Reputation Managers
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David Yelland, founder of the boutique reputation firm Kitchen Table Partners, compares reputation management to the insurance industry, as more clients see the landscape as ‘risk management’. Having edited The Sun in London and been deputy editor of the New York Post, he is the most experienced former mass market editor yet to enter reputation management. ‘There are policies against fraud, fire, theft… every major company is trying to manage currency risks,’ Yelland says. ‘Reputation is increasingly seen to be in that bucket.’ Public relations he defines as ‘basically, relating to the public. It’s not just media relations, it’s about language and communicating with customers or clients.’ He notes the tabloids have had their finest year. ‘Circulation has gone down, influence has not. There is no doubt the Sun, the Mail and the Express won the Brexit debate. Their power is in packaging information, often misrepresenting the facts because they have an agenda, but that’s what they’ve always done. When I was there I did it myself, so I can hardly complain — although hopefully I was on the right side.’ In such environments overexposure quickly gets you burned, he says: so it’s important not to overreact, and to do less but do it well. ‘You will get bad publicity, it is the cost of doing business,’ he says. ‘The art is to understand deeply how media works and when to play and when not and precisely how to do so.’

David Yelland