Crisis communication

Over the years, Hague has already assisted many organizations in crisis situations. Administrative conflicts, integrity issues, serious accidents, legal issues with reputational risk and collisions with ministers and parliament. Ours experience has taught us that there is no blueprint for crisis communication. Every crisis has its own unique character and requires its own approach.


There is one basic rule: do not panic. Hague brings peace in a hectic environment. We first look for the relevant facts and responsibilities. As the ‘outsider’, we ask the questions that the organization often does not ask itself. This information is the basis for clear core messages and Q & A’s, which can be adjusted as the crisis develops, and spread through media and social channels. Informing your employees and stakeholders is essential: after all, they are your ambassadors.

Hague Crisis Protocol

Hague Corporate Affairs has its own crisis protocol. When a situation tends to get out of control, it helps to hold on to a well-considered step-by-step procedure. Of course, every crisis is different. Only a standard procedure is far from sufficient to adequately defuse a crisis. We have very experienced people who offer customization services in crisis management. Call Hague Corporate Affairs: +31 (0) 70 – 240 0832.

Hauge’s Handbook for communication during a crisis

General starting points
In every crisis situation, it is of the upmost importance to be in control of the information flow surrounding the event. Often, the situation is already chaotic. Speculative, non-verified or contradicting information only adds to this confusion and makes it more difficult to make the right decisions.

It is crucial to get all the required information to the right actors on time and react as quickly as possible. Being prepared for a possible crisis greatly reduces the chance of preventable accidents. To this end, Hague Corporate Affairs developed a crisis template. Our aim is to turn crisis communication into reputation building.

The Information you provide has to make clear:

  • What exactly is going on
  • Who, within your organization was directly involved
  • How internal communication needs to function
  • How the outside world took notice or will take notice
  • How the outside world has reacted or will react
  • Who will communicate to the outside world, and how

When preparing for a crisis, Hague will identify what types of incidents could occur, within the following issue areas:

  • Safety
  • Health
  • Environment
  • Reputation
  • Direct external relationships
  • Financial

Communication protocols for various incidents
Next, we identify the scope and impact of the incident taking into account all possible outcomes. The scope and impact determine our communication strategy. It is essential to quickly identify which stakeholders are or could become involved and to what extent they are or could be affected.

After we identified the severity of the incident, Hague develops a strategy for each different possible outcome. We will visualize parts of the strategy, which will make it very easy to understand. Thanks to this approach, those responsible within the organization will know precisely what needs to be done. Obviously, that approach also guides the people of Hague through the process in a crisis situation quickly and efficiently.

Data, statements and Q&A’s
As part of the crisis preparation, relevant data on all stakeholders will be collected, including contact information in case of calamities. In addition, Hague will provide general statements that match the communication style of the organization. These can be used during Q&A’s in different situations.

How to evaluate a crisis
Almost everyone acknowledges the benefits and necessity of evaluating an important incident. Nonetheless, an evaluation is often skipped due to time constraints or other priorities. However, a crisis evaluation can help an organization tremendously. Analyzing both mistakes and successes made during a crisis provide valuable information to an organization. You have to recognize your wrongdoings, name them and take measures where necessary. The added value of a thorough elevation makes it worth the effort.

According to Hague, these 9 aspects are essential to a valuable evaluation:

  • Goal: what do we want to get out of this evaluation
  • Setting: who will participate, are all afflicted parties represented, who is in charge
  • Character: does everyone feel they can be truly honest, will people feel threatened by repercussions, is everyone heard
  • Atmosphere: do we provide a relaxed environment for the meeting, are we using the right methods
  • Knowledge: has everyone received all the relevant information, has the crises been properly analyzed (logbook)
  • Documenting: how do we document the lessons learned
  • Follow Up: who should follow up on the lessons learned (SMART)
  • Outcome: how will we monitor the next steps
  • End: is it clear to everyone when the crisis was over, did you celebrate a good ending