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How to manage your organisation's reputation

It’s important to tackle head on anything that may lead people to question how well your organisation is run or the value of your work. But good preparation can mitigate risks that come from inside or outside of your organisation. 

Things you'll need

  • Identify the situations most like1y to happen
  • Consider the reputational impact of each one
  • Think about your audiences and stakeholders and the impact of their reactions
  • Take steps now to mitigate any problems you've identified
  • Create a crisis comms team and agree roles and responsibilities
  • Template statements mean you'll be able to respond quickly and confidently


1. List, or map out, the situations most likely to happen, and what would have the biggest impact on your reputation.

2. Gather as much intelligence in advance as possible – if you know there are difficult relationships or services with a bad history, explore them in detail so you understand the full picture. 

3. Consider how your audiences and stakeholders would react in each situation and the impact of those reactions.

4. Identify ways to mitigate these risks.  If you need to improve communications or relationships, do it now.

5. Create a crisis comms team and agree roles and responsibilities.  Use a mix of expertise but bear in mind that the people in the team must be senior enough to make quick, informed decisions under pressure

6. Train your spokespeople so they can respond confidently in interviews with the media. 

7. Create template statements so you can react quickly.  these can then be adapted for each situation.

9. Test everything.  Organise a day to run a crisis scenario and iron out out problems.


When (or if) it happens

1. Acknowledge the situation – don’t just hope it will die down.

2. Gather as much information as you can, as quickly as you can, and immediately brief and mobilise your crisis comms team.

3. Make sure you communicate as quickly and as openly as possible.  Stick to the facts.  Avoid ‘no comments’, but don’t speculate.

4. Tailor your pre-drafted statements but don’t get too diverted from your original key messaging.  Be consistent and condfident in everything you say.

5. Be available and work with the media.  If you don't help them understand the situation they will get their information from elsewhere.

7. Keep a close eye on the situation and alter your response accordingly - don’t get caught out because you’ve missed a development.


After it's all over

1. Evaluate how well you handled the situation – what can you learn?
2. Be clear on the situation as it now stands – is it likely to reoccur or evolve? Update your plans accordingly.

3. Get back to business as usual as quickly as possible and talk about all the positive things that are happening.

Further information

Useful links


Page last edited Feb 12, 2019 History

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