SVB COLLAPSE – What we should learn and how communications could have helped
- Crisis preparedness: It’s abundantly clear when a company has been caught with its proverbial pants down: well-prepared companies with a defined crisis communications plan in place have a clearly articulated and credible response. The market will feel reassured, and the company will be perceived as trustworthy and in-control. Assessing risk is an integral part of outstanding financial communications, and this includes crisis management and crisis communications. We hope you won’t need it, but InspIR is here to help if you do. Also: timing is everything. While crypto bank Silvergate was shutting down operations, Silicon Valley Bank announced it was selling assets at a loss and raising money from General Atlantic.
- Manage the narrative: IR- and the management team- drive the equity story. SVB did release an announcement on March 8…but without providing the relevant context. The announcement was too technical for readers who were not well-versed in the financial markets. There were too many stakeholders eager for as much information as possible, including SVB’s customers. And, importantly (critically!): choose your words carefully. SVB’s CEO asked for “calm” on a call with venture capitalists, using the word “panic”, which sparked portfolio companies’ race to withdraw their deposits.
- You are not expected to have all the answers. But you need to engage: We know it can be painful. And that it’s very tempting to stick to your press release and refuse to engage- which was exactly SVB’s approach. But your ability to communicate with your stakeholder base and the wider community is a defining moment to turn a crisis into an opportunity. You’re not expected to have all the answers, but an ironclad strategy empowers you to confidently manage media and financial community questions and concerns. Your audience wants (and deserves) official information from the source, and IR should be at the forefront of the news flow.
We welcome your feedback, suggestions and questions.
Monique Skruzny: email@example.com +1-212-661-2243