Feature articles

16 November 2017

Controlling reputation – we can’t help if we don’t know!

Marketing and promotions feature | PPC89 November 2017

Controlling reputation - we can't help if we don't know

A first lesson of public relations is to take control of potentially bad press. Being part of a trade association is a useful, but often forgotten, mechanism to help preserve reputation.

Ben Massey, BPCA Marketing and Communications Manager, and Jane Shepherd, trade association PR expert, explain why, and when, you should look to BPCA for support.

The power of reputation

In PPC87 we referenced when Anticimex, a Norwegian pest control firm, hit the headlines for attracting some birds on to glueboards outside a McDonalds restaurant.

The issue was brought to the attention of a local newspaper, and from there it went viral. But, by following expert PR advice, the company was able to take control of the story, and piece by piece, restore its reputation.

PR consultant Jane Shepherd said:

“This is a good example of how a company has restored confidence in its reputation even in a scenario which, at one time, was stacked against them. It’s a model case study of how good PR can step in to put things right.

“In its broadest terms, effective PR can help companies stand out from the crowd and improve customer relations by speaking to the right people at the right time with a clear message. But good PR needs to be built on a strong reputation. It is no use saying how great a service or product is if it is not. You have to practice what you preach.

“That’s at the heart of great PR campaigns, with compelling messages in print, on websites, social media, in awards and many other types of communications making the strongest and best businesses stand out and shine.”

The value of a trade association

Jane points out there’s an element of PR – crisis management – which steps in when a situation hits the buffers: “Crisis management is designed to pick up the pieces when things go wrong. All’s not lost if a situation goes off in the wrong direction, as the reality is mistakes happen – even with the best will in the world.”

Ben Massey, BPCA Marketing and Communication Manager said, “Of course, we have a vested interest in the quality of our members’ reputations, but the reputation of the association is also at stake. Members display our logo and reference membership to secure work.”

Jane advised, “If something does go wrong I always advise alerting your trade association straight away, whether you are at fault or not. In crisis communications, a trade association represents an independent and authoritative voice.

“In those instances where it is your organisation that is in the wrong, and things do become public knowledge, admit to the issue and then say you are sorry, as soon as possible. It is as simple as that, but it is incredible how many companies and organisations avoid this approach.

Ben added, “We do have it written into the BPCA Code of Conduct for members to notify the membership team if they become involved with any legal proceedings. But we also urge members to notify us of any PR activities where we can lend a helping hand.”

BPCA member responsibilities

Within our Code of Conduct (item 2.1.13), BPCA members must notify the Association of any legal proceedings that may have an impact on the Association or its reputation, or that might bring the member into disrepute.

The term ‘legal proceedings’ relates to any legal process, case, suit or matter that the member company is named in.

We also request that you also notify the membership team should you be referenced (positively or negatively) in the public domain of the following:

  • National and regional mainstream media (online or in print)
  • Trade press
  • Conferences, exhibitions and association events
  • Shortlisted awards or prize-giving ceremonies.


BPCA’s marketing team can work with you to improve your profile.

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Ben-Massey-Staff-bubbleBen Massey
Marketing and Communications Manager

16 November 2017  |  PPC89

Source: PPC89