New year, new book: introducing Brand Vandalism

We’re back for more. Steve Earl and I have just signed a deal with Bloomsbury for a follow-up book to Brand Anarchy.

Whenever we’re invited to speak about Brand Anarchy people want to know two things: firstly, how bad can it get, can you share some examples, and secondly, is there a solution?

Brand Vandalism will answer both of these questions.

It will explore the dirtiest corner of the audience – the people who are mobilising themselves to cause reputational damage in a war on the organisations that they dislike. The Internet allows them to wreak havoc, but also forces a level of engagement and dialogue that organisations, public and private, have never had to contemplate before.

Engagement isn’t an option – it’s a necessity.

Brands are going to have to get to grips with media change, audience engagement and more agile communication. But they’re going to need to be well-prepared for the vandals too, with a smart approach to not only dealing with the threat of their deadliest reputation enemies, but turning their criticism and attempts at image sabotage into a positive.

Our first book Brand Anarchy is billed as a provocative examination of the impact of media change on what we think and say about organisations. It describes how the reputation landscape now looks because of a vastly changed media landscape.

Now in its second reprint is has received critical acclaim and positive write-ups in business and trade magazines. It has been adopted by many universities as a recommended text for students of brand, communication, marketing and public relations throughout Western Europe.

But perhaps the greatest accolade is that the phrase brand anarchy has started to enter the business vernacular as a description of the challenges that a company faces in managing the assault on its reputation from different forms of media.

We hope Brand Vandalism will have a similar impact.

Since writing Brand Anarchy Steve and I have both left Speed, the agency we founded in 2009. Steve is building Zeno in Europe and I’m spearheading social and digital for Ketchum in Europe. It’ll be great to work together on this project.

We’ve set ourselves an ambitious timeline to the book out before the end of the year. Interviews and writing are well underway but if you’ve any thoughts or suggestions we’d love to hear from you.

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Stephen Waddington

Partner and Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum and Visiting Professor in Practice, Newcastle University.


    • Thanks James. The Banksy quote if genius and you’ll note that I’ve nabbed the image for my blog post. I’m going to try and track the quote down to its original source. Getting a quote from the man himself would be awesome. His work was the inspiration for the cover of Brand Anarchy.

  1. First anarchists, now vandals – I wonder what dastardly crew might complete the trilogy? Squatters? Great to hear the second instalment is in the works – congratulations and I’ll look forward to reading more of your verbiage.

  2. Rock on!

    I hope you can include some examples of brands and their lack of attention to customer reviews. Looking at the mobile side of things, reviews and recommendations play a vital part to the success of adoption. However, addressing negative views are vital here.

    Glad to hear there’s a follow up book!

  3. Predominately, the sites that you mention. But in our app obsessed times, many brands are creating mobile apps to reach new customers with their services. However, how many brands monitor the reviews left for their apps? Negative reviews not only only look bad, but also push down the app in the search ranking for iOS and Android.

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