THRSXTY has appointed Rob Lester as reputation director to lead the agency’s new reputation management division.
He joins from Good Relations, where he was head of issues and crisis management. Lester will work with CEO Oliver Wheeler to protect and enhance the reputations of clients across the Exposure Group of agencies. Wheeler previously founded and led the reputation and crisis management practice at freuds.
“When it comes to reputation, clients want to work with people who have a proven track record,” said Wheeler. “Between us, Rob and I have over 40 years of working at the sharp end.”
Brands under increasing scrutiny
THRSXTY’s decision to create a reputation management division illustrates the pressure brands are under to protect their reputation.
Lester explained: “Brands are certainly under more scrutiny than ever before – because of 24-hour rolling news and social media, but also because there’s a greater expectation from the public for ethical behaviour and transparency.
“There’s never been a more important time to invest in your reputation. Yet, too often it remains an afterthought for brands and only comes onto the board’s radar when something goes wrong. We work with our clients to develop modern, proactive reputation management strategies that genuinely contribute to business success.”
Maintaining brand values in a crisis
Speaking out and taking a stance on social issues is now a key feature of brand messaging, helping brands reach consumers who expect them to stand for something more than making money.
“The recent trend for brands to make their values a more central part of their marketing is a positive step that can help enhance a company’s reputation,” said Lester. “But with that comes an expectation that they’ll stand up for those values in reaction to a breaking scandal.”
He added: “We often talk about a brand’s values becoming their moral compass in a crisis, so there’s a need to be consistent in their communication. There’s a danger that the positive messages they put out there could be undermined if they don’t stand up for their beliefs in times of trouble.”