In response to increased interest and requests from Sri Lanka’s corporate sector for professional expertise in being trained and prepared to handle crises, Bates Strategic Alliance’s PR arm Strategic Alliance PR has reached out to their Burson-Marsteller network to enhance their own unmatched local experience with collaboration from Genesis Burson-Marsteller, India’s leading public relations and public affairs consultancy.

Sheena Sharma, Lead Trainer in issues and crisis preparedness and Chief Officer of Genesis Burson-Marsteller’s media training arm was invited by Strategic Alliance PR, Exclusive Affiliate of global PR giant Burson-Marsteller, to address key local corporates on being prepared for crises and how to manage it through successful communications.

Attending the event were Board Directors, CEOs and Senior Management from some of Sri Lanka’s leading corporates, who have perceived the importance of crisis preparedness and the need to equip their senior management with suitable know-how and media communications. Recent local business scenarios have demonstrated in stark clarity the cost of damage from inadequately handled issues and crises to a corporate reputation.

Few circumstances test a company’s reputation or competency as severely as a crisis. Regardless of a company’s size, reputation or industry, corporate crises cause immense pressure threatening a company’s reputation and its ability to conduct business.

Therefore, a coordinated approach to crisis management and preparedness can help an organization towards an effective, well-managed crisis response retaining a favorable impression and renewed confidence in the company.

“Crises are being reported in the mainstream press with citizen responses shared virally on social media on a daily basis and at times against the most revered brands. The social media kick-in is fast and furious and the shelf life of a crisis has changed from just a few days and to now weeks and months,” Sharma said.

Addressing the gathering, Nimal Gunewardena, Chairman and CEO Bates Strategic Alliance and Strategic Alliance PR, Exclusive Affiliate of global PR giant Burson-Marsteller, Nimal Gunewardena said, “In today’s context, where companies are mandated and watched on by the public and media alike to operate with high customer care, ethical standards and social and environmental sensitivity, these are tested critically in the ‘moments of truth’ when a crisis occurs. This is what makes crisis preparedness a mandatory requirement for companies, in determining the best course of action to take in crisis situations and handling these well to ensure effective damage control and swift recovery to prove their bona fides come out of it favourably.”