Posts Tagged ‘mhp brand and reputation’

Reputation and litigation: what the Wagatha Christie trial can teach us

Posted on: May 19th, 2022 by Tomas White

Whilst the tabloid-style content is entertaining for the casual observer, the darker side to having personal grievances played out in a public arena is currently being highlighted in the bitter and bloody Depp vs Heard trial. And with the court of public opinion still very much out in the Vardy case, there are some key principles that businesses can take from this affair.

1. It’s never only going to be about the issue in question

As Peter Andre learned to his detriment, legal teams will make best use of related issues from the past to demonstrate habitual practices or tendencies towards a certain behaviour, no matter how damaging or long forgotten they might be. Businesses and individuals involved in any litigation must get ready to respond to multiple lines of questioning and for their character or culture to be hauled under the spotlight. The Depp vs Heard trial has seen this play out in a painfully personal fashion, with every aspect of their mental health and the toxic relationship being broadcast in real-time to the world.


2. Keep your friends close

Wayne Rooney’s revelation that the FA reportedly asked that Rebekah Vardy “calm down” coming close on the heels of a former FA employee calling her evidence “simply untrue” in the press, shows the importance of having advocates to support your case. Credible friends who can vouch for your character in public (whether inside or outside the court) offer a valuable reputation boost.


3. Keep the media even closer

The court of public opinion matters almost as much as the actual litigation process. Here in the UK, court proceedings aren’t televised so those involved are reliant on the journalists in attendance to pick a side and tell their story to a captive public audience. It’s much easier to get someone on side when you know them or have taken the time to brief them with interesting content. In short, get to know the relevant media in advance of the trial, be helpful to them and keep them close throughout proceedings.


4. Preparation is the most important thing

Zara vs Prada had its media moment but for the individuals involved in litigation, the most important battle is in the mind. A legal fight can sometimes get ugly – the opposing sides and their legal teams have an interest in making the other’s life as hard as possible. It’s vital to be mentally prepared for this and to have rehearsed all possible lines of questioning and responses to them in advance. A calm, reasoned response will diminish the impact of even the toughest question.


5. The facts don’t always matter 

The media will tell the most attention grabbing and salacious story almost irrespective of the facts and, as we have seen with Depp Vs Heard, many of the technical and detailed facts of the case almost don’t matter. This is especially true of the Judge’s verdict, as there is not always a clear winner in these cases. You may feel you won on many counts, but one impactful finding against you can dramatically shift how the decision is portrayed in the media and throughout the court of public opinion.


While most litigation won’t be front page news for days on end, the long-term reputational impact of legal proceedings can have serious repercussions for the individuals involved, and even call into question a business’s licence to operate. Our specialist litigation communications team provide strategic support and counsel when legal disputes have the potential to impact reputation, working to minimise exposure, control the narrative and protect your reputation. To find out more contact our Head of Crisis and Risk, Barnaby Fry at / +44 (0)7768 475 452.

Behind the scenes of broadcast news – getting noticed in the newsroom

Posted on: February 17th, 2022 by Tomas White

Landing a spokesperson on broadcast news can be one of the greatest hits when it comes to securing coverage. It’s visual, shareable, likeable, and with more of us adapting to hybrid-working, viewing figures across channel-to-channel continue to rise and trump most print circulation figures.

TV boasts some of the biggest names and familiar faces who we rely on to provide us with the inside scoop on the latest headlines. They are the people we trust to uncover what’s really going on and for many, they are the first faces we see in the morning as we tune into breakfast news and the last before we switch off after News at 10.

So, as PR professionals, how do we ensure our clients feature? Charlotte Grant recently joined the Brand and Reputation team at MHP Mischief from ITN, and here are some of her top tips to help nail your next broadcast pitch.

1. Preparing the perfect pitch

When preparing your pitch note, the key is knowing your top line in one sentence. For broadcast media, it’s about clarity and impartially and should include these three things:

When assessing if your story is right for broadcast, it’s important to ask yourself why it is relevant and is it going to resonate. You should consider the angle not just for the channel, but also for their specific programming.

Human Interest
Broadcast is an opportunity to tell your story visually, and in TV, one of the main ways to do this is by putting people at the heart of it. With programming across the day, broadcast news is built on its people – focusing on problems, concerns, or achievements that resonate with its audience.

Case Study
Offering the full package in a broadcast pitch can help your story go a long way and it is almost vital to your success. Competition is rife between the broadcasting channels, so if you are not pursuing an exclusive route, then it’s best to have multiple case studies available, offering a different one to each channel.

2. Context and considerations

Highly Regulated
One of the biggest considerations for pitching broadcast news that often gets overlooked is that broadcast media is governed by Ofcom. As a highly regulated programme, the newsroom cannot show any bias to how they report on a story or issue, so it’s worth making your spokespeople aware of this as they prepare their talking points.

News, in whatever form, is reported with due accuracy and presented with due impartiality” – Ofcom.

With audiences’ having an overwhelming need to consume information constantly, for example throughon-demand services and 24-hour news streaming, reporting on stories in real-time and showcasing why a story is relevant for now is critical. The newsroom is a high-pressured environment and is extremely fast-paced as they look to break a story before anyone else. It is no good pitching a story for the next day if it takes time to set up and you don’t have the capabilities to provide the right content.

B-roll or not to B-roll?
Having video footage could be another way to get your foot in the door with a producer. Having b-roll as part of your press office bank of assets should be a consideration if you are planning to pitch this media, but be aware that anything overtly branded will be disregarded.

3. Name in Lights

Once you’ve secured the opportunity, it’s important to remember that broadcast television quickly adapts and reacts to the news agenda faster than any other medium, which means your story can be dropped at any point. However, remaining on top of the news agenda will allow you to stay close to the stories that continue to develop and increase your future chances of featuring during a news bulletin. Keep the conversation open, and once a producer is aware of what you can offer, it shouldn’t be long until your name is in lights.

MHP Mischief engaged to launch new world tour for fast-growing sport padel

Posted on: February 10th, 2022 by Tomas White

The agency, and its Spanish partner Atrevia, are delivering a comprehensive programme of support in the build-up to the tour’s launch, including brand development and media and stakeholder relations.

Padel is one of the world’s fastest-growing sports, with more than 25 million players around the world and celebrity fans including Serena Williams and David Beckham. A doubles racquet sport, played on small courts, it is sociable and accessible, which has helped fuel its growth.

The mandate builds on MHP Mischief’s growing roster of sports clients, including The Hundred, beIN Media Group and the Kiyan Prince Foundation, as well as sports sponsorship activation for Three, JustEat and E.ON.

The project team combines creatives, strategists, media relations experts and designers from across the agency’s Mischief, Studio and Brand & Reputation teams.

Nick Barron, Deputy CEO of MHP Mischief, commented:

“This is an amazing project to be involved with. Padel is already one of the most popular sports in some major markets around the world, and it’s still in its infancy. The tour will turbocharge the sport’s growth and help new fans and players discover what makes it so special. The tour has stellar partners and unlimited potential.”

Why the appointment of Deborah Turness is a coup for the BBC

Posted on: January 6th, 2022 by Tomas White

Deborah Turness was my boss when I first joined ITN in 2006. A fireball of energy and creativity, she would come to the morning newsroom meeting to discuss the day’s agenda, armed with newspaper clippings, full of ideas about how to make ITV’s news coverage stand out. She was always driving home the message that ITN may be up against much bigger news beasts with more resources, but as a smaller operation we could succeed by being nimble, thinking outside the box and ultimately telling the day’s stories in the most compelling and engaging way for viewers.

Now, as the new CEO of news and current affairs at the BBC, she has arguably the most important job in British broadcast journalism. After Fran Unsworth announced her departure, there had been speculation her replacement would come from within. But in the end, the BBC broke a cycle of internal appointments and went for an external candidate – one that is used to trailblazing.

Turness brings to the role a wealth of experience. She was Editor of ITV News for nearly a decade – the first woman to hold the role. When she joined NBC News, she became the first female president of a network news division in the US. Not bad for a Brit! Her international and commercial background perhaps explains the change in title from director to CEO (and with it, a salary increase – Unsworth was on £340k and Turness will be paid £400k). The BBC says the new title is to reflect its ambition to “continue to build the BBC’s global news brand.”

As a junior, she is a boss you really want to deliver for. That kind of dedication from employees could prove crucial at a time when the BBC faces such a mighty agenda. The journey ahead for the organisation and its new recruit will be anything but easy. But with Turness’ unique blend of dynamism, business expertise and reputation for impartiality – expect an interesting ride.

#longlivetheprince wins at PR Week Awards

Posted on: October 28th, 2021 by Tomas White

#LongLiveThePrince for the Kiyan Prince Foundation told the story of Kiyan, a young man whose life was cut tragically short in 2006, aged 15, when he was stabbed in the heart and killed, while trying to break up a fight outside his school in Edgware, London.

Kiyan, who played for the Queens Park Rangers youth team, was described as ‘a prodigious footballing talent’, and the campaign imagined Kiyan’ 15 years after his death, aged 30, when he would have been at the peak of his professional footballing career.

Working with EA Sports, creative studio Framestore, the University of Bradford and friends, family and former QPR teammates, the campaign team brought Kiyan back to life inside FIFA21, recreating his playing style and creating a photoreal likeness of how Kiyan would have appeared aged 30. QPR announced his ‘signing’ and awarded him the squad number 30 for the season. With support from JD, Adidas and Topps, Kiyan’s story appeared across London, generated more than 1,000 pieces of media coverage and the support of influencers including Raheem Sterling and F2Freestylers.

Developed by MHP Mischief, the campaign won PR Week gold for Best Integrated Campaign, Best Not-For-Profit, Best Content, Best Creative and Best Purpose Campaign.

The impact of the campaign is still being felt, both by the gamers who can play as Kiyan and learn about his story – and through the charitable donations that fund the Kiyan Prince Foundation’s outreach work. Kiyan’s legacy is no longer one of heartbreak, but of inspiration, love and support.

Commenting on the five award wins, the PR Week judges added:

“This campaign approached knife crime from a new angle and found a way to connect with audiences, as shown by the fundraising achieved. #LongLiveThePrince was everywhere. It aligned many major partners and offered strong storytelling with a powerful personal story in an innovative way to a very targeted audience.

“We cannot praise this campaign enough – touching and very well executed. It will be talked about and held up as an example of best practice for years to come. The team should be incredibly proud.”

MHP Mischief unites for Great Big Green Week

Posted on: October 1st, 2021 by Tomas White

The MHP Mischief team has been supporting our client, The Climate Coalition, with Great Big Green Week.

In a large-scale project, we’ve provided services including brand strategy, narrative development, creative and design, social media and strategic media relations.

The Fight That Unites has been our creative theme for Great Big Green Week 2021. It’s a declaration that, no matter what walk of life we’re from, we all care about nature and the environment. At a time when polarisation is more visible than ever, climate action is something that brings us together.

Across Great Big Green Week, we’ve launched a number of different executions, including:

  • A study on the impact that weather linked to climate change has on grassroots football – this achieved over 180 pieces of coverage, including a partnership with BT Sport which saw its presenters including Glenn Hoddle, Joleon Lescott and Robbie Savage wearing ‘The Fight That Unites’ badges on air
  • Research on the benefits that nature has to our mental health and wellbeing – achieving over 100 pieces of media coverage
  • A projection of ‘The Fight That Unites’ onto Lulworth Cove cliffs in Dorset – which was one of The Guardian and The Telegraph’s ‘Pictures of the Day’ and was the front page of the Western Daily Press
  • Turning iconic London landmarks, the Wembley Arch and the BT Tower, green for the day
  • Business features with British Sewing Bee judge, Patrick Grant, on the benefits that green jobs can have for nature and the environment
  • Instagram Live chats between young female climate activists in the UK and the Global South, focusing on the way that women are disproportionately impacted by climate change
  • Analysis of the housing market and the threat that flooding poses to the sales potential of at-risk properties – achieving national coverage with Sky News, Daily Mirror, Daily Express, Daily Star, Times Radio and LBC
  • A new art installation – Forever Home – by artist, Richard Woods, at Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire to dramatise the threat that flooding poses to homes and treasured heritage properties.

After a busy but highly rewarding week, we’ve achieved over 400 pieces of coverage for a great cause. More importantly, we’ve helped The Climate Coalition to show just how much people care about the issue of climate change across the country, at a time when action is bec


oming increasingly urgent.



Introducing The Purpose Pathfinder – storytelling in a polarised world

Posted on: July 13th, 2021 by Tomas White

In a tribal world, brands have two choices: become part of a tribe or form their own. Either way you turn, a clear statement of who you are as a business, why you exist and your contribution to society is key. A clearly-articulated brand purpose is not just a differentiator, it’s now something that many customers, investors and employees expect.

However, as society becomes more polarised, identity binds people within tribes more strongly and that makes finding common ground harder. In that respect, purpose has the ability to create brand detractors as well as advocates.

The stakes, therefore, are high: get your story wrong and you can lose customers and damage your most important relationships – but get it right and you can build loyalty and engage new audiences. This is a challenge that demands real audience insight, not just professional instincts.

Building on our work with The Depolarization Project, The University of Cambridge, YouGov and More in Common, we have developed a unique new model. The Purpose Pathfinder will help our clients design brand purpose narratives that resonate with their audiences in the strongest possible way, while also balancing the polarised views of different audiences. The model sets our three narrative routes available to brands:

  • Change: Fight injustice and take a stand on one side of an argument. Change narratives are adopted by brands including Patagonia, and encourage polarisation.
  • Community: Taking care of people and the world around you, bringing everyone together. Community narratives are used by the likes of John Lewis, and encourage depolarisation.
  • Utility: Focus on personal flourishing and helping customers live their best lives, such as Porsche does with its high-performance engineering. Utility narratives sidestep social issues and focus on the individual.

The Pathfinder gives brands a score against these three routes and compares it to the expectations that audiences have of the businesses they buy from. This means we can identify where the biggest gaps exist and create narratives and campaigns to fix them.

It means brand leaders and communicators can understand their audiences’ competing expectations, anticipate risks, and build on the aspects of their story that will have the greatest impact. The model will also help businesses who are in the full glare of the public spotlight on contentious topics, by providing useful guidance to inform reactive communications strategies.



To read more about the Purpose Pathfinder, or to speak to us about your brand purpose challenges, email

In conversation with: Gillian Tett

Posted on: July 9th, 2021 by Tomas White

We were delighted to host Gillian Tett, Chair of the Editorial Board and Editor-at-Large for the Financial Times, and author of the new book, Anthro-Vision: How Anthropology Can Explain Business and Life. This was the latest in our Networked Age series of interviews, exploring the ways in which digital technology is reshaping society and the communications landscape.

In conversation with our Head of Brand and Reputation, Rachel Bower, Gillian explored how anthropological intelligence is an important tool in decision-making for leaders and communicators, why big tech should pay it proper attention, and how anthropology is informing the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the key takeaways for communicators were:

  • Embrace culture shock to increase self-awareness, challenge your own cultural assumptions and gain empathy
  • Correlation is not causation – layering anthro-intelligence onto data elevates it beyond a tool for tracking or modelling
  • Prepare for a more polarised world as a result of the Pandemic, which has made it harder for all of us to escape our bubbles. Download our Networked Age Guide to Communicating in a Polarised World here.

Catch up on some of the highlights below:

Long Live the Prince

Posted on: June 16th, 2021 by Tomas White

Created to inspire young people to be the best version of themselves and drive donations for the Foundation, the Brand and Reputation team at MHP leapt to the challenge of getting coverage for the campaign across all major media outlets. And the results are extraordinary – 915 pieces of international coverage, including every UK national besides the FT, 50 interviews secured for the campaign spokespeople and heaps of prime time broadcast, including a 12 minute segment on BBC Breakfast. Following wall-to-wall coverage on launch day, twice as many people searched Kiyan’s name on Google last month than when he died, driving valuable supporters to the Foundation website.

Brand and Reputation team member Carly Spencer shares her experience of working on Long Live the Prince here:

We all have memories that last a lifetime, and working on the Kiyan Prince Foundation’s Long Live the Prince campaign certainly fits that bill for me. Over a year in the making, it was a One-Engine campaign that saw many of agency’s disciplines work together, and the result was something special.

In 2006 Kiyan Prince was tragically murdered outside of his school while trying to break up a fight. 15 years later Long Live the Prince campaign brought him back to life as the professional footballer he was destined to be, while celebrating the incredible person he was.

There is a lot to be taken from the story of Kiyan’s life, but what’s so electric about the campaign is its universality – the narrative of unity, destiny and sportsmanship can speak to and inspire everyone at some level. Yet there is one message above all else that should always be remembered from the campaign: we all have stories to tell, unique routes to take, and dreams to follow.

I think we’re all brought up to believe in our dreams and that if we put our minds to it we can be anything we want to be. But working with the Kiyan Prince Foundation has reminded me is that no matter what your ‘thing’ might be, becoming your somebody is everlasting. Hearing his father Mark speak about his dedication to supporting young people at risk of knife crime and violence is something to be admired in abundance.

The Kiyan Prince Foundation not only touches on the tenderness of the Black experience across the UK, but it also echoes volumes about the chances we all get in life – no matter if they are missed or caught.

The Long Live the Prince story was more than just a campaign; it was a moment of integrity, ambition, and alliance that will have a lasting effect.

MHP Mischief makes senior hire as Brand + Reputation team experiences strong growth

Posted on: May 5th, 2021 by Tomas White

Hannah’s appointment comes on the back of a successful eighteen months for the team since it was formed at the end of 2019 when it brought together MHP Mischief’s existing consumer and corporate teams to deliver an integrated offer.

During the last year the team has been appointed to several new mandates from E.ON, Samsung, HelloFresh, IWG, Global Roundtable for Sustainable Brief (GRSB) and Wine Drinkers UK as well as growing existing briefs with clients including TalkTalk.

MHP Mischief’s Brand + Reputation team was set up with the appointment of Rachel Bower in September 2019 and blends corporate and consumer expertise by combining corporate advisers, brand strategists, ex journalists and campaigning experts to help clients navigate an increasingly complex stakeholder environment.

Hannah joins the agency from ThreeSixty where she was Head of Reputation, working on clients including Compare the Market, De Beers, gohenry, Avanti Communications and Doctor Martens. Prior to this Hannah worked as an issues-management and reputation expert at H&K Strategies, working with clients including Shell, Intel, GSK, Givaudan, P&G, Mondelez and Associated British Foods.

Rachel Bower, MHP Mischief’s Head of Brand + Reputation, said:

“I’m delighted that Hannah has joined our team at such an exciting time. She brings with her a wealth of experience and a proven track record of advising clients with complex reputation challenges and leading integrated campaigns that reach consumers, business leaders and policy makers. Hannah’s appointment comes on the back of a number of hires across other levels in 2020 that support and accelerate our growth.”

Commenting on her new role, Hannah Walsh, Director said:

“The opportunity to join such an impressive team is a real privilege, given its breadth of expertise, disruptive approach and original offer. I look forward to bringing my integrated and cross-sector strategic communications experience to the table, working closely with the incredibly talented MHP Mischief clients and colleagues.”