Counting the cost of a reputational hit

Ups and downs of reputational management

Building a company’s reputation is a long-term investment which takes years of consistent effort, trust-building, and strategic communication. But the destruction of reputation happens in a matter of moments. We thought we’d take a closer look at how investment in crisis communications and risk preparation reduces the impact of a reputational hit.

Building a reputation: The value of long-term effort

1. Consistency and Trust:
– Years of reliable performance, transparency, and delivering on promises

2. Quality and Excellence:
– Continuous provision of high-quality products or services and maintaining high standards

3. Positive Relationships:
– Nurturing relationships with customers, employees, and the wider community

4. Strategic Communication:
– Regular, strategic engagement and storytelling to highlight successes and values

5. Resilience and Adaptability:
– Demonstrating strength in handling challenges and adapting to changes

According to research from Pentland Analytics (pdf), companies recover from share-price losses faster when senior management communicates with stakeholders swiftly and launches an active program of social responsibility that directly addresses the damage associated with the crisis.

20% improvement in market value 30% Loss in market value

Don’t waste years of hard work. Prioritise proactive reputation management and effective crisis communication to protect your brand integrity.

To help you we’ve created a tool to discover how safe your company’s reputation really is. Think of it as the first step of a Reputation Audit.

To take a look, please visit our Reputational Audit page.

We train award winners!

Betsy the Dog - Award Winner

🤗 Huge congratulations to our 4 fabulous clients recognised as inspiring industry leaders. Well-earned, richly deserved.

👀 Discretion prevents a public shout-out, but you know who you are!

For clients on the journey to awards, our media training is still a win – why?

💭 Reconciling opposing views in the office

👊 Confidence to answer difficult questions in front of an audience

⚖ Diplomacy to find centre ground in a professional stand-off

🏋‍♂️ Clarity to sell strengths in a VIP meeting

👉 Media training is a recipe for success in these situations and more.

🐶 Thanks to Betsy for wearing her award with such good grace.

Space Shuttle Learnings

Space Shuttle - The failure to imagine the consequences of failure are catastrophic

Tell your boss to watch this Space Shuttle documentary…

📢 Are you the lone voice nudging senior colleagues about crisis planning?

🤔 Are there known issues too trifling to confront amongst all the “business as usual”?

Watch ‘The Space Shuttle that Fell To Earth’ on BBC iPlayer and tell your bosses to do the same, if you want to get crisis communications at the top of the agenda.

👍 Congratulations to Mindhouse Productions, this brilliant 3-parter, sensitively told a difficult story, which among many things shows why a culture of open communication matters. And is as important as crisis preparation.

🚀 Even if you are not in the business of space flight, speaking out, seeking answers and encouraging conversations, will help avoid issues becoming devastating crises.

And give me a shout if your crisis comms nudge could do with a shoulder.

Thank you Leslie Nielsen (Dr Rumack) and the iconic Airplane!

I am serious… and don’t call me Shirley!

Comedy is a useful ice breaker in crisis communications planning when we ask everyone to think the worst… no… the very, very worst.

And this quote is a reminder of everything that shouldn’t happen when things get serious. Why?

  1. Doctors don’t fly planes. If you want to know who is at the helm in moments of difficulty, do the thinking before the bad stuff happens.
  2. Preparing for the worst improves the likelihood of a better outcome, I promise you it’s worth the investment.
  3. Crisis planning is seriously fun, but never funny. Being invited to join companies at the start of their crisis comms planning is the best part of our job.

If crisis comms planning is making you seriously nervous, let us help you move it off the to-do list.

The press doorstep – can you handle it?

The press doorstep - can you handle it?

Only watch this if you KNOW how to handle a doorstep*

The infamous doorstep only ends when the journalist leaves with something.

A no comment, a closed door, or in this case a response.

Managing a doorstep takes some well thought through choreography.

*Full disclosure, this one features my Dad, Tom Mangold, in action on BBC Panorama in 1997 so I may be biased.

The Post Office, Boohoo and the moments I miss investigative journalism

Investigative Journalism

It’s times like these that I miss making TV.

Watching Mr Bates vs the Post Office and the long overdue response from the Government I’m reminded about the power of TV and its reach – 9.2 million people watched the first episode, and that was before people started really talking about it.

Yes, there are lots of means to get publicity for your cause these days but there is nothing more convincing than real human stories, told well, through public service broadcasting.

Meanwhile, a BBC investigation has found that Boohoo put ‘Made in UK’ labels on clothes made overseas.

Ooooh to have been part of the team uncovering that little nugget.

These dramas and investigations take big teams of highly talented individuals, they take money (so lacking in journalism these days) and they take a collective will to ‘out the truth’ even when it can be months and years to gather the evidence you need.

My advice to any business on the receiving end of one of these investigations is take it seriously, if they’re coming for your response, they’ve already got the evidence they need and the truth, well the truth will always out, even if it takes 25 years.

‘I really don’t want to speak to you again this year’.

Mangold Consultancy Christmas

No offence intended. None taken.

When clients chose us as their 24/7 crisis comms support, we get that a good Christmas for them means not speaking to us.

But if they do, we’re here. Poised with slightly wonky paper hats.

And to anyone else in need of 24/7 crisis comms support on speed dial…You know where to find us!

Happy Christmas to our wonderful team, clients and wider network – may 2024 be everything you wish for.

What everyone must say and do in a crisis

Let's talk… warts and all…

In a crisis, being open and honest with each other is rule number one

Or as one client recently put it brilliantly – “Let’s talk, warts and all.”

Honesty defines how an organisation manages a crisis AND then how its people recover from the impact

Whether you create a safe space, share skeletons, speak up or speak out – always be honest.

Why treat journalists like a friendly dog?

The Hunch Podcast with Abby Mangold - Staying ahead in the reputation game

Who’s the best person to put forward in a crisis?

How does good crisis comms impact the bottom line?

And lessons from NatWest, the British Museum, BBC and Nike

I had a fab time talking to Mark Schmid on his podcast The Hunch about all of the above, and more.

Listen below or follow this link to The Hunch Podcast Episode with Abby Mangold.

“There’s no escaping it, if you run a high-profile business or organisation you will face a reputational issue in the short or medium term. We asked former BBC Watchdog producer Abby Mangold about the changing media landscape and its impact on how leaders prepare for and handle the toughest challenges.”


The Hunch is a Podcast about data and technology. They love educated guesses and gut instincts, too. The Hunch asks experts to predict what’s coming down the line with a focus on the ‘when?’ and the ‘why?’

Avoiding on camera confrontation. Advice for reception & security teams

How do you avoid on camera confrontation when cameras turn up unannounced?

Following a sharp rise in YouTubers and TikTokers turning up unannounced at client offices and sites – often trying to provoke reactions from unwitting staff, we’re increasingly asked for our advice on how to support teams on the ground.

Watch Abby explain our top tips for avoiding on camera confrontation.

How to avoid on camera confrontation

Recharged for Autumn – bring it on

Jess & Abby Mangold are Recharged for Autumn - Bring on September!

Is it just me or does anyone else still get that beginning of term feeling?

The end of a holiday is never a highlight. But with plenty of behind the scenes Mangold Consultancy gubbins completed over the summer we are now rested and recharged for a busy Autumn.

Bring it on.

Crisis Communications Playbook

Crisis Communications Playbook

What do you do when you discover one of your employees has behaved inappropriately?
How do you respond when people challenge your business practices on social media?
What do you do when you get a customer complaint?
The list could go on.

Using experience and nous to assess and respond to live issues, based on the specific set of circumstances is absolutely the way to go in an emerging crisis.

Recently however, clients have asked us to compile a “playbook” of responses for the most frequent and reputationally damaging issues, after we’ve completed a reputational risk audit of their competitors and the wider sector.

A playbook is more than collating your “lines to take” or communications responses. Done well, this live document should become part of the Communications Team’s armoury with which you can effectively respond to issues as they develop. The playbook provides important insight such as :

  • stakeholders, reactions and patterns in their responses
  • social media activity including trends, keywords used and priority channels
  • topics which cause the most activity
  • duration of interest
  • key journalists
  • as well as the existing communications to help build a response

All too often the post-crisis sands of time slip away and soon the next issue is upon you. Taking time to stop and reflect on how you responded and what you can learn should be part of the ‘playbook’.

By taking a quick and thorough sweep of actions post-issue you will assess; did we get our message out there or are we just repeating the same old tired platitudes which don’t cut it with our customers / stakeholders.

Questions to ask post-event are:

  • did our last response achieve our objective
  • are our response times working
  • are the comms consistent with commitments made in the past
  • is now the time to review our corporate key messages to make them better reflect our current reality and after effects of an issue

Your playbook is the bible you refer to so the next time you’re challenged about the business, you approach it kitted up with knowledge from previous experiences as well as a starting form of words to use in response.

Background image by Joanna Kosinska , book composition by Studio JERO

Do you know how to identify a crisis?

Can you identify a Social Media Crisis?

This blog was first published on the Brandwatch Blog.

A single social media post can now do as much damage to a brand’s reputation as a front-page article in a national newspaper. This shift from offline to online has forced brands to rethink how they manage a crisis and made social intelligence one of the most important and undervalued tools in the modern crisis management playbook.

With 95% of business leaders saying their crisis management capabilities need improvement, it’s clear that businesses are struggling to adapt. One easy win is to integrate social listening into their crisis management capabilities.

The adage knowledge is power has never been more true. Understanding what is being said about your brand, in every corner of the internet, is paramount. Brands failing to track conversations, mentions, keywords, and relevant issues are blind to the crisis that lurks around the corner.

Thankfully, there has never been a better time to understand what people are saying about your brand online. Social intelligence gives brands a critical edge and is the greatest early warning system of a potential problem coming their way. Used correctly, social intelligence is the 24/7 team member who you’ll come to rely on in good times and bad.

Not every negative social media mention represents a crisis

Unexpected situations outside a brand’s control happen every day. We see this at Mangold Consultancy with all types of brands, as we support them getting their crisis management preparation in order. It’s inevitable that people will say things online about your brand you wish they didn’t.

What’s important is knowing how to distinguish between isolated negative comments which can be managed in-house away from public scrutiny, and an emerging crisis that requires immediate action in a public setting.

Defining a crisis and understanding the situation

When a situation occurs (something unexpected that should not be happening), understanding the source and spread of the information is critical.

If the situation is known only to those inside your organization, and people outside your organization:

  • won’t get to hear about it or
  • don’t need to know about it or
  • won’t have a strong reaction if they do hear about it

you’re dealing with an incident.

But if the outside world…

  • knows about it and is concerned or will likely find out and have a strong reaction to it
  • and this situation poses a risk to reputation and the credibility of your business

then you’re dealing with a crisis which needs to be managed internally and externally.

Incidents can be managed as normal and require no special measures. A crisis must be managed immediately, with swift action from multiple areas of a business, often with a public response.

The importance of speed

The quicker an issue is known, the faster a response can be initiated.

The Incident management procedures and protocols we create, help our clients to pre-plan, rehearse, and stress test and should be activated as soon as an incident occurs to avoid a crisis.

The most common reason for a small-scale or isolated incident turning into a larger crisis is a slow or inadequate response (eg lack of action internally to correct a situation, failure to respond to a social media complaint, falsehoods posted online, or a slow rise in negative sentiment on a specific issue).

Social listening is your automated early warning system

Using a social listening platform like Brandwatch Consumer Research to monitor keywords, track conversations, and scan for sensitive issues is like having a new team member who spends all their time searching for potential risks. But unlike you or I, this team member never sleeps! They monitor millions of conversations across multiple platforms in real-time, 24 hours a day, and alert you when something is happening you need to know about.

But that’s just the start. Your new team member shows you who is talking about you, where, and what impact they’re having. They also show you when an issue is evolving, who is joining in, and how it’s spreading across different platforms. This is all essential information when planning how to respond.

Sounds nice, right? We could all do with a team member with these skills and stamina.

At Mangold Consultancy, Brandwatch Consumer Research is that member of our team. It gives us unprecedented insight for our international and national clients – from the FMCG sector to the health sector. It informs our crisis and corporate communications counsel with a depth of detail our clients truly value.

The reality is that without even the most basic social listening in place, you run the risk of being forced onto the back foot when an unexpected situation occurs. Your ability to react quickly and take action to reduce reputational damage has gone – this is not the place you want to be when negativity spreads like wildfire on social media.

Data-driven decision making

Social listening provides a data-backed evidence base for your organization/brand to make decisions. All too often in a crisis it’s easy to think you must be doing or saying something to actively manage it. This is not always the case – sometimes you need to be patient, but without knowing what is happening in real-time, it’s impossible to make decisions with certainty.

Source Fire image by Max Kukurudziak. Phone image by Jeremy Bezanger. Composition by Studio JERO

Sport, Social Media & Mental Health – Gratitude Games

Gratitude Games, a new sporting event raising funds to support Emergency Responders mental health

It feels good to be a sports fan these days. Team GB’s Olympic and Paralympic medal haul, Emma Radacanu’s tennis win and a football team respected for performance off pitch, as much as on.

So the Gratitude Games – a new multi-sport event in recognition of emergency responders – comes at just the right time. Continue reading “Sport, Social Media & Mental Health – Gratitude Games”