3 essentials to turn around any bad PR situation

There are hundreds, even thousands of examples of bad PR out there. Here are three essentials to help businesses avoid PR catastrophes and even turn a bad situation around.

Bad publicity is the last thing any business wants or needs. But the way in which you respond determines if the outcome hurts you or could be turned around to help you.

Plan and prepare

You can’t assume bad publicity will never come your way.

You have to be prepared and have a plan in place for just such an event.

This means that you will be in control of the situation and can stop a bad situation escalating.

Manage the situation

Complaints about a product or service can quickly become a news story if you don’t deal with it properly and quickly.

Always answer complaints and/or bad press coverage quickly, politely and always, always, always be honest.


Communication is key.

Keep talking to the press, suppliers, staff and customers. Keep them informed. If it is your fault own up to it and apologise.

Never say “No comment” it sends out the wrong signals and suggests you’re in the wrong and don’t feel bad about the situation.

Ensure that employees do not speak to the press without expressed permission. Only those authorised to speak should speak to the press.

In many cases being upfront, honest and apologetic can show your company in a good light.

The public are very forgiving and if you own the situation and show how you will make things better you can turn a negative situation into a long term positive.

Vertigo 39 announce social media partnership with Tidy Green Clean

Vertigo 39 are proud to announce an exciting new partnership with Tidy Green Clean – the eco friendly, family owned, commercial cleaning company based in Aberdeen and Dundee.

Recently launched following a management buyout, Tidy Green Clean will operate as a franchise model, comprising master franchises, which will be responsible for franchisee activity in regional territories, and local franchisees – the individuals who undertake the cleaning contracts. The deal saw all 50 staff in Scotland transfer from Ecocleen to Tidy Green Clean, and members of the existing team are looking at buying local franchises. With the company targeting 200 franchisees in the next five years, more jobs will be on the horizon.

The new partnership between Vertigo 39 and Tidy Green Clean will see the team at Vertigo 39 provide a range of social media and marketing services to the commercial cleaning company.

Speaking following the announcement, Vertigo 39 co-founder Grant McKenzie said “We are absolutely delighted to announce this new partnership which will see our team deliver a host of fantastic services for Tidy Green Clean.

“It is undeniably an exciting time for both Vertigo 39 and Tidy Green Clean. They have enjoyed exciting growth since their launch and we are delighted to work with them as they continue on that journey. Allied with their commitment to an eco friendly, socially responsible way of doing business we feel that this is a great fit for both parties and are excited to embark on this journey together.”

Based in Aberdeen and Dundee, Tidy Green Clean is a family owned and locally operated commercial cleaning company.

Founded by Andrew Alleway (above right) & David Moncur (above left), Tidy Green Clean provides a one-stop-shop facilities management service to a range of sectors including energy, healthcare, hospitality and professional services.

Backed with over 10 years of industry experience, Tidy Green Clean provides a reliable and friendly service that will make your feel proud of your workplace.

You can find their new social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

The Sex Pistols’ jubilee boat trip – a masterclass in marketing

40 years ago to the day, during Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee celebrations, notorious punk rockers the Sex Pistols set sail on the Queen Elizabeth (coincidence I think not!) in what would become one of the greatest examples of gorilla marketing in history.

Having been banned from playing gigs up and down the country, including dates in Scotland because “we have enough hooligans of our own”, the Sex Pistols were in full anarchy mode and so the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations were the perfect opportunity for them to not only gate-crash the royal celebrations but also cement themselves as the greatest punk band in history.

For those of you who do not know what happened on that historic night let me explain.

The Sex Pistols, backed by Richard Branson and their marketing genius manager Malcolm McLaren, took the decision to hire a boat and sail it down the River Thames, playing a live concert to a select group of fans, blasting out Anarchy in the UK and God Save the Queen as they passed parliament in defiance of what seemed like a national ban that had been placed on them by the ‘establishment’.

The evening ended with the boat being raided by police with many people being arrested and assaulted, including their manager Malcolm McLaren.

Many viewed this as a typically reckless and spur of the moment act by a notoriously controversial group of social delinquents. However, it was actually a carefully planned publicity stunt carried out by a group of very intelligent individuals that connected with the hearts of their target audience.

Unable to play live or gain much positive mainstream media coverage, Malcolm McLaren had to come up with new and creative ways to connect with their audience, an audience disillusioned with the government and looking for a sense of belonging.

Having already been influential in renaming the band’s hit song from ‘No Future’ to ‘God Save the Queen’ the wheels had already began turning in Malcolm’s head and the Silver Jubilee was the perfect opportunity for him to take it to the next level.

Everything was planned down to the finest detail. Not only did they hire a boat that was named after their beloved Queen but, knowing that the police would turn up within minutes of the gig starting, they made sure they had all the correct permits in place so that they were not breaking any laws.

Malcolm also ensured that all the right people were on board, from journalists and editors to photographers and filmmakers, so that, regardless of what happened that night, everyone would know about it.

Malcolm was so committed to the cause that he was determined to get arrested that evening, even taking a beating from the police in the process, whilst everyone else ran away as fast as they could.

There is no denying that this piece of marketing genius propelled the Sex Pistols to the next level, so much so that 40 years on it is still being talked about.

What I urge you all to take away from this incredible event is to not be afraid to take risks and to stand out from the crowd but always remember to do so with your target audience firmly at the forefront of your mind.

And in the words of Johnny Rotten “We mean it, ma-a-a-a-a-an!”

Why is content marketing important?

Customers are now in control of when and how they want to search for information and they love it! So much so that 70% of people have already made their buying decision before they contact a business.

Therefore, it is essential that your target audience find the information they need from you, early in their buying journey, and not from your competitors.

This means that instead of selling them your products or services you need to start giving them and answers.

If you don’t, it is unlikely they will find you at all.

Take a moment to let that sink in.

Do you want to lose business when you can prevent it from happening? Of course not.

While you may not have control over a customer’s buying decision you do have the ability to offer them the information they need to make their decision easier.

This is why content marketing is so important as it helps you to become the first port of call when people think of or search for your product or service.

Content marketing involves creating and sharing valuable and free content that helps educate and/or entertain your audience, rather than trying to directly promote your products or services to them.

For example, American Express have been using content marketing for for the past 100 years.

It all started with a series of popular travel guides in 1915.

This long term commitment to content marketing has served to make American Express one of the world’s most recognisable and most successful brands.

What it is not about is creating lots of content without any strategy or direction.

The key word is ‘valuable’. If you do not offer your audience quality content that stands out from the crowd then they will not read or view it.

Content marketing is used by everyone from sole traders to multi-national corporations for one reason and one reason only.

It works!

You can get the most from your content by ensuring it reaches as many of your target audience as possible.

If you haven’t been promoting your content on social media then get started now.

Try to get influencers in your field interested in you and your content. A share from them can give you valuable third party credibility.

You can also look at asking readers to sign up for your mailing list so you can email them when new content goes live.

Finally you can also look into paid advertising as another way of reaching a wider audience.

If you are looking for more information about content marketing visit our content marketing Q&A page.

Picture of an eagle flying high in the sky above a forest with Vertigo 39's slogan 'Scaling Heights Together' displayed on the front.

Welcome to Vertigo 39

Welcome to Vertigo 39’s new website. Here at Vertigo 39, marketing and communication are our speciality.

We have over 20 years’ experience working with some of the most respected and renowned brands in the world, including Walt Disney World and Tesco.

Our hard-won credentials ensure that we are experts in developing and delivering marketing and customer service strategy.

As one of the most energetic and vibrant marketing and communication companies in the industry we have developed a reputation as trustworthy, knowledgeable and creative.

Thanks to our ability to understand the needs of our clients, across different industries, we have been able to establish ourselves as a company who not only take the time to get to know our clients and their business but also become passionate advocates of them.

Why? Because our clients are our partners, not our customers.

Making life easier for you and your customers

We offer a range of Marketing and Communication services that will make life easier for both you and your customers.

From Social Media to PR and Communication, Training and ConsultancyBranding to Web Design and Management or learning about your audience through Feedback and Insight, we will work with you to develop a strategy that is right for you and your business.

Whatever your goals or objectives are we have the expertise to help you and your business succeed.

We even have a fantastic online resource. Visit our Q&A section for hundreds of answers and advice on how you can help get your message out.

So what are you waiting for? Get in touch today.

The Overlooked Benefits of Business Networking - Vertigo 39

The Overlooked Benefits of Business Networking

Networking in business is a fundamentally important aspect of getting your name out there. However, it has been and is often undervalued. Here we look at some of the overlooked benefits of business networking.

A simple google search for “business networking memes” will throw up a host of hilarious jokes at the expense of what is simply one of the best ways to spread the word, connect and crucially win new business.

There is nothing quite like speaking face to face with people. It is a crucial part of building trust and vital credibility in the competitive world of business.

If you’ve been following our Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin pages you’ll have seen us sharing posts and photos about some of the events we’ve attended.

For us the opportunity to get in a room and chat with other business people is not only a vital opportunity to win new contracts but is an invaluable learning aid.

The sharing of best practise and different ideas across industry boundaries can help show you perspectives you wouldn’t otherwise see and open up different avenues to explore.

Avoiding tunnel vision

In business there is a tendency to simply focus on lead generation and ultimately sales and conversion. Of course these are fundamental to success but you have to be wary that you don’t lose sight of the wider picture. You have to avoid the risks of focusing too narrowly. Shutting yourself off into a tunnel vision and thereby restricting your ability to see the changes coming up ahead.

As the business world evolves you could risk being left behind. Stuck in old and outdated ways that, whilst successful before, are now left trailing behind as innovation moves things forward.

For us at Vertigo 39, learning is an ongoing process. There is no business or industry we cannot learn lessons from. As we look to help industries of all kinds with their Marketing and Communication strategy, be it PR and Advertising, Social Media, Branding, Feedback and Insights or Web Design, we believe passionately in the process of learning and developing ourselves.

Being the best business you can be requires constant learning. So get out there and network. Talk to other businesses. Enjoy the conversations and crucially, enjoy making your business better.