By Steve Burns
Managing Director, Public Affairs
As we approached the end of last year, 2023 was shaping up for many of us to be another problematic cycle around the sun. Although signs were emerging that we might see the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel for the first time since 2020, we were bracing for what might become a significant economic downturn. The country remained as politically divided as ever. In addition, the war in Ukraine showed no sign of abating. China signaled its intent to play a much more significant role in global military and economic leadership, leading to an astonishing announcement by Apple, Inc. in December that it would no longer be producing iPhones there.
And as we now approach the first quarter mark of 2023, we realize that all these predictions may come true. This may indeed be a year for the record books.
The economy is stagnant, and massive layoffs have begun, especially in technology. Consumer spending and confidence are low; prices and inflation remain stubbornly high. Sabers are still rattling among the great powers. Even the weather appears to be competing for its year of infamy. While atmospheric rivers in the West are only made better by their potentially positive impact on years of drought, the evidence of a changing climate can no longer be challenged or ignored.
How can organizations focus on their core missions and continue to operate in this challenging time? How can companies anticipate rapidly changing societal norms and expectations, not the least because their employees demand that they do? How can evolving focus areas for investors—especially in the ESG arena—be folded into strategic plans and annual business goals?
Some companies and institutions appear to navigate these complexities better than others. What is it that sets these companies apart when managing a crisis? We believe that some companies have a better appreciation of good crisis hygiene – those practices that build reputational resilience and help leaders get back to business with less adverse impact.
That is what we do at Summit Strategy Group. We bring decades of experience to our clients, much of it gained in policy, politics, and communications. We understand the dynamics of reputational resilience and help our partners evaluate and improve their crisis hygiene.
In future editions of the Summit Views newsletter, we will closely examine the components of good crisis hygiene. We look forward to helping organizations navigate these turbulent times and providing insights on how they can effectively manage crises to protect their reputations and achieve their core missions. We will delve into topics such as crisis preparedness, stakeholder communications, employee engagement, and strategic planning in the context of rapidly changing societal norms and expectations. As we continue to witness unprecedented global challenges, proactive crisis management and reputational resilience are critical for organizations to thrive in today's complex environment. Stay tuned for valuable insights and practical strategies in the upcoming editions of this newsletter as we work together to overcome the obstacles and uncertainties of 2023 and beyond.