Crisis

The 2023 Crisis Sector in Review 

Our senior executive team at Issues Management Group (IMG) specializes in guiding clients through difficult situations to achieve the best possible outcome. We recently sat down with Anna Rabin, a Vice President here at IMG and a leader on our crisis communication team, to look back on our crisis work in 2023. Anna offered her thoughts on the past year, and some advice for the year ahead. 

Q: What is your role on the IMG crisis team?  

Rabin: Crisis communications is at the center of a lot of what we do at IMG and teaches valuables skills that are applicable across clients, sectors, and everyday life. 

After 11 years at the firm, I now work closely with executive leadership to help manage a variety of crisis situations across the real estate, construction, and higher education sectors. This includes providing strategic counsel as issues arise; drafting messaging and statements for key audiences, including media; working with companies on their crisis communications plans; and helping to facilitate tabletop exercises with firms to prepare them for scenarios that could arise.

Q: What was the crisis sector like at IMG this year? 

Rabin: The most consistent thing about crisis communications is that it is always inconsistent, and you never quite know what is going to happen throughout the year. Any time there are larger global or social issues, many of our existing clients come to us to help guide them and effectively manage their own stakeholders. These circumstances also cause many other organizations to call us out of the blue due to help them navigate through these unforeseen events. 

The past few years our crisis communications team has been incredibly busy, and 2023 was no different. Over the past 12 months we have helped guide our clients through economic issues, leadership transitions, lawsuits, misconduct allegations, and major organizational changes. Of course, over the past three months, large scale global and national issues have been at the forefront, and the IMG team has worked with organizations across sectors in response to the current war in Gaza, and the widespread protests that have unfolded throughout America.

Q: How was communication essential for dealing with crisis this year? 

Rabin: 2023 once again demonstrated the power of effective communication, or, on the flip side, how damaging poor communication can be to an organization’s reputation. University presidents have certainly learned this lesson in the wake of the Hamas attacks, and countless other companies and organizations have been forced to think more strategically about what they should say, when they should say it, and who they should say it to. 

For example, if you are creating a social media post in reference to a day of observance or a social issue, talk about what you are doing to show you care versus merely providing a vague statement of support. Action is important, and being performative can have a negative impact on a company’s image. Stakeholders value tangible action, and companies are held more accountable now as their audiences consider if their words are authentic or just for show. 

Q: What suggestions do you have when it comes to dealing with crises? 

Rabin: Never speak just for the sake of speaking. You should always think deeply about what you want to say, why you are saying it, and whether you have the action to back up your words.

For example, if you are creating a social media post in reference to a day of observance or a social issue, talk about what you are doing to show you care versus merely providing a vague statement of support. Action is important, and being performative can have a negative impact on a company’s image. Stakeholders value tangible action, and companies are held more accountable now as their audiences consider if their words are authentic or just for show. 

Q: Do you have any predictions for what some of the key issues will be in the crisis sector in 2024?

Rabin: 2024 is going to be an intense year, and one that we will be watching closely for several issues. Of course, the ongoing war in Gaza will continue to have ripple effects across the globe, and the disturbing rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia will put certain organizations in the spotlight if they should be responding and do not, or do not respond clearly and adequately. The 2024 election in the U.S. will dominate every news cycle next year and draw strong reactions across the country. The continued economic uncertainty, particularly in real estate, is ripe with peril. And the rapid rise of A.I. could potentially unleash any number of issues we cannot even anticipate yet. 

No matter what happens, the IMG team is ready for 2024 and prepared to jump in to provide our clients with valuable partnership and support as needed.  

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