We work with business and individuals to first understand then help manage their reputations. This work ranges from auditing current perceptions of our clients and developing programmes to ensure any misconceptions are corrected, to analysing how information about our clients is presented. We frequently create content for websites, social media channels and corporate materials to ensure that consistently accurate information is available and easy to find.
A state-owned energy company faced serious and ongoing criticism in international media, which had caused reputational damage and spread misinformation about the company. Criticism of the company was closely connected with criticism of the country. At the same time, there was a lack of information about the successful business ventures of the company.
DRD worked with senior leadership of the company across different departments and subsidiaries to understand the positive messaging around corporate strategy, operations, partnerships, financial results and CSR projects. We developed an international media engagement strategy, identifying safe and positive media engagement opportunities. We created briefing packs and met with key journalists to inform and update them about company activities, including the client's role in a major European infrastructure project. We identified and arranged a number of interview opportunities with key international media.
As a result, journalists were better informed about company activity and included our information in their reports. Company leadership interviews were held in tier-one publications and helped to improve general reputation and understanding. With increased transparency, the number of critical articles in the international media decreased.
A UK university had received a highly intrusive Freedom of Information (FOI) request from vocal campaigners opposing its overseas expansion. While it was obligated to complete the request in the time allocated, the university needed to mitigate any negative impact of the FOI's disclosure. The timing of the request coincided with heightened media interest in the new campus. Publication of selected parts of the data, without context, could have jeopardised the educational programme, student recruitment and the host government’s support for the UK university in a major city.
The goal was to complete the FOI request accurately, and with a view to ensuring that the data could neutralise past campaigning assertions. The focus of the submission was on the economic data that proved the clear economic benefits of the university’s strategy in the UK, as well as for the overseas partners, governments and students. A stakeholder briefing activity plan was prepared and dovetailed with UK government relations activities and a civic engagement programme in the host country. Third parties briefed were then able to use the same data available in the FOI to defend the university’s decision to open overseas. Staff were given detailed counsel on the delivery of effective and accurate messaging and training to ensure they shared the accurate data with confidence.
Historically, public institutions in similar circumstances have often seen significant reputational damage and high-profile headlines based on misinformation; however, such a situation was de-risked for the university via a transparent, consistent and controlled response. The sharing of information likely to be placed by others in the public domain was achieved on the university’s terms. Its content and tone of voice were strategically geared to correct past misinformation and decouple campaigns to sully the university’s leadership and strategy.