distributed to the team and tested.

After seeing in detail the negative examples of crisis management, only an unconscious would turn his head to the other side, crossing his fingers and hoping for luck.

Let’s face it, there are two solutions: either do it yourself or entrust your reputation to an expert.

Tertium non datur.

If you think this guide can also help your circle of friends and acquaintances, share it on your social profiles.

It costs you nothing and it will be an honor for me.

Now It's Time to Hear Your Voice

I hope you got great value from ‘Crisis Management: What it is and How to Solve a Reputation Crisis’.

And now I’d like to hear your opinion:

Which driving strategy will you try first?

Will you use the matrix to create your plan?

In any case, let me know by leaving a short comment now.

website reputation analysis guida commenti
Do you urgently need to overcome an online reputation crisis?

Contact ReputationUP now.

You will have a team of experts by your side for a free and immediate Crisis Management consultation.

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