Consulting for private clients requires a specialist skill set. It’s highly personal, combining impartiality of approach with strong empathy. The most successful client/consultant relationships are forged out of developing an intimate understanding of the individual’s goals, mapped against a pragmatic assessment of their strengths and weaknesses. Combine this with a deep awareness of the opportunities and threats posed by the macro-environment, and a strong foundation for reputation-building can be laid.
The Chartered Institute of Public Relations sets out a widely accepted definition of PR:
“Public relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you [it] … is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour.”
The phrase ‘personal branding’ is popular, but can lead to framing an individual and their career and standing in business and society like an FMCG product. We prefer the language of reputation.
At the root of reputation is behaviour. What a client says and does will shape how they are perceived. We’re not in the business of creating charades or smokescreens. We simply help clients make the most of who they are – their knowledge, skills, personality and networks.
Focused clients have a primary goal, invariably linked to the position that they wish to occupy in the minds of those whose opinions matter to them. That’s why we say we work in the art of perception. Their objective might be to be recognised as successful in a field of commerce or politics, or to make an evident impact in philanthropy, culture or science. Our role is to help them make the most of their time and their resources, to maximum effect.
We help establish goals and define areas for growth. The communication and stakeholder engagement facets of our work flow naturally from this. When a person knows and embraces their narrative – what they want to say and who they want to engage with – we can help them to do so in an effective and compelling manner. At the core of private client consultancy is honing a vision for the future, then working to make it become reality.
The elements of reputation building are likely to include some of these activities, integrated in a strategic plan:
- Creating a foundation, trust or other vehicle for philanthropy
- Managing and directing that entity, in alignment with its aims and objectives
- Maximising the use and impact of social media and other digital assets
- Crafting, drafting and producing op-Eds, video, audio, speeches and other features and content
- Facilitating speaking engagements and high-level networking opportunities, through personal introductions and careful stakeholder mapping
- Building an expert commentator profile, so that our client becomes the ‘go to’ person for news outlets and wider media on specific topics
- Fully briefing the client in all matters that relate to their reputation
This proactive consultancy makes up the mainstay of a private client offering, but performing well in a reactive situation is acutely important. 24/7 crisis communications support has ceased to be an optional extra.
Accidents and incidents outside of y/our control can happen, and people make mistakes. What matters most is how these situations are dealt with. Providing back up, counsel and support at crunch times is essential. Reputations take time to build, yet are easily eroded or destroyed. We’re in the business of building and defending – and in today’s media-saturated world, our skills are needed now more than ever.
The pathway to a great reputation requires effort and expertise – but it is a rewarding journey. Our role is to help you navigate safely and successfully to your destination, providing trusted counsel along the way.