Crisis Management 3.0: Between robots and big data, what’s left for humans?

I like to spread the idea that robots will soon be able to manage corporate crises thanks to big data, metadata, IT improvement such as blockchain and artificial intelligence, and especially to deep learning. It always blows public relations professionals and managers away! But the fundamental question persists: What will remain for humans in crisis management when robots take over?

Understanding crisis management differently
This Tuesday May 15, I will be speaking on the crisis management new challenges before the Montreal Chamber of Commerce (CCMM). This is a unique opportunity for SME executives and public relations managers to understand the implications of IT improvement in business communication and discover new tools for crisis management.

The crises 3.0 appeared chronologically after the crises 1.0 and 2.0. The evolution model of crisis management that I will be proposing for the first time before the CCMM, generally follows the marketing evolution model and the WWW one. My model is strategically adapted to the distinct environment of crisis management and halfway between practice and applied research.

gestion de crise

What is Crisis Management 3.0?

Companies are operating into a high-speed era as the rapid spread of information, rumours, and fake news on social networks increases the risk of major organizational crises. To face this new reality, business managers must now adopt new tactics of crisis management, new IT tools, and adapt very quickly to any eventuality to protect the reputation of their organization. Big data and artificial intelligence turn out to be valuable allies.

For example, in a recent PwC/Harvard study, 65% of CEOs admitted to having experienced a crisis in the last three years and 73% said they thought their company would face at least one crisis in the next three years . These figures reflect the uncertainty climate experienced by business leaders in recent years. Add to this climate of uncertainty a lack of knowledge about recent technological changes so that managers face a great deal of stress. According to a recent study in Reputation Today and Forbes, public relations and crisis management would be the sixth most stressful job after being a police officer, pilot, firefighter, and military.

Have you missed Crisis Management 1.0 and 2.0?
No, you haven’t missed anything! In fact, you may have experienced crisis management 1.0 and 2.0 without naming the concepts. Crisis management 3.0 is an update of version 2.0 (based on web 2.0, which is associated to social networks and participative internet) and 1.0 (behaviour oriented, where the manager practices in empathy, transparency and emotional intelligence). This model is adapted to technological changes and other aspects related to business operations. While focusing on the crisis manager and his/her team, it integrates big data and AI. It also focuses on listening to all decisive factors such as societal and environmental values, stakeholders and the exchange between these factors and organisations.

Do the new tools help lower the managers’ stress?
More than ever, managers are facing an increasingly fast-paced way of professional life, where technological tools confine them to 24/7 availability where work comes first. Studies confirm, managers and PR managers have never been so stressed on an ongoing basis. The answer is yes, the new tools help reduce managers’ stress during corporate crises.

Why SME managers should be interested in crises 3.0
We often hear the inaccurate statement: “Big data is for big international companies and it only affects social networks”. Big data, metadata, artificial intelligence and deep learning concern many business units, if not the whole organisation, especially business communication and marketing. Crisis management 3.0 includes an important crisis preparation component and this stage is also very useful to the business communication strategy. Although the jump is sometimes considered expensive in time and money, the return on investment is easily demonstrable.

Next step for you
You want to understand what is crisis management 3.0 and its implications for your organizational strategy. You would like to speak with a crisis management specialist about technological changes. You want to know more about crisis 3.0 readiness. Come to the Montreal Chamber conference this Tuesday or send me a message.


CS&A International accueille deux nouveaux associés au Canada


Montréal, Québec – 20 octobre 2017

CS&A International accueille
deux nouveaux associés au Canada

Stéphane Prud’homme devient responsable de CS&A au Québec

CS&A International (« CS&A ») annonce que monsieur Carl Mavromichalis (Toronto) et monsieur Stéphane Prud’homme (Montréal), directeur de Réputation & cie, se joignent à son équipe à titre d’associés au Canada. Depuis 1991, CS&A opère ses activités à l’échelle internationale dans le domaine de la gestion des risques, des crises et de la continuité des affaires. CS&A a travaillé avec succès avec des entreprises canadiennes sans toutefois avoir d’associés établis au Canada. Avec deux associés expérimentés basés à Montréal et à Toronto, CS&A sera en mesure de grandement développer le marché canadien en français et en anglais pour ainsi offrir des services professionnels de pointe aux entreprises canadiennes.

« Je souhaite la bienvenue à messieurs Mavromichalis et Prud’homme au sein de notre équipe mondiale. Ils sont des atouts pour CS&A pour développer le marché canadien », a déclaré madame Caroline Sapriel, associée directrice de CS&A International. « Avec ces deux professionnels chevronnés qui collaborent avec nous au Canada, CS&A est maintenant en mesure de contribuer au succès et à la bonne gestion des entreprises canadiennes en termes de gestion des risques, des crises et de la continuité des affaires ».

À propos de Stéphane Prud’homme
Stéphane Prud’homme a plus de 20 ans d’expérience au Canada, en Chine et en Asie du Sud-Est, tant avec de grandes entreprises canadiennes qu’avec des agences internationales dans les domaines de la gestion des crises et des communications d’urgence, de la gestion de réputation et de la crédibilité. Il opère maintenant l’entreprise Réputation et cie depuis Montréal. Monsieur Prud’homme est titulaire d’une maîtrise en communication organisationnelle avec un mémoire sur la crédibilité des porte-parole en situation de crise. Il est également titulaire d’un MBA de la distinguée université américaine Rutgers, obtenu en Chine. Maintenant basé à Montréal après neuf ans en Asie, il est doctorant et il travaille sur une recherche sur la crédibilité et la réputation des entrepreneurs et des PDG. Il est possible de visiter sa page LinkedIn à et son site internet à

À propos de CS&A International
Créée en 1991, CS&A International est un pionnier et un leader reconnu dans le domaine de la gestion des risques, des crises et de la continuité des affaires. CS&A dessert des clients locaux et multinationaux dans tous les secteurs d’activité à l’échelle mondiale à partir d’endroits géographiques clés en Europe, en Asie et en Amérique du Nord.

English version of the press release:

Pour plus d’information :

Stéphane Prud’homme
C : 514 756-9044  |

Caroline Sapriel
Associée directrice, CS&A International
+32 486 51 05 26

Revisiting a powerful corporate asset: Credibility

Here is why a corporation should invest in building credibility

We often hear about corporate trust, corporate reputation or leadership but rarely about source and corporate credibility. Experts frequently try to convince corporate professionals and spokespersons to follow rules and tips, or a 10-step process to improve their credibility. Or even worst, how many times did you hear that a spokesperson needs only expertise and charisma to be credible?

It is actually a wrong understanding of this fundamental skill and powerful intangible asset that is credibility. Based on a research realized in the early 2000 (now under review by its author), it is impossible to build and maintain credibility through a 10-step miracle process sold by charlatans, credibility lives and dies within an open system (Prud’homme, 2004).

Credibility as an open system

Contrarily to a close system, an open system lives through constant interactions between its internal and external elements, this is what Ludwig von Bertalanffy called negentropy in 1968 through his General System Theory. He defined an open system “as a system in exchange of matter with its environment, presenting import and export, building-up and breaking-down of its material components” (von Bertalanffy in A detail important to remember is that

A central topic of systems theory is self-regulating systems, i.e. systems self-correcting through feedback (Wikipedia).

In the following figure, it is possible to see the typical spokesperson’s credibility system with a general view as well as the five elements and the different interactions between them.


These five elements, individually or all together, could have major impacts on a spokesperson’s credibility, whether it is a communication dramatic situation, e.g. a crisis, powerful stakeholders attacking the corporation’s reputation, messages not adapted to a situation, bad communication strategy associated to a wrong public targeting tactic, all that might lead to a disaster in terms of losing credibility, especially in a crisis situation, during which everything is accelerated, as we all know.

Once practitioners and leaders understand credibility as an open system, they can start to appreciate the system’s elements and the interactions between them as well as the factors that structure and build corporate spokesperson’s credibility.

Credibility factors

In the same study (Prud’homme, 2004), it has been found that ten credibility factors/components influence the population to judge a spokesperson credible or not, because at all times a spokesperson is credible only in people’s mind, his/her audience.

As you can see in the following table, the top-10 factors are common sense. But what was new in this research is how to integrate these factors to a credibility system and how to build and maintain (and even regain) credibility.


As it is possible to see in the right column of the table, a spokesperson can control almost all of them, except charisma. Some scholars say that some leaders are able to develop charisma, it is true indeed, but it is harder to develop charisma than exercising control on the other factors.

The intimate relationship between a spokesperson and his/her credibility

Credibility is not only related to influence and persuasion, but also to the act of informing, communicating, having a dialog with an audience, receiving feedback. That is to create and maintain a relationship of trust and sharing between a spokesperson or a corporation and their publics and stakeholders.

We must understand that credibility exists only in function of a reflection or a perception, it does not exist by itself, it starts in the mind of every member of an audience. A spokesperson is not credible because he/she thinks that he/she is credible, it is only how the audience perceives his/her credibility.

Members of an audience must have confidence in him/her and must have the feeling of being respected. (Prud’homme, 2004)

Credibility does not equal effectiveness. A credible spokesperson sincerely wishes to establish and maintain a relationship of trust and mutual understanding with his/her publics rather than being effective. I mentioned “dialog” because credibility is a two-way symmetrical communication (Grunig and Hunt, 1984). A credible spokesperson always demonstrates a great flexibility and a mindset of openness along with a constant authenticity.

To be credible, a spokesperson should know his strengths and weaknesses, because above all, he/she is a human being in a complex and uncertain environment (Prud’homme, 2004).

Finally, we must understand that credibility is built, managed and can be strengthened, but never won (Prud’homme, 2004) and that anyone should avoid at all costs to perform miracle recipes such as: “10 steps to become an effective spokesperson” coming from public speaking best-seller handbooks.

Credibility is lived day by day. It is a lifestyle one chooses to live or not. Credibility reinforcement is an arduous and long-term approach that positively contributes to build trust and reputation as well as a sharing and constructive dialog between a spokesperson and the population.

Credibility before trust and leadership

A fact that so many practitioners and leaders forget is the primacy that credibility has over trust and leadership. It should be easy to figure that if there is no credibility, there is no trust, no leadership. Therefore, trust and leadership should be considered as credibility’s crucial elements.

It is especially true in crisis management. How a spokesperson and a corporation could be trustworthy and recognized as a leader, two major considerations in crisis management, if there are not credible?

Why a corporation should invest to build credibility?

Managers who do not believe that they should seriously prepare for possible crisis to arise are not able to answer this question and they probably already stopped reading this blog anyways.

Credibility brings not only an impressive return on investment (ROI) to corporations in terms of two-way symmetrical communication and a powerful and long-term relationship with all stakeholders, but it can also save corporations from a disaster originated through a crisis or even solve it. It also contributes to reduce uncertainty.

The only constraint when a corporation decides to work on its credibility is the time, and in business, time is cash. People do not realize how long it could be to build a credibility sound enough to help them to get out of a crisis situation or to build a relationship with stakeholders. We often say that it takes years to build credibility and it takes hours to lose, and it is so true. On the long run though, it is worth to invest time as well as above-the-line, below-the-line and through-the-line capital.

Why your publics and your stakeholders should listen to you when you try communicating about a crisis or an issue if they do not believe you at first?


Stephane Prud’homme, MA, i.e.MBA, PhD Candidate  |
All Rights Reserved – 2015

Keywords: Credibility, source credibility, corporate credibility, spokesperson, trust, reputation, crisis, crisis management, uncertainty, return on investment, ROI, two-way symmetrical communication, management, leadership.

PR are a way more than saving millions in adverstising!

My note to Sir Richard Branson (with all my respect) and to all the managers around the world who think that PR exist only to save money in adverstising.

I read earlier today a quote of Sir Richard Branson. I have so much admiration for this great manager, like millions of people in the world.

But when Sir Branson says that Public Relations save millions in adversiting, I just cannot stay relaxed, sitting on my chair, and say nothing!

“The head of PR is perhaps one of the most important people in a company and a good chairman will have them by their side. They are critical for managing the brand and save millions in advertising; people talking about your company is much more important than anything.” — Sir Richard Branson in

Do I have to remind managers who attended prestigeous business schools around the world that PR are a way more than saving millions in advertising!!

In fact, PR are crucial to an organization, to any organizations. Crucial to manage relationship between an organization and its stakeholders, to create and maintain a long-term dialogue, a two-way symmetrical communication. An organization cannot live without communicating with its customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders, reporters, with all its stakeholders.

Two-way symmetrical communication : “Uses communication to negotiate with the public, resolve conflict and promote mutual understanding and respect between the organization and its stakeholders.”

Communication & relationship are natural, human. Marketing & advertising have been invented by companies to sell products.

If all managers could understand how two-way symmetrical communciation can lift long-term relationship, communication, and revenues up; that PR are more than saving money in adverstising;  that PR professionals have the ability to lead content, in good times as well as in crisis; that a mix of PR and marketing is THE key to growth, long-term growth; companies around the world could just be managed in a better way.