About Rob Flaherty

Rob Flaherty is Chairman of Ketchum, a top-five, global PR firm, and member of Ketchum's 19-member Global Leadership Council that guides the strategy, client service and performance of the agency. Since joining Ketchum in 1989, Flaherty 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. As a client counselor, Rob specializes in corporate positioning and issues management. He has helped companies prepare for and respond to challenging situations ranging from product liability and airline accidents to data breaches and antitrust litigation. He also has played a lead role in growing the firm’s client base. Flaherty became President of the agency in 2008, CEO in 2012 and today, as Chairman, is one of the industry’s most sought-after client counselors. Flaherty was named Global PR Leader of the Year in 2016 by the International Communications Consultancy Organization (ICCO). Follow Rob on Twitter at @flahertyrob.

Author Archive | Rob Flaherty

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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A Tribute to Ray Kotcher: Mentor, Advocate & Hall of Famer

For as long as I have known Ray Kotcher, who is transitioning into a new role as Non-Executive Chairman, he has been unwavering in his passion for Ketchum and unmatched in his advocacy for the larger communications industry.

Ray joined Ketchum as Vice President in 1983, was appointed President of the agency in 1992, and in June 2000 was named CEO.

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Welcome to 2016!

2016 is upon us. It seems like only yesterday we were predicting what was in store for 2015, and in the last 12 months we saw many of those trends come to fruition and then shape the ways we and our clients responded using different elements of the marketing mix. Anticipating the trends of 2015, we brought to bear offerings, like Ketchum 50+ and Engaging Gen Z to help our clients best reach their target audiences with the right expertise, backed by proprietary global studies like the New Man Code, Liquid Change and Innovation Kernel.

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Celebrating the Success of Ketchum’s Partner Room to Read

Students of the Kna Primary School celebrate Room to Read reaching 10 million children.

Room to Read set a bold goal fifteen years ago, at its inception, to reach 10 million children with its literacy and girls’ education programs by 2020. Ketchum CEO, Rob Flaherty and his wife Tammy joined the Room to Read founders and several donors at a ceremony outside Siem Reap, Cambodia to celebrate this major milestone, achieved well ahead of schedule. The visit included two days of visits to several schools and libraries established by Room to Read. Rob also provided communications training to the Room to Read board on how to best communicate their new five-year strategic plan. Below are Rob’s impressions of his time in Cambodia in support of Room to Read…

Portraits drawn by students were presented to Room to Read founders (from left): John Wood, Dinesh Shrestha and Erin Ganju.
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Celebrating the Near Win (Video)

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. –Thomas Edison

A few important questions to consider: Does your culture foster innovation and celebrate not just the wins, but also the bravery it takes to present bold new ideas – ideas that often run a higher risk of failure? Do you celebrate risk-takers, regardless of the outcome? Are near-wins within your company “blame-worthy” or “praise-worthy?” These questions, and the ramifications of their answers, are of critical importance within an always on, real-time communications landscape.

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Camp Ketchum: An Idea Ahead of its Time

Early Camp Ketchum group photo.

Prescient: To know beforehand; having foresight.

The original architects of Camp Ketchum 35 years ago couldn’t possibly have foreseen all of the dynamic change in our industry and how we work today. Yet the competitive team structure at Camp Ketchum, our week-long training program, is an ideal laboratory for the way we serve clients in today’s always-on, real-time marketing environment.

At Camp, the 80 Campers are divided into eight teams of 10 to address a real client brief and compete for the client assignment. Originally the intent was obvious: to train our people to be better at pitching new business.

Today that’s still one of the goals. But I think the greater benefit is that it is a rich context to improve our ability to work in our increasingly prevalent “liquid teams.”

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What the 2015 Cannes Sessions Say About Marketing Today

Our analysis of more than 150 of the sessions at next week’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity reveals a lot about where marketing is today, and where it’s going tomorrow (click to tweet). The schedule tells us what marketers and agency leaders are excited about, what they’re worried about and what’s new.

The sessions, which span a full week, were grouped by us into seven categories that began to coalesce naturally: Creativity & Fine Art, Entertainment & Marketing, Social Media & Social Activism, Technology & Disruption, Content & Storytelling, Demographics & Segments and Leadership & Top Talent.

The rise of social technologies and social activism, as well as the role of human insights to drive ideas and achieve relevance with diverse audiences, shines through the schedule.

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