Offense or defense in the current crisis? Both, advises Stagwell’s Ray Day

The agency head urges all communicators to have one eye on the future as you manage the day-to-day crisis if you want staying power long past the current pandemic.

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Ray Day has managed his fair share of crises. As the chief communications officer at Ford during the 2008 financial crisis and a leader on the frontline during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and its aftermath, Day’s communications playbook is filled with strategies and tactics that can be activated during this unprecedented crisis.

Let’s start with your communications team.

“Just like in sports, you need to have two parts of your team running in parallel: one playing defense, focused on the crisis and the other playing offense, getting ready for the future,” says Day, vice chairman of The Stagwell Group’s Marketing and Communications Agencies, which include Code + Theory, The Harris Poll, SKD Knickerbocker, Reputation Defender, Finn Partners, Sloane & Co, Targeted Victory and others. He spoke to us from his home in Detroit, where he is sheltering in placing with his wife and two daughters.





Your “defense team” includes those managing the current crisis. Day recommends this team be comprised of the most resilient—those who are quick to take action, are the voice of calm and reason, and who survey the business landscape and adhere to the facts as they manage the crisis.

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