Can You Handle a Crisis?

Olivia Pope gif_ABC-iVillage

 (Credit:, ABC)

Suit up, gladiators—Scandal is back!

Like most people on this planet, I’m obsessed with ABC’s show Scandal. I’m a sucker for juicy storylines and plots that thicken with each passing minute. And as a public relations practitioner, I’m drawn to the show’s emphasis on crisis management.

In case you have been living under a rock for the past couple of years, let me give you a little background:

Olivia Pope is a lawyer and former White House aid who started her own firm, Pope & Associates. Her team specializes in crisis management, solving tough problems and working efficiently to get her clients out of some serious jams. By her words, she’s the best of the best and second to none when it comes to handling crises. She’ll clean up a mess and then walk away from it with her signature strut and say her signature line: “It’s handled.”

(Pope is a loose depiction of expert crisis manager Judy Smith, who served as George H. W. Bush’s Deputy Press Secretary and represented Monica Lewinsky during the mother of all scandals.) 

The general public and PR professionals alike enjoy watching Scandal because of its thrilling depiction of crisis management. They enjoy seeing how Olivia will deal with major incidents that threaten to harm her clients and their reputations.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, public relations is more than just crisis management. But it’s definitely an important and necessary aspect.

Corporations and businesses should have thorough plans in place for potential crises that may arise. Consider organizations like food and beverage industries, chemical plants, airlines or cruise lines (2013 Carnival Cruise Lines debacle, anyone?). All of these industries must consider any possible disaster scenarios, however unlikely. If disaster does strike, they need structured and defined procedures in order to resolve the issue. They’ve got to know who to call, what to say and what to do to handle media, communicate internally and maintain a level of trust with the public.

And that’s why having efficient public relations specialists in place is so important.

But for unforeseen situations (such as cases that Olivia Pope handles), it’s vital to be on your toes and think several steps ahead. Time is most certainly of the essence, so having a plan in place will help tremendously.

c21 has great experience helping clients during a crisis, but some of the best ways we help are by equipping clients to succeed when the unexpected happens. Media training helps company spokespeople feel ready to take questions, and we can also draft corporate crisis response plans.

Wine gif
(Credit:, ABC)

Scandal premieres tonight at 10 p.m., so tune in to watch Olivia Pope in action.
And be sure to keep a glass of wine nearby—the trailers have promised another season of twisty-turny goodness. Check out Mystic Wine Shoppe and get inspired!
Drink responsibly.

BK Headshot

Brittany Knox is the newest public relations intern here at c21. She is an alumna of Georgia State University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications. When she’s not sharpening her skills as a future PR maven, Brittany enjoys traveling, dancing, and dining around Atlanta.

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