Crisis Comms – National Transport Provider

Crisis Comms: Objectives

The North West region of a major public transport provider was hit with unprecedented and potentially damaging strike action – Smoking Gun were briefed to manage crisis comms and to:

  • Help the business’ voice to be heard amongst the noise made by the Unions
  • Lessen negative sentiment during an extremely challenging time 
  • Report on media coverage every day to the senior people within the business to make sure they could keep ahead of developments as they happened 

Crisis Comms: Strategy & Plan

Smoking Gun effectively ran an extremely very fast paced crisis comms and issues press office over a number of weeks that included:

  • Daily media and social media monitoring and reporting including sentiment tracking 
  • Spokesperson statement drafting for senior members of the business
  • Advising on tone, wording and stance of all communications with the media
  • Managing all media relations – regional and national


  • 58% of crisis comms content contained comment from the transport provider helping negate negative sentiment – less content (55%) contained quotes from third parties such as the Unions
  • The sentiment of the transport provider vs. the Unions in media coverage was comparable (transport provider 2% positive / 85% neutral / 13% negative and the Unions 4% positive / 88% neutral / 8% negative)
  • The combined audience of articles containing comment from the transport provider’s spokespeople was over 36 million.  Taking into account sources which produced multiple pieces of content over the time period, it is estimated nearly 9.4 million people reached an average of 3.8 times.
  • Reader comments on online content showed there was a stronger level of supportive sentiment towards the transport provider
  • It is estimated that over 11.5 million people were reached with the coverage, an average of  6.7 times during the strike period.  The combined readership of all of the articles was over 77.5 million.

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