Crisis Experts Come Together to Offer Pro Bono Resource
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Crisis Experts Come Together to Offer Pro Bono Resource

Crisis management experts from several WPP agencies, polling firm MORI, and the Henley Management School have joined forces to create a resource for companies hit by the terrorist attacks on the United States.

Paul Holmes

LONDON, September 18—Crisis management experts from several WPP agencies, polling firm MORI, and the Henley Management School have joined forces to create a resource for companies hit by the terrorist attacks on the United States.
 
The group, called Working Through, has created a pro bono website that will provide information, data and research to assist people with responsibility for internal business communication; the beginnings of industry guidelines to help companies steer a course through the complex maze of personal and corporate issues; and a place to share feelings, responses and thoughts with other business communicators throughout the world.
 
The group is being led by Kevin Thomson, head of WPP’s MCA Banner McBride employee communications group and honorary professor at Birmingham Business School, and Professor John White, an advisor at Henley Management School and Stirling University. Other members of the steering committee include Andrew Laurence, vice chairman of Hill & Knowlton; Susan Walker, director of MORI; and Ogilvy Public Relations managing director Donna Zurcher.
 
“This attack on the economic symbol of the Twin Towers meant an attack on business and directly on their staff,” says the group in a statement. “There is a communication hill for every business to climb in the wake of this attack on the global economy. Companies have a responsibility to communicate with their staff and address the very real concerns and fears they have about their safety, their jobs, their role, their future and their lives in a world that may never be the same again.
 
“This will be ‘business not as usual.’ Things really have changed in a way we could never have imagined.”
 
The group’s website, at www.workingthrough.org, includes five information areas:
 

        Personal, which addresses questions such as who is involved, who is safe or injured, what do the conditions of heightened security mean for me, and how will people overcome the fears and post trauma stress?

        Business, which helps CEOs and other leaders communicate so that employees have a clear understanding of how the employer will respond to the crisis.

        Social/Cultural, which addresses the issues affecting companies with Arabic/Middle Eastern operations and how to handle talk of reprisals.

        Economic, which examines the economic variables over the longer term, from liquidity of assets to fluctuating markets and interest rates.

        Political, which focuses on the ramifications of the attack for global politics.

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