Correcting Damaging Misperceptions of a Pan-African Entrepreneur

  • Digital
  • Global
  • Public Relations


A successful Pan African entrepreneur and his corporate reputation was under assault online from a series of incorrect allegations of wrongdoing about his personal and political life and past business practices that were beginning to affect his financial dealings. The fodder for these allegations stemmed from the writings of a few mischievous actors online, who had succeeded in crafting a damaging narrative through frequent and regular postings to websites. His search engine problem had, in effect, become a search engine problem.


The Podesta Group launched an aggressive, multifaceted media campaign to repair the client’s image and correct the record. By documenting his life story through video and photography and building a smart, compelling website about his successful career, philanthropy and public service, the Podesta Group was able to tell the true story and correct the record in all the right places.

All of the web work hinged on countless hours of online research and analytics, a production process that valued search engine optimization foremost, and a messaging strategy that demonstrated the client’s life’s work in a compelling, positive narrative.

The Podesta Group also worked with financial services databases to correct inaccurate profiles of the client — easing his ability to open bank accounts and close business deals. We also worked to help the client begin developing a foundation in his name to aid African youth.


After just six months the client was enjoying sweeping positive coverage and a restored reputation online. What’s more, the client’s position on major search engines had dramatically improved — negative stories had been neutralized and replaced with fair and accurate coverage of a successful African businessman.

Among the wins, the Podesta Group:

  • corrected the record online and on major search engines for the client
  • generated positive coverage in more than 300 credible news outlets, including the San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Business Journal, Reuters and the Houston Chronicle
  • produced four compelling documentary-style videos that reached thousands of people online
  • launched a multi-media rich, SEO-driven website that was accessible on all screens and devices, including mobile phones and tablets

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