The Kennel Club PR team was awarded the Corporate Communications 2015 Crisis Communications award, which celebrates excellence in corporate communications.
The team won the Best Crisis Management award for their handling of the worldwide media attention which was faced during and following Crufts 2015 as a result of the death after Crufts of Jagger, the Irish Setter.
The Kennel Club worked on a strategy that included finding out further information and creating a rolling log of approved commentary to handle to initial media coverage that speculated whether Jagger could have died as a result of poisoning at Crufts. The scale of the coverage, which was global in its nature, was of such a scale that the video footage and audio footage were recorded alongside a statement, for syndication. The radio statements were recorded as audio by Cre8media Ltd, allowing the Kennel Club to decline media interview requests and maintain a consistent approach with National BBC and Commercial Radio station enquiries.
Following this the Kennel Club worked on a strategy to update its position once the results of the toxicology report came back, to show that it was a fast acting poison that had been injested, in the dog’s home country in Belgium. Working with the Veterinary Poisons Information Service, the Club secured third party expert commentary and audio and video footage.
The in-house communications team were rewarded for their handling of the crisis by judges, which comprised 25 communication experts from organisations including HSBC, Thomas Cook, Costa and Lockheed Martin.
The team secured their nomination alongside major national and international brands, and made it to the shortlist alongside The Co-operative Bank and Chiltern Railways for the Best Crisis Management award.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “We are extremely proud to be recognised with this award, though we would of course have preferred that the situation had not happened, especially for the owners and breeders of Jagger, for whom we have huge sympathy.
“The team found itself in a very difficult position and it is reassuring to know that our PR strategies for dealing with such a large scale crisis have received recognition at such a high level. We thank Cre8 Media for recording the audio footage that enabled us to handle to volume of radio media requests.”