About Rob Flaherty

Rob Flaherty is Partner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ketchum, one of the world’s top communications firms and PRWeek’s 2012 Agency of the Year. Flaherty leads Ketchum’s 20 member Global Leadership Council to guide the strategy, client service and performance of the agency. Since joining Ketchum, Rob has been involved in all aspects of the firm’s business, including having successfully led its largest office, one of its global practices and several of its largest client engagements. In addition to his position at Ketchum, Rob is very active in the industry, serving on the executive committee of the board of the Institute for Public Relations, on the Agency Management Committee of the Council of Public Relations Firms, and on the advisory board of directors for Room to Read, Ketchum’s global pro bono partner. Follow Rob on Twitter at @flahertyrob.

Author Archive | Rob Flaherty

Ketchum@Cannes

On a personal level, I couldn’t have asked for a more fulfilling Cannes Lions experience this year. From introducing Laura Dern, Grace Helbig and our Marcus Peterzell in Classic Hollywood Meets the YouTube Generation on the big stage, to accepting Lions with some of our most valued colleagues, agency partners and clients, to learning from passionate thought leaders and evolving my own perspective on an array of subjects and disciplines, this year certainly stood out in more ways than one.

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The Courage to Take the Next Step

On Sunday, I was honored to speak at my alma mater, Utica College in beautiful Upstate New York. Being back on campus brought back a flood of memories of a very special time during which I learned the fundamentals of communication, established enduring relationships and had a heck of a lot of fun. It also took me back to being a brand new graduate with my whole adult life ahead of me, and all the hopes, dreams and apprehension that came along with that.

In my remarks, I reflected back over my career and offered my thoughts on what I’ve learned and perspective I’ve gained since graduating from college: The Courage to Take the Next Step. While I wrote it for young people about to enter the workforce, I hope you’ll find the advice useful no matter where you are in your career.

Here is my commencement address to Utica’s Class of 2017.

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From Cicero’s Wisdom: An Aspiration and Inspiration for Us All

If you follow the PR Council’s blog, you might have read a post recently published on the responsibility organizations have to be transparent with their publics. Within it, I close with one of the most inspiring and aspirational pieces of content I have read this year, which happens to come from a pretty unlikely source. In 44 B.C. the Roman philosopher Marcus Cicero wrote, in his treatise on friendship, the simple yet powerful phrase, “To be, rather than to seem.”

I instantly liked it in relation to our business and our agency, and find it to be an aspirational purpose on many levels. Here are some of the reasons why:

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What Responsibility Do Organizations Have to Be Transparent with Their Publics?

If an organization wants a strong reputation, and all of the benefits that come with it, then it has a significant responsibility to be transparent. Why — what’s the business case?

Interestingly, transparency is not a responsibility that has always been a fundamental requirement for a company. In the past, it was fine for a company to tightly control the information it revealed. Years ago, many companies treated the public like mushrooms: they kept them in the dark.

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Trends 2017: The New Normal Is That There Isn’t One

It’s human nature to expect things to stay the same – it’s how our brains cope with complexity. But 2016 showed how faulty that assumption can be, with shift after tectonic shift in how the world is. And not just in the political sphere. The world saw transformational change taking place in sectors as diverse as technology, automotive, food, healthcare, retail and sports.

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Video: Purpose as the New Bottom Line

“Allow your passion to become your purpose, and it will one day become your profession.” – Gabriel Bernstein

Communicators are being asked to play an even more pivotal role in shaping the way organizations operate, and are collectively presented with the unique opportunity to encourage organizations to question long-standing beliefs, and embolden them to make a difference by focusing on purpose as well as profit.

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Building Bridges with Perspective, Compassion and Humor

Melissa Fleming and Rob Flaherty

The author Terry Pratchett wrote last year, “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors.”

Two weeks ago, about 150 Page members traveled to London for our 33rd Annual Conference to see their own world through different eyes and brighter colors.

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The Challenge of Leading Leaders

Leadership coach Ken Jacobs recently sat down with Ketchum Chairman and CEO Rob Flaherty to discuss the challenge of leading leaders and leading across multinational offices.

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The Brexit Vote and Our Vital Role as Counselors

Anytime we are surprised by a sudden, unexpected shift in public opinion it’s an opportunity for us to think about our role as counselors.

At our best, communications counselors are sensors of social change, anticipating shifts in societal expectations, able to see around corners faster than most. We are, or should strive to be, experts in public opinion and where it’s headed. After all, our field’s founding text is “Crystallizing Public Opinion.” It is because of these well-developed antennae that we are able to advise management ahead of these shifts and serve as the policy Sherpa, the business strategist and early-alert capability of the corporation. It’s a tall order, a high bar, I realize.

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#IWD2016: Illustrating Illustrious Women Who Broke Through

International Women’s Day is a time to recognize the tremendous hurdles women have had to overcome, and to renew our own commitment to removing those hurdles and leveling the playing field. As we collectively recognize the countless contributions of women in all walks of life on #IWD2016, I find myself personally inspired by the topic of women who “broke through” throughout history. Women who, in many cases, defied all odds to redefine a woman’s role and, in doing so, helped narrow the gap with their male counterparts. With amazing illustrations by Ketchum’s Creative Strategist Jeff Lewonczyk, we’ve identified some of these women and their groundbreaking achievements (click to tweet).

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