Crisis Comms Expertise, an Essential Tool for US Businesses Surviving Bankruptcy, Financial Restructuring or Furloughs
Per the American Bankruptcy Institute, 722 companies in May 2020 sought bankruptcy protection, the tech sector saw the most bankruptcy filings in the first half of a year since 2009, and well-over 2,200 commercial organizations nationwide have filed for Chapter 11 this year. Last year a total of 6,800 companies filed for bankruptcies. So ‘we ain’t seen nothing yet!’
Business leaders around the US are confronting unprecedented challenges. As uncertainty looms, we’re all looking to determine what’s next and how to implement future plans.
As we all undergo trying times, determining how to explain our struggles is more vital than it has ever been. Business growth may not be feasible now, and survival may hinge on carefully managing liquidity or restructuring efforts.
Maintaining liquidity or reorganizing during the current storm and beyond requires expertise that might not be available in-house.
Navigating Bankruptcy and Financial Reorganization
Many US companies will need to adjust to stay solvent. This may be as simple as implementing a new financial plan to accommodate the current situation, including not spending on rent, lessening expenses or reducing payroll.
For others, however, a more formal statement and new business plan will be required. One that creditors and a court can deem acceptable.
Actively seeking professional counsel is a critical way to show stakeholders your leadership and proactive efforts. Set a clear course and request help. From internal sources, but also outside professionals, such as financial consultants, lawyers, and communications specialists, who can advise you on available options to decrease financial burden and attain some level of continuity.
Communicating Optimism in Crisis
Whatever level of crisis an organization and its financial and legal experts must work through, it is vital for it to consider collaborating with a public relations firm equipped to manage bankruptcy communications. This can help uphold the integrity of its reputation and brand.
Planning and executing crisis communications effectively is necessary to ensure customers, investors, employees, media, and partners stay engaged with a company.
An effective bankruptcy communications roadmap will need to build hope and optimism. To achieve this, a plan should include close collaboration with bankruptcy lawyers alongside strategically-directed key messages for business representatives and media training for employees and executives, who will need to share unfavorable news with confidence while positioning the business to recover its value and succeed.
Implementing the Right Strategy
Crisis communications require precision on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, organizations facing challenges should seek communications partners that can customize plans specifically for their needs. Many organizations have their own strengths, so teams should carefully choose who to partner with and strive to gain an honest and transparent relationship with the firms they are considering.
Once a communications roadmap is laid out (and sometimes planning must overlap with execution), it’s time to implement a tactical key message approach. This must be done in a way that helps build and sustain positive relationships with the media and stakeholders via a multitude of strategies — from internal and external communications, social media, news releases, investor relations, and more.
Experience also plays a large role in success. Veterans who have been neck-deep in crisis and emerged successfully with positive messaging can explain first-hand what they have seen work and fail. And the human element is also vital. In every instance – it’s important that crisis communications clearly maintain the value businesses place on customers and employees and the humanity leadership displays as they try to help themselves and others navigate troubled waters.
About the Author
Bob Gold founded and manages Bob Gold & Associates, one of the premiere independent integrated communications public relations agencies in the United States. The agency specialty is being experts at the nexus where video content meets technology and distribution. In 2019 Public Relations Society (PRSA) Los Angeles named him Communications Professional of the Year.
During his more than 30 years in public relations and marketing, Bob Gold has helped launch more than a dozen companies, re-branded many others, and created successful campaigns for numerous start-ups and Fortune 500 brands.
Gold is also the Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Hemisphere Technologies Inc., a Nevada corporation, which is dedicated to investing in technology companies. Gold has extensive experience in small and large-scale transactions and works as a key member engaged in all aspects including sourcing, evaluating, structuring, monitoring, and, where applicable, harvesting investments.
When he’s not helping others, Gold can usually be found more than 65 feet underwater on a scuba diving “mancation” with his three sons.