Crisis communications is the act of managing perception of an event. It isn't management of the even itself. It is communicating in a way to minimize damage. Crisis communications is viewed differently by various stakeholders. Attorneys will have the view of saying little to avoid or minimize future litigation. The CEO may have a personal view, trying to save face or retain some semblance of authority. The Board of Directors may be primarily concerned with stock price. One thing they all have in common is a desire to minimize damage.
Chiptole will survive e. coli just like Jack in the Box did in 1993. But there is a 100% certainty a new threat will demonize some other company and destroy its reputation in the coming year. At the end of next year lists will be made of the biggest PR catastrophies. None of the players yet know they'll be next to dance at gunpoint. But who does the cleanup? There are often three pieces to a crisis management team: the internal team, third-party specialists, and ghost media consultants who work quietly in the background.
An ORM firm isn't a PR firm. PR firms tend to be more relationship-based, whereas ORM firms tend to be more technical and content-oriented. ORM firms also tend to operate in stealth mode, often quietly supporting PR campaigns in the background.