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A New Way to Evaluate Crisis Impact

When responding to a PR event that could affect your company’s reputation, its critical to ask the question, “how much personal impact does this event have on my audience?” Determining the scale and severity of your situation is crucial to drafting a response that effectively empathizes with your audience. The more impact an event has, the more empathy is required in your response. Too little, and your response could sound cold and out of touch. Over-empathizing can come across as disingenuous.

Assigning the correct impact level is often incredibly difficult, especially when you’re in the heat of a crisis.

The new
Personal Impact page makes this process more accurate, repeatable, and intuitive. By splitting impact into 5 factors, it becomes easier to be objective about the impact of the situation you’re facing.

Certainty: has the crisis in question already happened (ex: a data breach), or is the issue that there is risk of harm (ex: a data vulnerability has been discovered, but no breach has taken place)

Tangibility: virality increases the impact of any crisis. Is there visual evidence of the event taking place (ex: a viral video) or significant social media attention around the issue?

Severity: Has harm occurred? Have people, animals, or the environment been affected in any way?

Proximity: Are the allegations of harm located directly in a consumer market?

Agency: How responsible for this situation does the public view the company? Was this an unavoidable accident, or something that the public sees the company as directly responsible for?
impact sliders
3 additional factors can also increase the impact of a scenario: has the company faced a similar crisis in the past, or does the situation affect children or protected groups? If so, even more empathy will be necessary in your response.

Your inputs to these questions are combined to generate an impact score, which can be used to compare impact between crises, and more objectively evaluate the breadth and severity of any potential situation.