Fundamentals of crisis communications

I took part in a discussion the other day about how companies should manage their reputation in times of crisis. Here's a summarised version of the three questions posed and the answers I gave.

1. How can a company mitigate its reputational risks? When it comes to business crises, there are three phases of reputation management: preparation, response and recovery. The adage that prevention is better than cure applies well to corporate reputation. But, in my experience, too few ...


Andrew

Andrew thrown under royal carriage in reputation crisis

The latest developments in the Prince Andrew saga have been dramatic. The Palace has stripped him of his Royal titles and says he’ll have to contest the legal case against him as a ‘private citizen’. But two important reputation management points have been largely overlooked. Firstly, many have praised the Queen's decisiveness. Her actions were certainly swift, but ...


Can Facebook’s rebrand salvage its reputation?

I was pleased to be quoted in this week's Management Today - in an article exploring whether Facebook's rebrand to 'Meta' can help the company overcome its deep-seated reputational problems. Of course, there may be other good business reasons why Facebook is rebranding - such as to stake a place in the public consciousness at the forefront of the upcoming metaverse movement. But, as far as the impact on its reputational ...


How to (mis)manage a personal crisis

North Yorkshire Police Commissioner Philip Allott finally quit today in the wake of his inflammatory comments about the tragic case of Sarah Everard, abducted and murdered by Met Police officer Wayne Couzens. Three big problems stand out for me in the way Allott has (mis)managed his reputation throughout his career crisis of the last two weeks. The first - and most obvious - is his ludicrous ....


Brewer hounded by reputational crisis

Maverick Scottish brewer BrewDog found itself under fire earlier this month as more than 100 ex-employees sent a blistering open letter to its founders – condemning them for fostering a "toxic" culture and wrecking employees’ mental health. The signatories have since grown, now numbering more than 300.

The craft beer firm is no stranger to controversy: it has a habit of ...


Crisis talk at charity conference

I enjoyed talking at Fundraising Intelligence Conference 2021 last week about how to manage your reputation in times of crisis.

Charities, social enterprises, non-profits and public bodies are, of course, just as susceptible to reputational disasters as private companies. The sector was rocked last year by a large-scale ....


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 is 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 ...