Case Studies

The Case

A UK-resident, international sportsman was arrested following a domestic incident whilst in the USA three years ago. This high-profile individual is a leading competitor with sponsorship deals from brands based in several countries. 

Details of the arrest were reported in the general and trade press of his home country and the local US state. Of particular concern to our client was the sensationalist nature of the reporting from two particular news outlets and a ‘mug-shot’ image that was widely distributed.

The old news links and the mug-shot image continued to appear on page 1 of Google whenever his name was searched online, causing our client some embarrassment both privately and professionally years later.

The Engagement

  • Remove the online links to the old news stories which still appear on page 1 of the Google search results.
  • Remove the mug-shot image that appears at the very top of the Google search results page.

The Challenges

The particular challenges in this case were complex:

  • A high profile individual involved in a news-worthy incident that might be deemed as being in the public interest.
  • An EU resident who competes in North America, Europe and Asia and who has sponsorship and business dealings in each of those countries.
  • The news items were reported in the national press.

The Method

We analysed keyword search volumes to determine which keywords tended to be searched for most frequently and identified 4 keywords of particular focus.

We agreed with the client which countries he wished for us to seek to attend to those 4 particular keywords.

We examined with our legal advisors in those respective countries whether there was a case that could be made to have those news items removed from the national and local press. This was actioned. Of particular concern to the client was whether a ‘Right to removal’ application might re-ignite press interest in the old story and lead to further intrusion.

We worked with the client, informed by a PR firm he instructed separately, to produce positive content and imagery that could be promoted online with a view to telling our client’s current story.

We reported back on a monthly basis to the client with screenshots and detailed analysis of the positions of negative news and image links as these moved down the search results page.

The Outcome

With our combination of PR, SEO and legal approaches we succeeded in getting the negative news links completely removed from pages 1 and 2 of Google in the UK, EU, USA and Australia..

The Case

A UK-based chief executive of an international business, was the subject of an investigative journalism piece two years ago by a national news outlet, where he was accused of bullying behaviour.

The details of the investigation were picked up by other national press outlets since the company she was leading had a number of high profile clients. Our client denied the serious allegations. 

This episode caused much anxiety to our client as her family, staff and client partners became embroiled in the follow-up stories.

The allegations were thoroughly investigated and our client exonerated, but despite this the press seemed less interested in publishing those recent developments and positive outcomes.

The Engagement

  • The client no longer wished for her personal online reputation to be defined by a past investigation for unfounded allegations.
  • To this end, we should promote positive news about our client.

The Challenges

The particular challenges included that fact that client was:

  • A high profile individual involved in a news-worthy incident that might be deemed as being in the public interest.
  • An EU resident who conducts business in North America, Europe and Asia and whose clients include world-leading brands.
  • The news items were reported in the national press.

The Method

We analysed keyword search volumes to determine which keywords tended to be searched for most frequently and identified 8 keywords of particular focus.

We agreed with the client which countries she wished for us to seek to attend to those 8 particular keywords.

We examined with our legal advisors in those respective countries whether there was a case that could be made to have those news items removed from the national and local press. This was actioned.

We worked with the client to produce positive content and imagery that could be promoted online with a view to presenting her current story.

We reported back on a monthly basis to the client with screenshots and detailed analysis of the positions of negative news and image links as these moved down the search results page.

The Outcome

A ‘Right to be forgotten’ request was rejected as the news-story was deemed to be in the public interest, as it often does since only 44% of applications are accepted by Google.

With our combination of PR and SEO we succeeded in getting positive news about our client pushed up onto page 1 of the Google search results.

The Case

A UK-based surgeon, who speaks at conferences worldwide, was charged with rape and the case went to court.

Details of the court case were extensively reported in the local and national press and television news.

Our client was cleared of all charges.

Despite being cleared, our client saw that when an online search of his name is conducted, 7 out of 10 links on page 1 related to the allegations, the court case.

The Engagement

  • Remove the online links detailing the lead up to the court trial and ideally seek to ensure that news of his subsequent exoneration feature more prominently on page 1 of the Google search results. This last point was something he felt the press were less interested in conveying.

The Challenges

There were numerous challenges in this engagement:

  • A professional in a position of authority, accused of a very serious crime. 
  • Despite being cleared it might be deemed the story remains prominent in the public interests.
  • An EU resident who attends conferences in the USA, Europe and Asia.
  • The news items were reported in the national press.

The Method

We were confident we could make a ‘Right to be forgotten’ request to Google as our client had been cleared at trial. However, we needed to work with lawyers to ensure we did not fall foul of the matter being deemed to be in the public interest. This application was successful – meaning news items were completely cleared from all EU states and the UK.

However, since a ‘Right to be forgotten’ request only applies to the EU, we needed to ensure that the news outlets in the foregin countries that our client visited in a professional capacity were aware of the latest developments in the story, i.e. of him being cleared. Some outlets responded positively by removing old links and/ or updating their stories. 

Where news outlets refused to remove details of the original allegations, we worked with the client to create positive news items that would show up for agreed keywords searches.

We reported back on a monthly basis to the client with screenshots and detailed analysis of the positions of negative news, images and video links as these moved down the search results page.

The Outcome

With our combination of PR, SEO and legal approaches we succeeded in getting the negative news links completely removed from pages 1 and 2 of Google in those different countries.

The Case

An independent premium car servicing specialist, offering a main dealer level of service using original parts and factory trained technicians at a price much less than the main dealer in the city found itself the target of a series of poor online reviews. 

The client became suspicious because there seemed to be more reviews than cars serviced and that one of overriding themes in the suspect reviews was that prospective customers would be ‘better off going to the main dealer’.

The client’s business had already been severely affected by Covid-related lockdowns and could not afford to have business diverted away through a ‘black PR’ campaign such as this.

The client was quite certain as to which of their competitors was likely behind the negative campaign but did not have the time and budget to engage a lawyer to request that the suspected party cease and desist – only to likely get a response that it was not them.

The Engagement

  • Ensure the client had as many positive reviews posted as possible.
  • Seek to demonstrate the fake reviews were just that.
  • Ask Trustpilot, Feefo and Google Reviews to remove fake and negative reviews.

The Challenges

The particular challenges included:

  • Our client wanted to maintain their integrity, even if their competitors had not and so did not want us to merely post ‘fake-positive’ reviews or counter with ‘fake-negative’ reviews of the competitor.
  • The client had no structured process for managing online reviews.
  • The client’s budget was limited.

The Method

We analysed the series of suspected fake reviews and identified several handles used on multiple occasions in a relatively short window. These were reported to the respective review services.

We made the case to the client that ‘online review management’ is a form of marketing that needs resources and a consistent and business-like approach. 

We managed the online reviews on behalf of the client and focused on understanding volumes of reviews received, themes discussed and drafted a series of responses the client could use.

We requested the client call everyone of their customers after the delivery of their vehicle to determine if they were happy with their service and ask for them to leave online reviews.

The Outcome

The online review management plan that we developed and operated in conjunction with our client, was recently handed over fully to the client, as they now feel very confident in handling online reviews – be they negative or positive.

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in protecting your online business reputation.

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