If business people find managing their reputations a tough challenge, spare a thought for the politicians.  As party conference season draws to a close, across the UK politicians will be evaluating their performance in a bid to discover whether they’ve emerged with their reputations intact or even enhanced. Given that the good name of MPs […]

Subway’s unprepared spokesperson gets eaten alive in media interview

An interview with national radio provides a wonderful opportunity to enhance the reputation of your business, especially when you have good news to tell.  So, when Subway’s President and co-founder Fred DeLuca was invited for an interview on BBC Radio Five Live’s breakfast show following positive financial results and the creation of new jobs, he […]

Setting the communication agenda: how Primark seized control

When the BBC’s Panorama programme apparently showed Primark’s use of child labour in Bangalore, the retailer’s reputation took a serious hit.  With the recent BBC Trust report concluding that footage of boys checking stitching on Primark products was “more likely than not” “not genuine”, it is now the BBC whose reputation is under the microscope.  […]

How better change communication could have eased Kraft’s post-Cadbury issues

Kraft took another battering from MPs this week as the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee said that it had “significant concerns” over its takeover of Cadbury in January 2010.  Rumblings from employees and unions continue, whilst the media delights in giving Kraft a hard time (the Mail on Sunday in particular has ensured that Kraft CEO  […]

Why media training lessons need to be drummed into Phil Collins

When Genesis drummer Phil Collins issued a statement confirming his retirement from music, I took both a personal and professional interest.  Those who know me well, are already aware of my unhealthy obsession with Phil.  This includes featuring his song titles as the centrepiece of my wedding speech and two “encounters” with the great man […]

A dog’s tale, or what great customer service tells us about crisis communication

We received a letter from Marks and Spencer yesterday.  It turns out that pet insurance for Jenny, our Labrador/Boxer cross-breed, is due to expire in a fortnight and M&S had failed to remind us of this fact.  They apologised, acknowledged the impact on us, allowed us an extra couple of weeks to make up our […]

Warming up staff for change: why Nokia’s burning platform memo was essential

Transformational corporate change is notoriously hard to achieve.  Comfort with the status quo, denial of issues holding the business back and an in-built fear of change mean that staff often resist a new direction, or at the very least fail to engage with it. As a consequence many change programmes fail, primarily due to inadequate […]

Paxman’s rant reveals lack of communication planning

Jeremy Paxman’s rant about the demise of the daily Newsnight email underlines the danger of being driven by the act of sending information rather than focusing on the effectiveness of communication. Communication planning begins by understanding the audience and their communication needs: what they want to know must be the focus, not what we want to tell them. Only then […]

Own goal for the communication profession as Coulson goes

The resignation of Andy Coulson as David Cameron’s Director of Communications does little for the reputation of public relations. It remains a painful irony that a profession focused on managing reputation has such a poor one itself.  Effective communication is about building relationships and trust.  For one of the UK’s highest profile communicators to have […]

Ready for Question Time?

Last week I was tasked with drafting an important question and answer document to help prepare executives for a sensitive company announcement due to be made in April.  I was somewhat frustrated to be asked to remove one of the questions because “we’re not ready to answer that yet”.  This week, PR Week reported the […]