Managing Your Brand Reputation Online with Charlie Pownall

charlie pownall

“If you’re looking at risks, you’re going to want to quantify those risks.” Whether its upset customers, out-of-control advocates, or failed campaigns, marketers have their hands full when it comes to managing online brand reputation in the digital age. In his new book — Managing Online Reputation — Communications Advisor Charlie Pownall does just that. I couldn’t wait to learn more on this week’s episode of the On Brand podcast.

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About Charlie Pownall

Charlie Pownall is a communications adviser who draws on twenty years’ experience in public relations, government communications, advocacy and digital and social media marketing to advise companies, public sector bodies and individuals how to protect, manage and defend their reputations.

Previously Charlie was Regional Managing Director (Asia-Pacific) at public relations consultancy Burson-Marsteller, Global Communications Manager at advertising and marketing network WPP plc and Group Communications Director at European digital agency SYZYGY AG. He started his career as a speechwriter and press officer at the European Commission.

Charlie divides his time between Hong Kong and London, and is a regular commentator and speaker at conferences, business schools and universities. He is author of Managing Online Reputation.

Episode Highlights

How Donald Rumsfeld can help you manage your reputation. In his book, Charlie points out that the former Secretary of Defense’s now infamous quote about “known-knowns, known-unknowns, and unknown-unknowns” is useful in planning for the incidents and crisis that can confront your brand online. From furious customers and rogue employees to hostile journalists, you have to have a plan for everything in the digital age.

What about those Unknown-Unknowns? “What you have to do is think laterally in these situations and think pretty broadly.” You also have to be ready with solid systems in place.

Charlie’s #1 area on improving online reputation may surprise you. At first. But when you stop to think about it, his assessment is spot on. “We have to fix customer service. Not just online — everywhere.” This stops many incidents before they can start. Further back, you have to make sure you have a quality product that delivers exceptional value.

What’s an example of a brand who’s gotten crisis management right recently? “Buffer had a data breech — on the weekend as crises always are. They wanted to be helpful.” Beyond rushing to be helpful and responsive, their tone was also spot on. “It’s not a surprise they did this. They get the media. It’s much harder at a larger, more complex organization.

What brand has made Charlie smile recently? “Airbnb. It was an easy process and nicely done.” The epitome of brand smile if ever their was one.

To learn more about Charlie, you can check out his website and follow him on Twitter.

As We Wrap …

Before we go, I want to flip the microphone around to our community …
Recently Andrea D. Smith gave a shout out to our recent episode featuring Sarah Green Carmichael of the Harvard Business Review. Thanks for listening, Andrea!

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