Crisis & issues management

Corporate Image crisis management icon

These include the Planet Hollywood Bomb Disaster at the V&A Waterfront, the 2003 Pick n Pay extortion crisis, the Engen Storms River disaster, the 2008 withdrawal of Amstel from SAB and the Alexander Forbes bulking crisis. We have also handled countless strikes, industrial action generally, boycotts, intimidation of employees, negative Competition Commission findings and fines, and product withdrawals.


Whatever crisis you may face, we act quickly to manage risk and help prevent damage to your image and reputation. We provide a wide range of services including:


  • Comprehensive counsel, including being available 24 hours a day
  • Media relations – dealing with possible negative coverage, help to prevent negative stories appearing in print or online, background, off-the-record or unattributable comment
  • Identification and disaggregation of your stakeholders, to make sure the same message reaches the correct audience groups in a crisis
  • Setting up or briefing of your consumer helplines with key messages
  • Paid for advertising if public notification is required
  • Preparing your executives for a crisis
  • Formulating crisis management and crisis communications manuals
  • Online reputation management – we work with professional service providers to minimise bad news appearing online in popular searches
  • Ensuring that your position on any dispute or litigation issue is clear, without making you legally vulnerable
  • Post-crisis to research to establish changes in perception
  • Daily scanning of media for issues that could impact you and preparing holding statements and positions should they be needed

There is a difference between issues and crisis management, and the former can often result in the latter if not handled correctly. Issues generally follow a lifecycle and the movement between phases can be swift if handled correctly.


Critical is knowing when to escalate an issue and begin handling it proactively to prevent a crisis from happening, and Corporate Image assists in monitoring issue trends and acting proactively to prevent the evolution into crisis. It is practically impossible to anticipate the exact nature of particular issues that may emerge but it is distinctly possible to anticipate the general nature of an issue that may arise.

For the bulk of our clients, we have formulated extensive issues guides for the company that are used, both internally and externally, as a resource for quick reference on the company’s view on certain issues. Not only does this make responding to media or other stakeholders much faster, but if made available internally, helps employees become key ambassadors for the company by being able to articulate the company’s position on key issues.

An effective issues and reputation management strategy comes when Corporate Image is given access to information, trends and research to enable us to anticipate possible pitfalls.


Helping clients achieve long-term sustainable value from their stakeholder engagement


Corporate Image devised the first ever perceptions audit of stakeholders for clients in South Africa, back in 1987.

Working from this base of expertise, we have developed critical tools in helping our clients to approach stakeholder engagement at a more structured level so that engaging with stakeholders becomes not only a board and Excom priority, but filters throughout the organisation instead of simply sitting in Corporate Affairs, Regulatory Affairs or Public Affairs without understanding the true nature of stakeholders and the ‘stake’ they have in a company.

We work closely with The Reputation Agency and their Stakeholder Mapping Tool ©. Identifying stakeholders is part of the approach, but our approach includes approaching the subject from an issues point of view too. This methodology enables you to do both, and prioritise stakeholders in terms of their current view and their predisposition to the company or to the issue, which makes relations that much easier to manage.

The Reputation Agency’s proprietary methodology enables you to match stakeholders to issues, and map them according to their level of influence both on you, and on the issue concerned. This practical approach is used by our clients internationally and has proved to be both practical and very effective.

Our clients