In 2020 Edelman worked with DP World’s global leadership team to audit  the key reputational risks facing the business. The audit informed part of a broader programme of work, from scenario planning and the development of a new framework for managing crisis communications to the delivery of training workshops for DP World communications and operations colleagues globally.

The aim was to assess and prepare for the most impactful risks facing the business, in order to build confidence and capability in communicating in a live issue or crisis situation.


A stakeholder-centric approach was used to assess the reputational risks facing the Group, and the result was a re-prioritization of the risks that required proactive reputation management going forward. For newly categorized tier one risks, new scenario plans were developed to provide a framework for engaging on the issue globally, to be adapted and localized based on local conditions. A new crisis communications manual helped to re-define critical roles, processes and actions during a live issue and provide practical guidance and support to team members regardless of the nature of the crisis.

The training programme, fundamental to delivering the goal of confidence and capability amongst the global communications team, ran in four parts and covered all regions of the world.

The purpose of the leadership team training was to develop methodical and strategic communications decisions in a unified manner and test the crisis communications plan under pressure, placing particular emphasis on the interplay between the crisis management and crisis communication teams. For the regional training sessions, a core set of consistent and universally applicable insights were developed—these focused on when to escalate an issue to global and how to confidently manage a given scenario—with the content of each session tailored to the market conditions of the region.


The outcome of the project was a re-definition of how the global leadership team assess risk and approach managing a crisis situation, adopting of a best-in-class approach to crisis communication. Equally important, the work has helped to ensure that DP World communicators at group, regional and divisional level understand their roles and responsibilities during a crisis and have the tools and capabilities to respond appropriately and protect the company’s reputation in a crisis situation.