Crisis & Litigation Management
More than ever before, organizations are judged today by how they plan for, respond to and manage crises and risk.
Key stakeholders judge an organization not only on how it manages risk, but how it effectively recovers its reputation after an incident occurs.
Clients engage with us for three reasons:
Navigate the Unknown through a relentless pursuit of risk that enables our clients to be in a constant state of readiness.
Overcome the Threat to secure the best outcome.
Come Back Stronger to retain trust and support of key stakeholders
Helping a multinational furniture company develop and implement a new safety campaign to raise awareness around its products and re-earn trust among consumers.
A multinational furniture retail company took the initiative to help reduce the number of tip-over accidents by raising awareness of the need to secure furniture to the wall. Although the retail company had included tip-over restraints with its furniture and assembly instructions, the company felt it could do more to prevent such accidents.
The furniture retail company worked with the CPSC on the tip-over issue due to numerous reports of injuries and even deaths related to chest of drawers. Following reports of the death a seventh child involving a dresser, the company voluntarily launched one of the largest recalls in history.
With APCO’s support, the company launched a media blitz, with media engagement efforts resulting in widespread print and digital coverage.
The company’s president appeared on numerous top tier broadcast outlets via satellite. APCO produced broadcast, print and digital ads and managed a nationwide ad campaign promoting the recall message, in additional to social media engagement, in-store signage and videos and information on the company website. The company also reached out to key stakeholders, including safety groups, regulators and Members of Congress to ensure they were aware of the company’s efforts.
In addition to the recall, the company was also being sued by several of the impacted families. Like much of APCO’s crisis-related work, APCO’s crisis response involved close coordination with the company’s outside counsel.
The communication efforts around the tip-over safety campaign and recall were enormously successful and resulted in hundreds of million media impressions, widespread social media engagements, and millions of products returned or repaired. In addition, it improved the relationship between the company and the CPSC and other stakeholders.
Stakeholder communications was the crux of the strategy for this global brand in its efforts to reach an agreement with state officials.
A global food company’s Board of Directors was facing an investigation from the Office of the Attorney General in their state. The OAG was investigating claims of alleged overcompensation of Board members, term limits that exceed a decade, reimbursements for excessive travel expenses, and conflicts of interest.
APCO was retained by the Board to serve as trusted counselors and received a full briefing by legal counsel before assisting the company.
APCO prepared a comprehensive stakeholder engagement plan. The APCO team also prepared all the stakeholder communications materials such as statements, press releases, and letters to the community in anticipation for an announcement of an agreement with the OAG.
While the OAG investigation was ongoing, the company faced further issues internally and APCO’s team created a strong media plan to address these issues while the investigation was still going on.
An agreement was ultimately reached with OAG, which included changes to Board term limits, compensation, selection requirements, and the nomination process.
The agreement received top-tier media coverage including all the largest national networks.
The APCO team continues to manage communications for the Board related to bids, resignation of members, corruption charges, nominations and elections, and development issues as well as ongoing media monitoring and re-branding efforts.
Faced with allegations of sexual misconduct by one of its physicians, an athletic association turned to APCO to help manage response to one of the largest sexual abuse scandals in sports history.
What started as a major athletic organization seeking general communications support and specific assistance around its bankruptcy filings, turned into a full-blown crisis response effort over allegations of sexual misconduct by its physicians.
APCO initially provided media statements, internal communications materials, and media strategic advice in connection with reports of an ongoing investigation. APCO realized the discursive need in distinguishing between false narratives that filing for bankruptcy was an effort to avoid paying claims, when the reality was consolidating the claims into a single court.
APCO assisted in the movement to “change the narrative” around this organization’s particular hardships, demonstrating the changes and progress that has been made. This included enhanced safety procedures around training and a newly elected board.
APCO also assisted in effectively communicating news about the new CEO of the association.
APCO was able to provide assistance in changing the narrative to highlight areas of success. APCO highlighted the organization’s enhanced safety procedures and the roll out of a new board of directors. Recently, APCO succeeded in communicating the hire of a new CEO, who received a positive response by media and the athletic community as a whole.
APCO partnered with the company to quickly anticipate issues that could impact its license to grow and identify a plan to mitigate risks to expansion.
A global fast food company was growing rapidly, especially in overseas markets, while also facing increased consumer and stakeholder expectations in the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) space. The communications team needed to take a step back from putting out communications fires daily to evaluate the source of the company’s biggest reputational risks – and how to prioritize future resources, response, and proactive communications efforts. The company needed to quickly anticipate the issues that could impact its license to grow, then identify how to proactively engage on those issues to protect its business.
APCO proposed a three-phase approach to develop an actionable roadmap to provide the knowledge and insight to mitigate risk and enhance the company’s global reputation. The team started with issues identification and prioritization, building on recent company research, an external landscape analysis of the industry and key markets, and interviews with outside experts. We then prioritized the issues, using agreed upon criteria to compare and rank the challenges. We presented the findings visually and achieved alignment among senior internal stakeholders.
The company now has an agreed upon issues map to serve as the backbone for all future communications plans, especially in the ESG area. Future phases of the work will layer on stakeholder mapping and an analysis of the “white space” around these issues to see where the company can participate in meaningful conversations and where it needs to create more detailed engagement/response plans.
After hackers accessed the health records of millions of patients, a leading health care system turned to APCO to mitigate reputational damage.
Hackers targeting a leading healthcare system accessed the health records of more than 2.5 million patients after gaining permissions to a database temporarily in possession of two third-party vendors.
APCO’s challenge was to mitigate reputational damage by helping the health system work with law enforcement authorities and regulators to investigate the breach, support impacted partners and protect patients from start to finish.
APCO worked to develop and execute on a communications plan that involved collecting the timeline and facts around the breach from investigators, translating the series of events into patient and public facing communications materials and notifying impacted stakeholders in accordance with federal HIPAA regulations and timelines.
APCO supported the health system’s corporate communications team to generate carefully tailored messages to all involved audiences.
Since the breach was inflicted on third-party vendors and not the health system itself, APCO also provided counsel to the health system on how to strike the right balance between holding its contractors accountable, while also taking responsibility for its third-party vendors and its patients’ data.
APCO helped convey the action the health system was taking to support breach victims, protect unaffected patients and prevent similar situations in the future.
APCO’s support throughout the breach allowed for a successful implementation of the crisis communications plan, with limited long-term impact to the reputation of the health system.
By executing on a coordinated communications protocol in accordance with federal regulations and cyber-security best practices, APCO was able to illustrate that the health system did its due diligence in preparing for the breach and managing it in real-time.
Areas of expertise: Crisis preparation & response, litigation communication, issues management.