Crisis Prevention


“Failure of organizations to anticipate and prevent potential crises is a rampant crisis of its own.”

Jonathan Bernstein

Crisis prevention costs are always a tiny fraction of the losses that are typically incurred as a result of crises for which there had been inadequate preparation. There have been many Bernstein Crisis Management clients that incurred millions of dollars in legal, operational and public relations/marketing costs that could have been avoided with adequate preparation.


Crisis prevention, at its best, is the organizational equivalent of a medical full body scan. Bernstein Crisis Management offers and has often been a pioneer in the delivery of crisis prevention activities designed not only to prepare clients for potential crises, but also to make them crisis-resistant. – A first-of-its-kind service a service designed to help prevent embarrassing, reputation-damaging and financially harmful crises featured in the news nearly every day. We offer clients a carefully selected cadre of experts with the experience, savvy and objectivity to provide brutally candid analysis and feedback that they need to hear. In-house or retained PR/marketing advisors are often reluctant or not expected to speak as freely as we can. Our sole mission is to look at marketing, advertising and PR programs before they’re launched and figure out what could go wrong.

Vulnerability Audits — A multi-disciplinary risk assessment to identify current and potential areas of operational weakness and system flaws that could lead to, or exacerbate, crises. The scope of a vulnerability audit can vary, depending on client preferences and needs. Some options include:

Crisis Document Audit — A simple review of existing client documents related to crisis preparedness and response, such as crisis communications plans, emergency response policies, disaster plans, etc. This low-cost, flat-rate audit includes creation of a written evaluation with recommendations for improvement.

Executive Session Vulnerability Audit — A single session in which the client’s executive team is led through a series of educational and thought-provoking discussions to uncover and begin to address organizational vulnerabilities that could escalate to crises. Upon completion, the consultant prepares a written report of findings and recommendations. The length and scope of an executive session vulnerability audit can be customized to best suit the client’s needs and resources.

Comprehensive Vulnerability Audit (in-person) — A series of interviews with employees at all levels of an organization, each conducted in complete confidence, so that the interviewee feels comfortable disclosing information he/she might not otherwise discuss. This is often complemented by interviews with representative members of key external audiences, and concludes with preparation and presentation of a comprehensive audit report to the senior management team.

Comprehensive Vulnerability Audit (survey-based) — The same process as with an in-person audit, but, with a time and significantly cost-saving front-end involving questions delivered via an online survey platform. Still completely confidential, while allowing participants to respond on their own schedule – to include being able to save and return to the survey – and even allowing if/then direction of respondents to certain categories of questions based on their positions/access to different types of information. A demo is available on request.

Length of time and cost required varies considerably depending on the size of the organization.


Crisis Communications Plans — Based on some level of vulnerability audit, creation of a response structure and written plan that will guide and optimize reaction to future crises. This includes ensuring there is close coordination between the teams involved in the operational and communications aspects of crisis response.

Disaster/Incident Response Planning and Training — Also based on a vulnerability audit, ensuring an organization is prepared for the operational response to a crisis, complementing its crisis communications planning.

Senior- and Mid-Level Staff Training About Crisis Management Fundamentals and Best Practices — Prevention and/or response, from one-hour luncheon presentationto multi-day sessions.

Media Training — Comprehensive instruction and practice on camera, enhancing spokespersons’ abilities to optimize results from both “good news” and crisis-related interviews. More details on media training are provided later in this description of services.