Crisis Communications / Downtown Shootings

Author: cam
Date: May 16, 2018

Goal: Reputation management

Outcomes: Stakeholder engagement, brand ambassador development, customer retention

Our Work: Following multiple shootings in its downtown, the city of Grand Rapids came to Truscott Rossman for crisis communications counsel in an effort to reassure concerned citizens that they were safe downtown. On June 19, 2014 – one day after the second shooting – Truscott Rossman recommended a number of crisis communications tactics for the City to execute in order to mitigate any damage and to alleviate worry. These tactics included:

  • Releasing a public statement about its efforts to ensure a safe downtown, which Truscott Rossman drafted for the City. This statement emphasized that the City and Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) were taking the situation seriously, explained what measures GRPD was taking, and noted the historically low levels of crime in the City
  • Sending written communication to downtown bar/restaurant owners, businesses and residents. This communication highlighted the steps GRPD was taking to remedy the situation and encouraged residents and business owners to get involved and share ideas.
  • Sharing public, merchant and resident statements with City Commission.
  • Sending written communication to Downtown Ambassadors.

The city of Grand Rapids immediately executed all tactics recommended by Truscott Rossman. Because of these tactics and the City’s quick response, damage was greatly mitigated. Residents continued to go downtown and support their local businesses, levels of concern dropped and stakeholders were actively informed and educated on developments.

"Truscott Rossman regularly exceeds our expectations and continually provides us with the powerful messaging we need to prevail. Unfortunately, S Company faced a crisis that needed an immediate communications plan to keep our message in front of the public. Truscott Rossman has kept Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry’s position on the forefront from Day 1."
Chris Shepler