Over recent months we’ve had a chance to take stock of what has been a particularly demanding few years. The pandemic threw life around the world into disarray and caused a series of rapid, lasting changes to the way we live and work. We’ve seen the needs of our clients change as they adapt to take on a new set of challenges.
As an advisor, we have a duty to mirror the world around us. So, we felt it was an important time to reflect on our own values, services and structure in order to best serve our clients. During 2022, the leaders of all our offices came together to refine our global proposition and to ensure we are fully utilising the market leading network CDR has cultivated over more than 50 years of business. Our new website is a culmination of that process and showcases our full global offering.
Stakeholder groups are becoming increasingly varied, and a business relies on their support to operate effectively. In our experience, trust is the currency on which these groups operate, and transparency is paramount. Clear, regular communication which is honest, humble and human allows a company to build this trust by maximising transparency.
Throughout the year, we have invested in our capabilities by adding new senior hires, all of whom bring with them the expertise to help clients tackle their evolving needs. They have brought a new wave of energy to our already market-leading team.
The result is a more collaborative, interconnected web of offices that marry global reach with local expertise.
When put in the context of the services we can draw upon from other parts of the Accordience group, our clients can enjoy the benefits of a communications group that uniquely combines best-in-class, specialist consultancy with the scale to operate at pace both globally and locally.
The role we play as the guardians of our clients’ reputations is more vital than ever, and it is not a responsibility we take lightly. Our refined global proposition enables us to discharge that responsibility with even greater vigour and insight.
As the group’s new Global CEO, I am incredibly proud of the work that has been done and what we have accomplished over the past decades. The next chapter of CDR’s exciting story is here and we couldn’t be more excited for what lies ahead.
Charlotte Bilney, Global CEO at Citigate Dewe Rogerson
You are a national champion, used to making headlines in your own country and now you want to feature in the UK business media … for a major international company, that shouldn’t be too difficult, surely?
However, UK business journalists are among the most respected and widely read in the world. As such, many global players are vying for their attention, encountering in the process a fiercely competitive environment rarely experienced at home.
So, the answer is: capturing their attention is harder than you might expect.
British journalists enjoy a type of courtship few media around the world experience. Not only are they a key target for large domestic companies, but their international perspective, the calibre of their business columnists and the expertise of their trade journalists mean they have dedicated readers both at home and abroad.
The London media has therefore become a global conduit through which to access both British and international audiences, whether they are investors, clients, employees, or other stakeholders.
So how is it best address this toughest of media crowds?
1. Build goodwill: just as consumers are unlikely to buy a product they aren’t familiar with, journalists will be reluctant to write about a company they have never heard of. You need to meet them on background, introduce the company and its management and ensure they understand the strategy and what sets you apart. Following this initial meeting, update them regularly to cement the relationship and reap the benefits over the long term.
2. Reassess your expectations: Even if your latest announcement made the front page at home, you are now in a much larger and significantly more competitive arena. The question you need to consider is why should they write about you specifically, and what differentiates you from your peers?
3. Be ready for scrutiny and tough questions: expect UK-based journalists to ask you the questions you’d rather avoid. Facing this type of interview is a sign that you are in front of a seasoned and probably well-respected journalist, whose endorsement – if secured – will be even more valuable. Preparation is key and transparency a must.
4. Ask yourself what’s the UK angle? A question I often ask my clients. Help the journalist make your story relevant to their audience – and their editors. Then think about giving them an exclusive if you have something special to say.
5. Can you compete with FTSE 100 companies? To secure your share of voice, promote yourself as an international benchmark for financial performance, innovation or ESG achievements – or whatever it might be – and establish your management as a thought leader in your sector.
6. Be proud of cultural differences: What is “the norm” at home can be a novelty and a source of inspiration abroad.
7. And above all, be present at the finishing line: This can mean your CEO or CFO occasionally being available for interview or asked to provide comments at very short notice, sometimes a thorny point for executives under intense time pressure but one which will most likely generate positive results and strengthen relationships.