Crisis Management in the Real World

Jonathan Bernstein crisis communication, crisis management, Crisis Prevention, Crisis Response, PR, public relations, reputation management Leave a Comment

Fictional story prompts real talk

A new movie, “Margin Call,” seeks to give audiences a glimpse into the world of fast paced, high level crisis management. While it misses the mark in terms of reality, Forbes business writer Coeli Carr saw the film as a perfect opportunity to talk with BCM president Jonathan Bernstein about coping with crisis.

In the interview, BCM president Jonathan Bernstein gave three situations that call for immediate crisis management:

  1. When the crisis seriously threatens your reputation. “Your company’s reputation is its most valuable asset, and the court of public opinion can literally dismantle a business,” says Bernstein, noting the classic example of Arthur Andersen, the accounting firm that counted Enron as a client. “Andersen’s reputation was damaged not just because of what they had done, but because of poor communication and refusing to acknowledge anyone working for them could make a mistake.”


  • When the crisis can cause dramatic harm to your bottom line. The impact on your financial situation can lead to interruption of your business operations. 
  • When the crisis affects day-to-day business operations, which means you can no longer serve your clients. “If your customers perceive inconsiderate or unethical behavior, they’ll bail on you,” says Bernstein, noting the recent Netflix debacle.


Jonathan’s new book, “Managers Guide to Crisis Management” (McGraw-Jill, 2011) seeks to give managers (or aspiring managers!) a leg up on the often-daunting tasks associated with crisis prevention, response, and management in today’s rapid fire business climate.

The BCM Blogging Team

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