Charity in “toxic culture” crisis

I see NCVO – the hundred-year-old charity supporting Britain’s non-profits – has hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. With a damning investigation uncovering a deeply “toxic culture” and its board bluntly admitting it’s all true, there are several curious points that strike me from its reputational crisis. The independent investigation was carried out last year, with its findings revealed at that point only to NCVO staff. But it's all come to the fore as the report has just been leaked to charity publication Third Sector, which has run a blistering ...


Law firm in reputational saga

A London law firm has just won £25,000 from High Court action against a client who posted a negative review online - and is seemingly now battling the repercussions. The court found the client's TrustPilot review defamatory, and the firm said it lost business. But how much might it lose now its client management 'technique' has hit national headlines - headlines that will forever come up when anyone searches for ...


“Our product’s gonna sell itself”

I do a lot of work with startups and hear a variation of this surprisingly often: “We’ve budgeted very little for marketing because our product’s gonna sell itself.” I’m always taken aback. And it’s signified a complacency that’s ultimately proved commercially fatal every time. Of course, entrepreneurs need bucket loads of vision and self-belief to get a new venture off the ground and keep pushing forward. And, if a product is truly ...


All change for community engagement?

The recently-published white paper – Planning for the Future – sets out the government’s plans to overhaul town planning, with implications for how local councils and property developers will need to consult communities.

There’s a strong emphasis on the need for local authorities “radically and profoundly to re-invent the ambition, depth and breadth with which they engage communities as they consult on Local Plans,” giving them “an earlier ...


Does size really matter?

This article, ‘Thinking Big Matters in Marketing’ by LinkedIn’s Keith Browning, argues the bigger your company is, the more successful it will become … and so on in a virtuous circle. Browning sets out a robust case and attempts to explain it. Big businesses grow faster because their products or services are more available and they're more likely to spring ...


Shocking 114 year crisis denial by New York zoo

I’ve just read this shocking account of how New York's Bronx Zoo exhibited a kidnapped African boy in a monkey cage in 1906 – and spent 114 years denying its wrong doing. It’s a stark example of doing the wrong thing in a crisis – exacerbating reputational damage by denying the undeniable instead of taking responsibility. It’s finally taken the Black Lives Matter movement to prompt ...


“I thought I’d just ignore it”

“I thought I'd just ignore it,” he told me. There are many cases where I’m sure this is absolutely the best policy. Junk mail. A minor insect bite. An insult from someone you don’t care about. But an approach from an investigative BBC journalist isn’t one of them. I was a bit surprised the other day when I first got the call the other day to ...


Mastercard ad

Look at these coronavirus TV ads!

Take a look at this clever compilation of current American TV ads, with brands attempting to show solidarity in a COVID-19 environment. It vividly illustrates how they’re all pretty much the same - down to the exact phrases and even near identical music! I think most are well-intentioned and would be fine on their own. They're seeking to show empathy rather than deliver a hard sell. But, viewed alongside ...


Send-up of PM – with serious point

I’ve just seen this Twitter clip from Matt Lucas, sending up PM Boris Johnson’s last coronavirus directive to the British people. Lucas mimics Johnson well — and, in the space of 17 seconds, hits an important point square on the head. The PM’s first lockdown address, backed by the ‘Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save lives’ slogan, deserves credit for being ...


COVID-19: time to change your tune

My last post looked at whether you should cut or continue your marketing because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I said some should cut back or stop, while it’s wise for most to press on or increase their marketing. But if you are continuing your marketing, one thing's certain: this can't mean carrying on exactly as before. These are extraordinary times. Everything is being seen through a coronavirus lens — and your focus and message need to ...