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Managing Online Reputation: How to Protect Your Company on Social Media by Charlie Pownall


Today we’re joined by Charlie Pownall and we’re going to talk about his new book, “Managing Online Reputation: How to Protect Your Company on Social Media.”

Charlie Pownall is Managing Director of communications and reputation consultancy CPC & Associates. He 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 to protect, manage and defend their reputations.

Prior to his current role he was Regional Managing Director at public relations consultancy Burson-Marsteller, responsible for the agency’s digital and social media capabilities across Asia-Pacific, and was Global Communications Manager at advertising and marketing network WPP.

He started his career as a speechwriter and press officer at the European Commission.

A regular commentator and speaker at conferences, business schools and universities [and now the marketing book podcast]; he is based in London.

And he was once a bass player for a very bad rock band.

The Host’s Perspective:

One of my favorite quotes from early in the book was: “Thanks to social media, activism, once limited to students, tree huggers, and political dissidents, is now the opium of suburban housewives and white collar workers across the world.” And I was interested to learn that studies show that for companies, reputation risk is now regarded as the second most important risk after financial risk.

When you read this book, you won’t need coffee to wake you up.

The first section entitled “Understanding the Threats” outlines the startling kinds of reputational risk that companies big and small are facing now.  I had no idea about the sophisticated tactics that are being used online to incite action. If you don’t think your company is at risk, then maybe you do need to wake up and smell some coffee.

The book then shows you how to identify possible threats before they might happen. He quotes, The Art of War author Sun-Tzu: “If you know your enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”  And most helpful, Pownall walks you through how to manage incidents and handle crises.

The key to doing both? Have a plan. And remember that having a plan is not what makes the difference, but the planning process is. Or as General Eisenhower famously said “plans are useless, but planning is useful.

If you just follow the template in the book for developing a plan, you will be much better prepared to manage your online reputation.

And your blood pressure will probably drop as well.

Listen to the Interview:


Show Notes:

“Managing Online Reputation: How to Protect Your Company on Social Media” by Charlie Pownall

“The Social Media Strategist” by Christopher Barge

“Exposure” by Michael Woodford

Charlie’s Website (

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