This issue of Communication Command contains an interview about the importance of corporate communications, as well as a Q&A about Business Impact Analysis (BIA). We hope you will enjoy our e-Newsletter.
October 2016
C4CS® will function as a Conference Champion and conduct a conference workshop at the 2016 Emergency Preparedness & Hazmat Response Conference. This year the annual conference will be held at the Sheraton Station Square in Pittsburgh on November 1 - 4, 2016.
Professional Development Day
C4CS® Managing Partner Oliver S. Schmidt is going to moderate a senior practitioner panel discussion at this year's PRSA Pittsburgh Professional Development Day. The panel discussion on the topic "Making the Case for PR to the C-Suite" will happen at 7:00 PM on October 27, 2016.
2016 IABC Africa Conference
Dianne Chase, C4CS® Senior Partner and International Chair of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) will speak at the 2016 IABC Africa Conference, which will be held in Cape Town, South Africa, in November. Dianne's IABC Chair blog can be accessed by clicking on this link. IABC has more than 10,000 members and is currently represented in about 70 countries.
PRSA Professional Development
C4CS® Managing Partner Oliver S. Schmidt recently served on a panel that discussed "Brexit and the Rise of Political Populism." Information concerning the Global Affairs Committee sponsored webinar is available via this link.
Please contact us at if you would like to have a senior member of C4CS® make a presentation for your organization.
TWC News Interview
In September, Dianne Chase, C4CS® Senior Partner and International Chair of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), gave Time Warner Cable News an interview for the station's report on "NC in the Spotlight Once Again After Shooting Death of Keith Scott." The online video clip is available here.
Our next e-Learning course on 'Harnessing the Power of Social Media in Crisis Management' will be conducted November 14 through November 25, 2016. Congratulations to those who completed the course work and obtained a Certificate in Social Media Crisis Management Planning accredited by ICOR. The course brochure can be downloaded via this link.
If you have questions concerning this e-Learning course, please contact us at
Communication Command e-Newsletter
Please click here if you would like to access past issues of our e-Newsletter.
Five Questions about the Importance of Corporate Communications

Brian Peiritsch is Director of Corporate Communications at Michael Baker International, LLC, a global government services and solutions company based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Brian Peiritsch

What does Michael Baker International do and what path did you take to your current role as global communications lead of the company?

Michael Baker International is a global leader in engineering, planning and consulting services. Those services include planning, architectural, environmental, construction, program management, and full life-cycle support services, as well as information technology and communications services and solutions. The company is currently represented in 38 countries.

Prior to joining Michael Baker International, I spent nearly 20 years at global public relations agencies in Chicago and Pittsburgh where I worked on domestic and international B2C and B2B public relations initiatives and teams, and integrating communications functions to deliver measurable results for clients.

Which key skills must communications professionals have in order to be successful in a lead communicator role with direct access to the CEO and wide ranging decision making power?

The ability to serve as an advisor who can provide a range of strategic options and recommendations complemented by the practical knowledge of how to put tactics into action, as well as getting into the weeds as needed. There is also a need to remain nimble – C-suite executives often go against the grain in ways large and small, which requires corporate communications teams to provide counsel and often recalibrate to ensure message consistency.

In addition, it is important to be a good listener and interpreter. Communications must capture the tone and energy a CEO wants to convey to colleagues as well as external audiences, and our charge is to ensure a consistent, “one voice” narrative.

Do you agree that the importance of senior level communications executives has increased as a result of the growing importance of corporate reputation?

Corporate reputation has always been important. The difference now may be that communications advisors are more successful at working with executives at every step in the communications continuum. This more regular access and dialogue can demonstrate for executives the value in building and protecting corporate reputation as a regular course of action, i.e., in every interaction with team members, clients, the public, rather than as something to only focus on in an issues management situation.

Can you give an example of how you have dealt with an issue or a crisis and successfully protected corporate reputation?

During my career I have had the opportunity to work with companies to manage issues that threatened corporate reputation. The most successful issues management programs were those where a solid foundation had been established with influencers and allies before the issue had arisen. In the organization’s time of need, there were hence third-party character witnesses who could stand with the company.
In all instances when corporate reputation was threatened, we followed the mantra of “identify the problem, do the right thing to correct it and then talk about it.” Deeds, not just words; doing the right thing; taking action to ensure the issue does not occur again, and then reporting on progress toward specific objectives went a long way toward rebuilding corporate reputation and trust.

What are thought leaders saying about the future of corporate communications and what do communicators need to know to best prepare for their professional futures?

There is greater emphasis on enlisting team members throughout an organization to participate in conversations and contribute content to tell a company’s story rather than corporate communications serving as the only curator. Millennials, and then Generation Z, expect multi-channel communication engagement – texts, brief videos, social media – to stay informed about their company.
As far as what communicators should know to prepare for their professional futures, it’s essential to be open to new technologies provided they resonate with your key audiences. No one wants to be known as the company that still employs 20th century communications strategies.

Business Impact Analysis In A Nutshell
What is a Business Impact Analysis?

Business Impact Analysis (BIA), is a business continuity planning process that identifies and assesses the potential impacts of interruptions to business functions resulting from adversarial events such as accidents, natural disasters, or other emergencies or crises.

Why is a Business Impact Analysis important?
The key assumption underlying a BIA is that every business function depends on the continued functioning of other business functions. Because some business functions and related processes are more critical than others, they require more resources to quickly resume and seamlessly continue functioning following a business interruption.
By systematically assessing the consequences of disruptions of critical and non-critical business functions and processes, the BIA generates important information in regard to the development of successful mitigation and recovery strategies. Business critical functions are those whose disruption is regarded as unacceptable, while an interruption of non-critical functions impacts the organization in less harmful ways.

What are the components of a Business Impact Analysis?
A comprehensive BIA includes both an exploratory component that identifies and categorizes risks and vulnerabilities, as well as a planning component outlining strategies to minimize negative impacts.
At the beginning of the BIA, criteria to assess impacts must be determined, and the BIA process and methodology must be established and agreed upon by management. The next step is to plan and conduct relevant data gathering, followed by data analysis against the approved criteria to establish the acceptable amount of time to restore a given business function (Recovery Time Objective or RTO) and the acceptable latency of data that will not be recovered (Recovery Point Objective or RPO) for each operational area.
In the next step, minimum resource requirements for business resumption and the recovery of critical and non-critical business functions have to be documented. As part of the final step within the BIA process, findings are collected and shared via a Business Impact Analysis report and presentations to senior management.

Who needs a Business Impact Analysis?

A BIA significantly increases organizational resilience and should be conducted as part of any comprehensive business continuity planning strategy that is tasked with developing systems of prevention and recovery to manage potential crises and emergencies.

Management teams will be best prepared when they understand the importance of assessing business risks and put into place the necessary steps to respond to adversarial events long before they occur. A BIA is a key piece of the puzzle and our team of C4CS® consultants is looking forward to discussing how a BIA can most effectively benefit your organization.

If you have any questions concerning this article, please contact us at We look forward to hearing from you.

Food For Thought

"Crises reveal the decisions made by businesses
and institutions. They are interruptions of fact
in the face of promises, assumptions,
and sometimes benign neglect."

Jonathan Salem Baskin


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Leaders in Strategic Communication
and Crisis Management