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מוסקל מדיה - תקשורת, ייעוץ אסטרטגי וניהול משברים
מוסקל מדיה - תקשורת, ייעוץ אסטרטגי וניהול משברים
מוסקל מדיה - תקשורת, ייעוץ אסטרטגי וניהול משברים
מוסקל מדיה - תקשורת, ייעוץ אסטרטגי וניהול משברים
מוסקל מדיה - תקשורת, ייעוץ אסטרטגי וניהול משברים
מוסקל מדיה - תקשורת, ייעוץ אסטרטגי וניהול משברים
מוסקל מדיה - תקשורת, ייעוץ אסטרטגי וניהול משברים
מוסקל מדיה - תקשורת, ייעוץ אסטרטגי וניהול משברים

Crisis situations: are they manageable? And what is the connection between Shufersal CEO and Ronaldo

Avi Muskal

The Chinese did it best: the Chinese ideogram for a crisis combines two particles that represent danger and opportunity. One does not have to be Chinese in order to understand how times of crisis may offer opportunities. It is how we respond and manage the crisis on real-time, that determines which way it goes.

The answer to the question in the title is Yes! Not only can we manage crisis situations, leading through them is a must. Otherwise, the crisis will manage us!

Let us travel back in time: in June 2020, a press conference took place within the European Football Championship: just before starting, the cameras picked up Ronaldo as he was removing two bottles of Coca-Cola off the table, picking a bottle of water instead and was waving as he called: "Aqua!".

This small gesture was not part of the press conference but was filmed nevertheless, and garnered millions of views worldwide. The soft drink giant did not respond. Someone there must have said: "No need to react, it will pass, let it slide and no one will make a fuss about it "... The company's stock plunged that very same day. This glimpse cost it no less than 4 billion USD!

Back to Israel, in November 2021, N12 News report (Tochnit Hisachon edition) revealed that Shufersal, Israel’s largest supermarket chain, offered products on "Yashir Lemehadrin", an online delivery grocery service, aimed exclusively at ultra-Orthodox consumers, in cheaper prices than the chain’s main website.

As with Coca-Cola, someone in Shufersal must have also told the CEO "It will pass, let it slide".

The company's original response indicated the extend to which it failed to properly assess the fierce criticism. It went: "Shufersal runs numerous retail formats, that offer various ranges of products, which differentiate from one another in target groups and special offers. Therefore, there is no room for comparison between specific items across the various websites and formats". No one spoke in person on behalf of the company. No one from the company was interviewed.

As the criticism and protests expanded, the company took action: it removed the website which was dedicated to the ultra-Orthodox sector.

At the same time, a short video was released, in which the CEO, Itzik Abercohen, responded to the claims. However, this was too little, and too late. By this point, it was no longer enough.

Requests for class actions amounting to NIS 650 million were filed against the company. In addition, Israel’s Antitrust and Competition Authority launched an investigation and the Knesset held a discussion regarding the CEO's remarks about the plan to raise prices.

Although Israel’s Antitrust and Competition Authority's investigation has meanwhile expanded to additional marketing networks, it seemed that the public debate was still exclusively derived from, and revolved around the Shufersal's formative event.

Was it possible to manage the crisis differently?
Coca-Cola and Shufersal have learned that silence or paralysis prescribe disaster in crisis communications.

As a former, experienced, career journalist I embrace the 5 W's of journalism, also in times of crisis. (By the way, so does the IDF, when leading in-house safety and operation inquires):


The chairman or CEO of the company or the organization should lead the crisis management, and to do so as they are accompanied by a senior, and small professional team which is relevant to the event. The organization's spokesperson and a crisis management consultant should also comprise the team. In order to lead through the crisis, it is recommended to seek the advice of external consultants, who can formulate the strategic action plan and counsel in a more objective manner.

In crisis situations, conveying full information to the decision makers is not enough. Due to the nature of the crisis situation, the information flow is intensive. The amount of information a decision makers have to deal with is large and complex. The flow on the one hand and the pressure to decide on the other hand, may mislead them towards adopting a failing strategy. Therefore, they should be assisted in filtering the information and assessing it.

Not only the company's staff, employees and customers look up to the CEO to lead in times of crisis. Journalists, too, expect to see the company's senior representative own the situation and tackles the actual state of affairs.

New York Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, won the day, when he faced and addressed, on camera, one of the worst crises U.S. and the West have ever known - September 11 attacks.

That brings us to the question what to say and when? I'll refer to this question further below.


Top priority: obtain as much information as possible about the circumstances of the crisis situation, the factors and possible scenarios that can unfold. The crisis management team should have access to information about the way the crisis is developing and to systems that will allow an accurate assessment of the situation. Treatment requires immediate response and follow-up. One must know how to identify the source of the crisis, the exact problem in order to put together suitable and tailor-made solutions.


Every step the company's management takes, starting from the moment it's recognized this was a crisis, would be later reviewed by others, in retrospect. Once the crisis becomes known to the public, the authorities, journalists and the general public will examine those decisions.

The gravest mistake decision makers tend to do in this regard is denial. The second failure is a temporary paralysis. Any delay in responding to a crisis makes us look guilty.

The company must respond to the crisis and act already during the first hours after it breaks out, because this is usually the timeframe that sets the way the crisis is perceived and covered in the media. It is important to provide reliable and accurate information already at this stage.


Transparency is key. The director of the company should act in a transparent and determined manner and should be seen on site, on the ground or in the company. However, one should carefully consider whether a visit in a hospital or where events take place is the right thing to do; if it is only to serve journalistic coverage.

Ongoing communication with all the relevant stakeholders in the company, in all fields, categories and geographies is important also when the crisis is external and is managed vis-à-vis the public, customers or regulators,


We shall divide "what" into two parts:

Part One: What next?

In addition to short-term implications, consider long-term implications of decisions you take in crisis-management. Examine: What can go wrong? What are external scenarios may affect the company? Which solution is suitable for each of the problems?

Risk management is integral to crisis-management: when possible, strive to tackle factors in order to eliminate risks. Otherwise, strive to keep the risk at a low level, and under control. In extreme situations, we will strive to limit the risks while ongoing monitoring and balancing them, within an acceptable framework.

Considering the media aspect, strive for a strategy that will help lower the flames in the public arena, while addressing the root of the problem. The goal is to reduce the image and economic damage the company may face. Sometimes, it can literally save the company and its reputation from the consequences the crisis may bear. A crisis management consultant should outline a strategy that will help the company's executives achieve their goals. Each crisis has its own characteristics, and accordingly, a preferred strategy over others in the toolbox.

Part Two: What to tell the public and the media?

Synchronous with the actions on the ground, provide a calming message that reflects the problem is identified and a sensible leadership taking care of the situation. Convey there is no reason to panic and the situation is under the control of a management team, that will keep the information flow as required.

Monitoring information is equally important. Make sure the information online and in social media is accurate, because this information is how public perceives the crisis.

Many journalists are accustomed to coping with crisis situations, no less than company executives. It is therefore important that whoever advises executives is familiar with journalists and their considerations just as directors are familiar with their own customers and their needs or their competitors.

A good crisis-management expert should anticipate the difficult questions that journalists will raise and will prepare the client for an interview using an appropriate simulation.

Generally speaking, we would be required to respond to are: what happened? Why it happened? How can we prevent this from happening again? Do not lie. Tell the truth. As hard and painful as it may be, it pays off in the long run, as long as you tell the truth in the right manner. They say a half-truth is worse than a lie. This is much truer in times of crisis. It does not mean you should always be interviewed or discuss any subject but whatever you do say must be accurate and true.

How you convey your message is no less important than what you say. We will present our position determent and calmly. We will not get defensive but we will certainly not wrangle. We will strive to look for the positive angle and try to be constructive. At the same time, one should always take into account that a crisis situation may escalate. Therefore, be careful not to get over-optimistic in the early stages.

Back to Shufersal: responding to the public revelation about the discount websiteת which was designated only for ultra-Orthodox, could not have been just its' removal. It admitted to the problem but did not accept responsibility and did not take steps which were necessary for the general public. With regard to the Competition Authority's investigation, it's far reaching to imply that a CEO of a large store chain attempted to fix prices only because he estimated in a press interview that prices were expected to rise. Regulation demands chain stores to ongoingly update the product pricing in an online database. This basically omits the claim about price fixing: everything is transparent and visible to everyone including the regulator, every store chain, and the entire public.


אבי מוסקל - ניהול משברים ומוניטין

Leverages and Crisis

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