Blog PostsPR 101 for Cannabis

Crisis Management 101: Be Prepared!

A crisis is any situation or event that threatens the integrity or reputation of your company.

Even when you cross your t’s and dot your i’s, how you handle a crisis can impact the very survival of your business.  Crisis management requires swift, strategic communications, both within the company and to outside audiences. While crises are most newsworthy in the first 24-48 hours, the media coverage can sharply alter the public’s perception of a company indefinitely.

The cannabis industry continues to be in the spotlight, and every hiccup is scrutinized. Before you experience a crisis, consider what challenges you might face as your canna business grows.

  • Product recall
  • Management misbehavior or scandal
  • Major technology failure/downtime
  • Unexpected bad financial news

Why should a cannabis-focused company undertake crisis communications planning?

  1. A crisis almost always draws media attention, especially in a new and closely watched industry.
  2. A crisis may result in a lawsuit against the company.
  3. A crisis can create ill will towards your company.

By carefully crafting a crisis communications response to the most likely possible crisis scenarios, you can shape the story and quickly control the message.  A successful crisis response will positively impact public perception of your company and leadership, even in the face of potentially negative news.

This is especially true in the cannabis industry, where customer health, safety, and well-being are often tied directly to consumption of cannabis products. Responding quickly and strategically ensures that you will:

  1. Protect the reputation of your company and brand
  2. Establish your company in the media as a company that lives up to its values
  3. Maintain customer goodwill
  4. Reinforce strong relationships with employees, community, and partners
  5. Protect your own personal reputation

The most successful leaders have enough self-awareness to understand the likely crises their company might face.  Be prepared for any appropriate crisis. Respond in a timely, confident, reasoned, and thoughtful manner.  Crises are never out of the realm of possibility, so every cannabis company needs a solid game plan in hand.

Heidi Groshelle is a partner at Ingrid Marketing, with more than 35 years of PR experience. Her team recently won an Hermes Platinum Award. You can reach Heidi at