Advising independent businesses at risk of a reputation crisis Working with charities faced with reputation crises Supporting individuals whose reputations are at risk of a crisis Offering restaurants and food businesses crisis management advice Preparing risk registers and crisis management plans for businesses, charities and people Joanna Biddolph
Amethyst Communications

Phone: 07775 902904

A splash of paint mimicking a piece of amethyst, painted for me by a friend Amethyst Logo Text

Reputation and crisis management for independent businesses, charities and people

All businesses, charities and individuals face risks that could damage their reputations. Apart from risks that are common to all – fraud, disgruntled employees, health and safety failures – each will face risks specific to their industry, cause or profession. In business it might be serious or fatal accidents, infiltration by illegal workers, food poisoning. For charities it could be abuse of people in their care, criticism from service users, celebrities behaving contradictorily. With individuals it is often extremely personal.

All these risks start as issues. They are issues that pose risks that might damage reputations. They become crises if they have not been properly identified, measured, mitigated and prepared for. If you haven’t taken steps to reduce the impact of risks, and planned what you will do if the issue blows, your reputation could be damaged forever.

With over 30 years’ reputation and crisis management experience, I will help you prepare for the worst and, if it does happen, guide you through the crisis and back to business including by:

bullet conducting an audit and preparing a risk register identifying issues, assessing risk levels and proposing mitigation actions;
bullet producing a crisis management plan so you know what to do and say, when and how, to manage the worst if it arises;
bullet organising workshops to inform and train people who are responsible for managing issues and responding to crises;
bullet running rehearsals that put your crisis management plan to the test;
bullet providing media training so you know how to manage traditional and social media;
bullet guiding you through the crisis if it happens;
bullet advising you on how to recover from the crisis and return to business success.

Reputation crisis management workshops and training
It is a fact that the damage done to reputation in a crisis far outweighs the cost of recovering from it. It is also true that minimising risks reduces the likelihood of a crisis occurring and its impact. Spending to reduce the risks, plan for inevitable crises, and decide how to respond means lower costs when the crisis occurs and a swifter return to normal.

Being prepared for the onslaught gives you direction and confidence from the minute things start to go wrong. Equally, when people do and say the right things in a crisis, it builds confidence, trust and support in others. Getting it right means that businesses, charities and individuals will almost certainly emerge with their reputations enhanced. Do and say the wrong thing and you may never recover, professionally or personally.

If you would like to protect your reputation, or need issues and crisis management advice or support, do get in touch: 07775 902904 or email me.

For tips and comments on crises in the news do read mycrisis management blog:


Corporate writer and freelance journalist

journalismWriting has been an urge since the days of saying thank you in ink on Basildon Bond.

As a journalist writing about life, taking a sideways look and with a light touch is my way. I live to eat and I travel to eat – so food and travel feature most. I’m a passionate supporter of independent businesses, restaurants and shops and exposing the issues they battle with is a mission. Waste and recycling are recurring themes.

I’ve written for The Independent, Air Canada’s CheckIn, Square Meal and my local community website. For three and a half years, I wrote the local issue column of The Green, distributed in west London. I also wrote its Kids’ Corner column for a year, using a pseudonym, plus other features – food, books, people, places, events – for The Green and many of its sister magazines (published by Archant Life).  For six heady weeks I had my own column in PR Business, taking a sideways look at freelance life. That was deliciously intoxicating. The magazine folded – not because of my column. 

I write for businesses and charities – websites, newsletters, blogs, articles, handbooks, guides, annual reports. I was born blogging – long before blogging was born. There are always two angles: what you want to tell your clients and what your clients want to know. There is always a gap between the two; I fill that gap. 

If you want fast-paced, easy-to-read, embracing, expansive content that works for your business or charity … please ask.


About me

bullet Honest, straightforward approach
bullet Determined about delivering a high quality service (and expecting it when on the receiving end)
bullet Passionate supporter of independent businesses and fighter for justice
bullet Likes to eat, especially seasonal, local foods (except for indulging in Indian Alphonso mangoes every spring)

Photo of me wearing my corporate colour

I started working life in … I was going to put party politics but that ignores my earlier unexpected stint in kitchens: 14 months cooking, waiting and handling difficult customers and situations in the fantastically popular La Piñata, Harvard Square. After three months at the Cordon Bleu in London, I got lost in the vast, underground kitchens of The Berkeley Hotel slicing tomatoes (unskinned!) for ladies lunching in Le Perroquet. Cooking 70s wine bar food followed, at the much-loved Brahms & Liszt in Covent Garden.

Then the cauldron of party politics (nothing beats working through a general election for the winning side), a flash in the pan year as a student then a year in a disability charity before my former boss, a newly elected MP, enticed me to the House of Commons. From there I moved into the steam of political pressure group campaigning before falling into the fire of lobbying. Working for Westminster Strategy, then the largest lobbying consultancy, meant doing government and media relations plus crisis management. Transferring to the pressure-cooker that is reputation crisis management was logical.

After a short spell at the NFU (recovering from the first BSE crisis and lamb wars) I became head of press at the Corporation of London a year before the Bishopsgate bomb went off. Helping the City recover its leading international reputation was our focus. My last PAYE job was at the UK Steel Association where I was responsible for all its communications, including recommending and overseeing a change in its name (from the widely unheard of Bispa).

And so, in 1998, to self-employment specifically to promote independent businesses and charities including by helping them prepare for and manage reputation crises. I’ve worked with airlines in the immediate aftermath of fatal crashes; charities disrupted by disgruntled former employees, nimbyism and celebrities; restaurants and cafés facing damaging competition; and individuals under personal attack.

Building business
and professional reputations

It’s all about service. What you do for your clients or customers – going the extra mile to provide what they need – that’s what I promote. Often, businesses and professionals don’t know just how good a service they provide or what impresses their clients; I unearth it in a sensitive but detailed exploration, looking at it from the customers’ point of view, asking the questions they would ask if they could. If any aspect is not up to scratch, we’ll work together to make improvements. I then recommend what you should do to get better known for your unique approach including by:

bullet devising a communications strategy: recommending and developing a communications strategy to attract the attention you deserve from the people you want to impress including through:
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  bullet corporate communications: so outsiders understand what you do
  bullet internal communications: so your staff can be your best ambassadors
  bullet reputation management: preparing you for the worst, guiding you through it if it happens
  bullet corporate social responsibility: highlighting your ethics and values
  bullet community relations: building important alliances
bullet corporate writing: developing your communications to keep your audiences informed
  bullet conveying your unique image, style and tone
  bullet developing websites, blogs, newsletters
  bullet writing newsletters, blogs, brochures, reports
  bullet editing articles, blogs
  bullet compiling questionnaires, fact sheets, surveys
  bullet devising displays and exhibition materials
  bullet honing presentations

If you’d like to talk about how I could help your business do contact me on: 020 8993 6764 or email me.


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Crisis management blog about reputation crises in the news

For tips for preparing for, managing and surviving business crises read my blog.

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What others say:

“I would like to thank you for all your help. I was particularly impressed with how you managed to translate legal jargon into plain English. I was equally impressed with the speed at which you produced all the text for our website.”
Susan Davies, Partner, Watson Marshal Solicitors

“Jo always produced copy that was engaging and relevant to my target audience. Her features were always the ones which inspired readers to write in and share their own experiences whilst her balanced approach ensured that there were two sides to every story – both represented without bias.”
Clare Kelly, Editor, The Green

“Thanks to Jo Biddolph for her amazing support and energy and for working night and day organising all the PR during my Round the World and Bach busking tour.” David Juritz, Musequality

“A perfect article, Jo – right on the nail!”
Maxine Briggs, Editor, The Green

“I really should start using other freelancers but you do such a good job – let me know if I am relying too much on you!”
Maxine Briggs, Editor, The Green


What’s in a name?

People do ask so here goes. I wanted a word beginning with A, to come high in alphabetical lists. I didn’t want to use my name (I promote others, not me). So I wafted through a dictionary and learned that amethyst is mined in India (where I was born), opens intuition (essential for client-consultant and business-customer relationships), brings stability (useful in a crisis) and prevents intoxication (helpful during food reviews). It seemed a bit new-agey (I’m very down to earth) but would do. As for the colours, I love purple and red so was delighted when a friend reminded me that purple represents authority and red demonstrates power (relevant to my clients’ businesses). Would I make the same decision if I were starting out today? Now that’s an even longer answer …

Need help to build or protect your reputation? Do get in touch: 020 8993 6764 or 07775 902904 or email me
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