Reputation Management in Theory

Similar to public relations, reputation management is ‘the practice of attempting to shape public perception of a person or organisation by influencing online information about that entity’. Further to PR, reputation management tackles the engagement of customers in a dialogical sense, rather than just selling to a passive audience. James Grunig from the Measurement Standard says, ‘our research essentially shows that reputation is a byproduct of relationships, so that if communication can be used to develop and cultivate relationships a good reputation usually follows.’ This is where reputation management differs ever so slightly to public relations; whilst PR practitioners and organisations respect greatly the view their audiences have on them, RM delves deeper into the overall reputation of a company.

In terms of reputation management for fabric, they have worked profusely over their 18 year life to build strong relationships with not only their local community and customers, but local authorities, media outlets, activists, investors and more alike. This model of communication (mirrored in the PR sector also) was first created by Coombs & Holladay. They adapted their initial model to a more in depth one; conveying visually that communication between an organisation and others isn’t just linear and one directional, but dialogical and almost multidimensional. fabric is always looking for new ways to converse with organisations that doubt its methods. In the statement they released when their licence was revoked, Cameron Leslie speaking on behalf of fabric, said that when an officer visited the premises unannounced during Operation Condor, that same police officer stated that the clubs procedures were ‘an example of best practice’. In the eyes then of the Metropolitan Police, fabric seemed to be a safe and healthy nightclub, leading further speculation from communities on the internet that the entire thing was a conspiracy in some way. Nevertheless in terms of a PR and management perspective, fabric has gone above and beyond to better its reputation in the eyes of suppliers, the general public, the local community, employees customers and competitors.

The re-opening of fabric was primarily down to the thousands of people who signed a petition and raised money for the nightclub to open its doors once again. This was entirely done through the platform of social-media; a petition that was set up by a fabric representative on his own. Impossible to create a false online reputation, fabrics re-opening relied entirely on their history of good will and public relations.


Coombs, W.T. and Holladay, S. (2010) PR Strategy and Application. Wiley-Blackwell [online]. [Accessed 25 April 2017].

Coultate, A. (2016) Cameron Leslies Full Speech to Islington Council. [online]. [Accessed 25 April 2017].




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