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Global Crisis Centre: Crisis management and response

Working together to emerge stronger

A crisis situation can disrupt operations, damage reputations, destroy shareholder value, and trigger other threats. As the business community has learned through the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever for leaders to anticipate and plan for the possibility of an unplanned event. The more prepared you are to manage shocks, the less likely you’ll fall victim to the serious harm a crisis has the potential to inflict.

PwC’s Global Crisis Survey 2021

How has your organisation fared during the COVID-19 pandemic? Share your experience in PwC's Global Crisis Survey 2021, an after-action assessment of the business community's response to the crisis. You'll receive an immediate personalised benchmark report comparing your experience with your peers' — to help you learn, take action, build resilience, and emerge stronger.

Take the Global Crisis Survey

City in haze

Defining a crisis

As the world becomes more complex and connected, the threat of a corporate crisis grows. There are instances everywhere: a pandemic spreads worldwide, causing massive global business disruption and a public health disaster; a corruption scandal causes a corporate leader to step down; a data breach shakes customer confidence; quality issues trigger a widespread product recall. These are just a few examples among many.

Organisations face challenges that present varying levels of severity. But handled poorly, even a seemingly minor shock has the potential to escalate into a crisis that threatens the viability of a business.

There are different types of crises, and they can arise anywhere, anytime, for a myriad of reasons. Usually triggered by significant internal or external factors, every crisis has the potential to:

  • Cause enterprise-wide, multi-functional impacts
  • Disrupt normal business operations
  • Inflict reputational damage

All of this means the effect of a corporate crisis can be catastrophic — to brands, people, and the bottom line.

Respond to crisis and beyond 

It's not a matter of whether a crisis will hit. It's a matter of when.

In 2019, 95% of respondents to our Global Crisis Survey told us they expected to experience a crisis in the next two years.

Then COVID-19 emerged, spreading across the globe, disrupting health and business in a way the world has not seen in a century.

PwC has learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and other crises that the way business leaders prepare and respond to disruptive events can determine how well they recover and, ultimately, their ability to emerge stronger.

It's important for companies to take swift control of the crisis by mobilising a crisis response plan, stabilising business operations, and strategising for the future. PwC's Global Crisis Centre can support you through these critical waves of response and assemble multidisciplinary specialists across the PwC network to help you emerge stronger.

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Kristin Rivera, PwC's Global Crisis Centre Leader, discusses how we have helped organisations respond to the impacts of COVID-19. | Duration - 01:11

How does your business respond when crisis becomes the new normal?

A well-run business should have a crisis plan, and many will have a specific pandemic plan. But nothing tests theory quite like reality.

When crisis strikes, a three-wave response will help you regain your footing — and emerge stronger, more resilient, and prepared for the next crisis.

A dedicated crisis management team to lead the response

As COVID-19 evolved, many organisations spent the first several weeks reviewing crisis plans, business continuity plans and programs, and establishing crisis command centres. As businesses continue to respond, our crisis management process can help you navigate the uncertainty.

PwC’s global team has extensive knowledge and experience in all aspects of crisis management — from a crisis project management office (PMO) to insights and scenario planning, to timely and targeted crisis communications.

Identifying insights for opportunities in the new normal

The role of crisis management and its programs does not disappear in the stabilise wave of the three-wave crisis model. With this support, business leaders can win back one of their most vital commodities: the space to think and make the right decisions with confidence.

Having a crisis command centre is essential to manage logistical and strategic challenges and provide up-to-date, fact-based information to senior leadership and all employees. It will be the role of the crisis command centre to ensure all stakeholders, from customers and suppliers to the board, are informed about decisions. If you already have a crisis command centre in place, now is a good time to assess its pain points and make adjustments as needed.

Our crisis management solutions can help you maintain control of the various aspects of your crisis response. You’ll be prepared to tackle crises with confidence and clarity, and you will emerge stronger.

Emerge stronger from a crisis, transformed for the better

There should always be an eye to the future.

After you've successfully mobilised and stabilised, it's time to strategise for the long-term.

The first step is to revisit your crisis response, identifying lessons learned and opportunities for improvement. And the next step is to invest in strengthening your response capabilities — so you're prepared for future events.

Our crisis management team can work with you to assess your preparedness level and identify your long-term goals. We'll help you strategise to emerge from the crisis stronger than before.

In the wake of any crisis, the most successful organisations are those that invested in learning lessons, implementing changes, and leveraging opportunities.

A global leader makes all the difference

A crisis can be catastrophic to your business — or it can reveal the strength, quality, and resilience of your organisation. Critically, the time to manage a crisis is before it hits. But if you've never weathered the chaos of a serious disruption, how do you prepare? In the thick of your response, how do you know your strategy is working effectively? And how can you be confident in your ability to turn crisis into opportunity?

That's where working with a global leader in crisis management makes all the difference.

Experience: Bringing ours — and enhancing yours​
From corporate scandals to cyber breaches to pandemics, we bring enormous breadth and depth of experience to help clients prepare for and respond to crises. Our team of specialists across the globe knows what works, and we refine our approach continuously to meet the needs of your business and the changing nature of crisis. We apply that battle-tested experience to strengthen your response and help you emerge stronger.

Coordination and operations: Crisis planning is more than messaging
Seamless coordination and efficient operations are the factors that drive success — for your crisis response, and for your ability to run your business throughout the crisis. Our solutions help you focus on the critical elements of coordination and operations, enabling you to prepare and respond in a holistic manner grounded in facts.

A data-driven, technology-enabled approach to crisis
Our innovative tools can help you identify blind spots that could obscure a wider perspective and hamper your response. And our tools can act as a vital early-warning system — in the crucial first minutes of a crisis when quick action could forestall long-lasting consequences. These tools will help to reveal gaps in your preparation and response, and potentially turn unwelcome surprises into strategic opportunities.

A holistic crisis program based on crisis-tested methodologies
The adaptable framework of our holistic crisis management program means you can scale it to any type of incident. We deploy innovative, tested methodologies, drawn from our experience and enriched by data on crisis-management scenarios. With PwC, you’ll be able to anticipate and respond to the challenges and opportunities of unexpected events — and emerge stronger.


Contact PwC's Global Crisis Centre

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Kristin  Rivera

Kristin Rivera

Global Forensics Leader, PwC United States

Melanie Butler

Melanie Butler

Partner, UK Territory Crisis Leader, PwC United Kingdom

Dave Stainback

Dave Stainback

Principal, US Territory Crisis Leader, PwC United States