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

Unlocking the Brain’s Secrets About Creativity and Decision Making

During the Holmes Global PR Summit in Miami a couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of hosting a session called “Unlocking the Brain’s Secrets About Creativity and Decision Making” with esteemed neuroscientist and best-selling author, Dr. David Eagleman. Our session explored his theories about the extent to which subconscious perceptions inform our daily interactions, our approach to creativity as well as our purchasing decisions.

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Today News Finds You

Last week I had the privilege of serving as co-chair of the Public Relations Society of America’s 2012 International Conference in San Francisco and on a panel called The Agency of the Future with Jack Martin, Global Chairman and CEO, Hill+Knowlton Strategies; Janet Tyler, Co-CEO and Founder, Airfoil Public Relations; Fred Cook, CEO and President of Golin Harris, which was moderated by Peter Himler, founder of Flatiron Communications.

During the panel discussion, I shared the following observations on what I see as the changing definition of news. Years ago, when I was pursuing my journalism degree, I heard a simple, populist definition of news: “News is something that makes you say, ‘Wow, I didn’t know that.’” But now, over the past year or so, I have been hearing an equally simple but profoundly current definition: “News is something important enough to find me.”

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As We Look Toward the Future, Recognizing Four Ketchum Leaders

Every day hundreds of clients rely on Ketchum to deliver for them: deliver great service, break through ideas and real results. As an established global agency, our clients expect Ketchum leaders to manage our agency effectively today and continue to develop the agency and its services for tomorrow.

It has been just over a month since Ray Kotcher became the Chairman of Ketchum and I assumed the role of CEO. Since then, in addition to extensive travel to meet with clients and teams, I have thought a lot about the leadership roles we need to manage the breadth and scope of the agency today and over the next few years of rapid change in our business.

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Mind the Gap

In the London Tube the signs are everywhere — Mind the Gap, don’t fall between the train and the platform.

Lately I’ve thought that should be a sign inside every corporate C-suite and brand manager’s office.

Almost every issue engulfing a company or serious complaint about a brand is as a result of a big gap between their stated promise and their actual delivery.

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Our Opportunity and Responsibility

Following the agency’s recent announcement about our leadership transition, Ray Kotcher and I had the opportunity to address our Ketchum colleagues via a virtual agency-wide staff meeting. As you can imagine, we were asked several interesting questions, including “What will be different at Ketchum in 15 years?” The answer I gave was, “Everything but our values and culture.”  This response prompted a great deal of positive feedback. As a result, I thought it was worth offering this expanded point of view.

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Shaping a New Communications Model – Silence is Golden

This post was first published on CNBC.com.

It might sound heretical for a leader of a communications firm to suggest it, but lately I’ve been thinking that a lot of big brands and companies should take a vow of silence.

Not forever, but at key moments in time.

In this era of radical transparency, rather than trying to explain what you’re doing to fix a problem or poor performance or disappointing service, put all of that energy into fixing it first. Let people see the difference, then call in the communicators to amplify the actions you’ve taken.

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Davos Dispatch IV: Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger

This week, Ketchum President Rob Flaherty is attending the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum — which brings together 2,500 CEOs and government leaders in Davos, Switzerland — and is reporting his observations. On Jan. 31, he will host a special webinar open to the public, “Davos 2011: An Insider’s Guide to Key Insights,” in which he will recap his experiences.I can report that “Miracle on the Hudson” pilot Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger has made as smooth a landing into the role of leadership guru as he did on New York’s icy river two years ago.Sullenberger in person is as reserved and disciplined as you’ve seen in interviews, but even more calm and dignified. The sense you get is that he knows he has unintentionally been thrust into the role of hero and role model, and now he has to live up to all of our rather high expectations for wisdom and integrity.

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Dispatch from Davos III: Tackling Unemployment

This week, Ketchum President Rob Flaherty is attending the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum — which brings together 2,500 CEOs and government leaders in Davos, Switzerland — and is reporting his observations. On Jan. 31, he will host a special webinar open to the public, “Davos 2011: An Insider’s Guide to Key Insights,” in which he will recap his experiences. Unemployment is so pervasive that I’m sure you, like me, know several people who have been or are still out of work during this recession.Recognizing this, the World Economic Forum and CNBC convened a televised debate hosted by Maria Bartiromo to hear solutions to “The Future of Employment.”

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Dispatch from Davos II: Wide Open Leadership

Dispatch from Davos II: Wide Open Leadership

This week, Ketchum President Rob Flaherty is attending the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum — which brings together 2,500 CEOs and government leaders in Davos, Switzerland — and is reporting his observations. On Jan. 31, he will host a special webinar open to the public, “Davos 2011: An Insider’s Guide to Key Insights,” in which he will recap his experiences.Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet and hear from the CEO of a $5.5 billion IT company in India about his leadership philosophy. Vineet Nayar of HCL Technologies believes that value today is created in the “value zone,” where employees meet customers every day. It is value co-created with customers as they sort out what a rapidly changing marketplace really needs now. That’s an interesting thought for all of us at Ketchum as we work with our clients in our own rapidly changing environment. Taking it a step further, Nayar thinks that more value is created in the field than at the top of the company, by senior professionals and executives. Consequently, Nayar believes that “the job of management is to enthuse, enable and encourage employees in the value zone to create higher value than competitors.” He says that management is as accountable to employees as employees are to management. 

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Dispatch from Davos I: More Disruption Ahead

Dispatch from Davos I: More Disruption Ahead

This week, Ketchum President Rob Flaherty is attending the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum — which brings together 2,500 CEOs and government leaders in Davos, Switzerland — and is reporting his observations. On Jan. 31, he will host a special webinar open to the public, “Davos 2011: An Insider’s Guide to Key Insights,” in which he will recap his experiences.  The first full day of the World Economic Forum got off to a brisk start with a discussion and debate among mobile technology and social network experts.

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