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  • Writer's pictureKatherine Merry

What are the types of crises?

What are the most common crises?

The most common crises in business include natural disasters/weather, personnel issues, injuries and breeches. Different types of crises could be …


  • Fire

  • Explosion

  • Chemical spill or release

  • Jobsite accident

  • Groundwater contamination

  • Crisis at adjacent facility

  • Natural disaster

  • Product or service failure

  • Terrorism

  • Personnel-related incident

  • Layoffs

  • Office closing

  • Transportation accident

  • News event related to employee

  • And the crisis we are now all too familiar with … a pandemic


The nature of crisis management is to expect the unexpected by preparing for all of these potential scenarios. The purpose of a crisis communication plan is to be prepared for any possible scenario so that when it may occur, your organization is ready. A crisis communication plan will provide the guidelines for dealing with an emergency, including the necessary steps to take in the days, weeks, months and even years following the event.


Types of crises in business

(… and how a crisis communication plan can help!)


We are living in a time of uncertainty with crisis situations seeming to occur almost daily. As discussed, there are several types of crisis in business, from a pandemic and extreme weather occurrences to cyberattacks and more. The inevitability that a crisis will affect your organization is more likely than ever before. In addition, today’s crises are very different than those even a few years ago. They escalate faster, likely have a broader impact and elicit more extreme reactions and demands for real and immediate action.

Let’s examine a few examples of crisis situations from AOE clients … and how AOE’s crisis communication experts were able to formulate crisis communication plans that helped diffuse the situations!


An on-the-job injury

Tragically, an accident at a job site was fatal for an employee. There was an immediate need for communication to various groups associated with the organization, and that communication needed to be compassionate, yet clear. AOE was able to help the organization formulate varying statements for their different audiences based on what they needed to know. Additionally, we helped them update their safety regulation language to the appropriate channels so that employees were aware of the new precautions.


Averting a crisis

Our client knew they would need help convincing a reluctant audience that a proposed construction project was the right move for the city. We partnered with them to create a strategy to communicate with the public, focusing on community engagement and transparency from the beginning.


Employee misconduct online

When our client noticed recurring issues with what their employees were posting on social media while off-the-clock, we worked with them to establish new guidelines and social media policies, and distribute the communication to their employees.


Harassment allegations

Safety and respect are priorities at AOE, and we are proud to say that our clients are on the same page. We partnered with an association to develop language for additions to their Code of Conduct, addressing their company’s sexual harassment policy to include updates specifically describing expectations around special events like conferences. Improved language tailored to the association’s concerns showed their dedication to the seriousness of the issue.


What are the defining components of a crisis?

There are several defining components of a crisis. A crisis is a sudden and unexpected disruption that …

  • Interrupts normal operations

  • Requires an immediate, coordinated management response

  • Is likely to require decision-making actions at the highest level of the company

  • Involves notifying agencies, neighborhoods and/or other outside parties

  • Has the potential to attract extensive news media and public attention to the company


Research shows that 95 percent of crisis are predictable, and 40 percent of companies will not survive a disaster. However, the majority of crises start out as smoldering issues, and with the proper crisis planning process and tools in place, they can stay an issue in most cases and not elevate to a full-blown crisis.


AOE has decades of experience in crisis management, helping organizations plan for the “what if” scenarios and creating a culture that ensure successful operations and communication during a crisis, which mitigates risk and brand exposure. From crisis strategic planning and issues audits, to media training and more, AOE is the trusted and proven resource – no matter the issue. Contact us today to learn more about our services and expertise.

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