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Brand Vandals: Reputation Wreckers and How to Build Better Defences [Kindle Edition]

Steve Earl , Stephen Waddington
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Thanks to the rise of social media, what audiences think and say about organisations has never been more critical. Steve Earl and Stephen Waddington’s Brand Anarchy examined the impact of media change and the new reputation landscape brought about by disaffected shareholders, customers and staff voicing their opinions to a global Internet audience.

The authors continue the story here with the brand vandals going one step further; mobilising themselves, and the Internet, to wage war on organisations and willfully cause lasting reputational damage.
For the organization, engagement isn’t an option – it’s a necessity. Brand vandals are forcing a level of dialogue that organisations, public and private, have never had to contemplate before.
Smart organisations are helping to define the future of modern brand communication by retooling their public relations and communications teams to truly get to grips with the challenge of engaging audiences in a 24/7 conversation that not only answers criticism, but positively rebuilds corporate reputation.
Is your organisation ready for the brand vandals?

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Books about marketing and public relations tend to fall into two camps: those that are navel- gazing and worthy, and those written from the front line that offer pragmatic upbeat advice. #BrandVandals definitely falls into the latter camp. If you have any interest whatsoever in brand reputation, and the vandals who threaten it, beg, borrow or steal this book. It should be your public relations bible.-- Francis Ingham Director General, PRCA and Executive Director, ICCO

With their follow up to Brand Anarchy, Stephen Waddington and Steve Earl once again provide sound advice in #BrandVandals about what can happen to your brand, due to social media and exactly what to do. This sort of advice would normally cost thousands, and they have also included multiple real-world examples of #BrandVandals at work. If you work in marketing, public relations or as an executive, this book is required reading.--Andrew Grill Partner, IBM Interactive at IBM, and leading social business blogger

An uncontrolled Internet firestorm can destroy a brand s reputation in days. This book will give communications teams a fascinating insight in how online attacks, warranted or unfounded, can best be managed. --Jonathan Prynn, The Evening Standard

There was a time, relatively recently, when marketers assumed that the brand was defined by all the things they said about their company, its products and services. Today, the brand is defined by all the things other people say, in conversations online and off. #BrandVandals seeks to demystify this intimidating new environment and to examine the opportunities for brands that are prepared to embrace transparency, authenticity and genuine dialogue with their consumers. -- Paul Holmes Editor, The Holmes Report


An insightful overview of the modern comms landscape…(Brand Vandals) gives readers the ammunition they need to plead the case for social media investment, setting out top-level principles behind not just engagement but online measurement and planning. A key element that distinguishes Brand Vandals is the focus it places in internal comms. The book recognises that the most dangerous 'vandal' could come from within an organisation and sets out broad steps on how to engage colleagues to become a brand asset…this engaging read teaches us that for major brands, it is not a case of whether the storm hits, but when. --PRWeek

With their follow up to Brand Anarchy, Stephen Waddington and Steve Earl once again provide sound advice in Brand Vandals about what can happen to your brand, due to social media and exactly what do to. This sort of advice would normally cost thousands, and they have also included multiple real-world examples of brand vandals at work. If you work in marketing, public relations or as an executive, this book is required reading. --Andrew Grill, London Calling

About the Author

Steve Earl (@mynameisearl) is Managing Director, Europe at Zeno Group. Stephen Waddington (@wadds) is European Digital and Social Media Director for Ketchum.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit too hard on the first Roman Emperor... 21 April 2014
This is a good summary of recent social media (and other web based communications) challenges for brands, and how one might learn from them and prepare to meet such challenges in future. However the book is marred by a number of increasingly irritating errors that detract from its message and which could easily have been avoided.

These start with a small error, just 13 pages in, which calls the inventor of the Dunbar number Richard Dunbar rather than Robin. However this is followed just 22 pages later with the more egregious error of referring to "the slow decline of the Roman Empire from around 50 BC". That claim is of course more than a bit hard on the very first Roman emperor who didn't actually take office till 27 BC. The errors then move into the territory of downright irritating, particularly to non English UK folk such as myself, with the misuse of the description "English" when what is actually meant is UK or perhaps British.

But not to worry, as I am absolutely sure that the next edition will fix all these errors as the book itself wisely advocates positive constructive engagement with costumer comments in social media and web based reviews - and I guess that includes this one......
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5.0 out of 5 stars So good I read it twice! 1 Nov. 2013
"...So good I read it twice!"

This is a book that, I believe, grows in importance with every passing day. It is essential reading - not just for students and practitioners, but also business leaders who need to understand the true potential impact (positive and negative) of digital on their business or organisation.

Brand Vandals perfectly outlines the growing expectation of the digital consumer and how they can (and do) react when these expectations aren't met. It also highlights the slow reaction by many brands and organisations, as well as the huge opportunity (and need) for improved engagement strategies.

With insights and anecdotes from a number of experts, as well as plenty of examples brands and orgs from public, private and the third sector, this book outlines the reason why communications (and, in particular, PR) now needs to reside at the board table.

I particularly enjoyed the early chapters: `How Bad Could it Get', identifying ways brands have maximised social opportunities and `Pigs & Lipstick', outlining many organisations present approach to supposed transparent communications. The latter half provides a variety of best practice approaches and solutions on offer to those of us in the world of brand-protection - excellently processed guidance!

Throughout the book, there are plenty of examples of good social and digital campaigns and insight-based approaches, as well as faux pas' from those who you would expect to have known better /to have been better prepared (some quite amusing!).

Brand Vandals is a sound investment for business leaders - definitely anyone working in the world of PR and Marketing, as well as those aspiring practitioners among you.


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#brandvandals is a veritable romp through the world of communication, public relations and everything else in between and around it, and makes for a thrilling read.

The style is no-nonsense, plain English, jargon-free and enticing. It's gritty and raw and a reflection of the world we are operating in and the reality of the types of conversations that take place about our brands, employees and organisations.

It has some choice quotes in there and made me laugh out loud on a couple of occasions at the cheekiness of some of the language.

The chapters and comments are not sugar-coated. This is not a saccharine-sweet business book, it's the truth - people do say exactly what they think and direct their feelings towards organisations. So it makes sense for the book to be written this way and for companies to react, respond and plan accordingly based on the reality of their worlds.

I like the fact there's a 90 day plan in there to get your brand ready to tackle the vandals. This isn't about outsmarting every move and trick in the book when it comes to people willingly creating waves, but about "keeping your reputational shield polished, so mud is harder to stick."

I read the book in one sitting as I literally couldn't put it down. This is a book I will be re-reading and referencing, and I thoroughly recommend checking it out for yourself. Congratulations Steve and Stephen for yet another staple book for my shelves.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond brands 13 Dec. 2013
By Ben
A useful addition to the crisis and issues management canon. It's well written and includes a series of insightful interviews with industry experts, as well as analysis from both authors. Not just for brand managers or big business communications teams - there's quite a lot in there for people working in smaller organisations. Includes a focus on the ways in which internal communications and employee relations affect reputation and external perceptions.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Marketing remit? This is a must read. 4 Nov. 2013
If you want a book that will instil fear and make you think hard about the use of social media, #Brand Vandals: Reputation Wreckers and Building Better Defences by Steve Earl and Stephen Waddington is it.

The good news is that downing tools and hiding under your pillow is not the answer - as well as showing exactly how badly things can go wrong, authors Earl and Waddington discuss best practice and highlight how crises can in fact be made to work to an organisation's advantage. The call to action is roll up your sleeves, there is work to be done if you want to use social media well. They even give you a 90 day battle plan for getting in order.

#Brand Vandals is a must read for PRs, MDs, FDs and anyone with any kind of marketing remit. The premise of the book may be that it's a war between communicators and their audiences however the underlying message is actually more positive than that. Understanding social media engagement means accepting that organisations will have occasional battles on their hands, but that it doesn't always have to end in reputational damage. You could almost say that reading this is a way to give peace a chance.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A vital read to keep up to date in PR, Comms and Brand management
#Brand Vandals is an important text for anyone working in modern day PR, Comms, and marketing or for Brand owners. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Andy Green
4.0 out of 5 stars Corporate reputations are hard to develop but, particularly in ...
Corporate reputations are hard to develop but, particularly in this age of social media, they are increasingly fragile. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Bruce Lloyd
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for any brand owner or reputation protector
Brand Vandals is one of those books that you read with some trepidation.

As you turn each page and approach each new chapter you're secretly hoping your organisation or... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Dominic Burch
4.0 out of 5 stars Brand Vandals: Reputation Wreckers and How to Build Better Defences:...
#Brand Vandals Brand Vandals: Reputation Wreckers and How to Build Better Defences: Corporate Reputation Risk and Response is a must read for PRs, C-Suite and company communication... Read more
Published 21 months ago by GabrielleNYC
4.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Anarchy
Brand Vandals is the follow-up to the same authors' Brand Anarchy published by Bloomsbury in 2012.

It's a good read divided into two distinct sections. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Richard Bailey
5.0 out of 5 stars It's the call to arms brands have been waiting for
#BrandVandals does far more than share tales of the war weary and the battle triumphant - it offers practical advice for brands. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Angharad Welsh
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful guide to securing a strong reputation on social media
I read pretty much every book that comes out on public relations and this is the best I've come across for a very long time. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Alex Singleton (
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