The Polpeo Story

In 2011, Kate and Tamara witnessed a shift in the way consumers were behaving towards brands in crisis.

They were starting to talk back, using social media to campaign against injustice, create movements, express outrage or even betrayal, and demand a new level of ethical behaviour. The balance of power had shifted. Consumers now expected transparency from brands, access to information, honesty and a willingness to admit mistakes. And the brands didn’t know how to respond.

To successfully navigate this new landscape, brands had to understand how their consumers would behave towards them. They had to ditch the traditional corporate language of crisis communications that was being rejected by consumers, and start listening to what people expected of them. They had to communicate with empathy, and demonstrate real action.

Tamara and Kate’s experience gave them slightly different perspectives on crisis communications – Tamara’s background is in social media for global brands, and Kate’s is in PR and crisis management. But they both realised that the reason so many brands failed in a crisis was because there was no safe space in which they could rehearse, to understand the pressures their teams would face from the public. So, they combined their thinking to create an approach that would both serve the interest of the brand, and address the new challenges of consumers on social media.

Drawing on Tamara’s love of gaming, they decided to create an immersive, interactive environment that would let brands test their responses in that safe space, stress-test their crisis process, and build their team’s resilience and confidence in handling a crisis. Polpeo was born.

The inspiration behind the name

If you’ve been through a crisis, and need a bit of R&R, we thoroughly recommend a visit to Polpeor, the tiny cove in Cornwall which inspired our name. It’s on the Lizard, the most southerly point in the UK, and it is from here that the Spanish Armada was spotted off the Cornish coast and where Marconi made his first transatlantic radio broadcasts.