Full house for Drum pow-wow

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AUCKLAND, Today: Last week, an event that PHD’s Drum agency billed as “the world’s first crisis simulation event”, CrisisX: The Readiness Conference, drew an audience of 120 leaders from New Zealand’s business community.

Drum is PHD Group’s newly launched content & experiences agency.

The two-day event challenged organisations’ current levels of preparation for crises through a series of creative-led simulations.

The conference also featured business leaders and speakers sharing their first-hand knowledge.

Melissa Agnes, international keynote speaker and author of Crisis Ready, was flown in for her first speaking engagement in New Zealand. Additional keynote speakers included former Christchurch Mayor Sir Bob Parker, and former Air NZ ceo, Rob Fyfe, who shared their experiences navigating crises such as the 2011 Christchurch Earthquake recovery and the 2008 Perpignan Air NZ plane crash.


“Prepare for the worst thing that could happen – and double it!”

In between the speaker sessions, delegates underwent a digital simulation whereby groups were put under the stress of a series of high-pressure scenarios designed to replicate an actual crisis. Teams had to navigate their way through a massive data security breach and physical security threat, before deconstructing and evaluating their approaches with the experts.

Foodstuffs external relations manager Joanna Braeckel said, “CrisisX was an invaluable experience. The team put a lot of rigour around the simulations, pushing you outside your comfort zone and forcing you to think on your feet, all while gaining a different perspective. The simulations included machetes, disgruntled employees and data breaches, all of which could happen any day so it’s important to be prepared for anything.”

Some of the top tips shared at the first edition of CrisisX include:

  • Prepare for the worst thing that could happen – and double it
  • Make sure you’ve built networks and relationships – they become more important than a plan during a crisis
  • Consistent communication is important and allows you to control the narrative
  • Always practice honesty and humility
  • Admit and accept fallibility of yourself and your team
  • Never lose sight of the big picture.

CrisisX director and Drum MD Dallas Gurney says: “The first edition of CrisisX has been a resounding success.

“The consistent theme that emerged from all the speaker sessions was the importance of authenticity, honesty, consistency, communication and compassion when in the eye of the crisis storm.


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