Celebrating the Past While Creating an Even Better Future

Ninety percent of our focus is on the future as we celebrate the 90th anniversary of the founding of Ketchum. That’s fitting because if there was ever an industry focused almost entirely on the future, on what’s next, it’s the public relations business.

We’re keeping our focus on the future in the best ways possible: We are thanking our clients for the ongoing opportunity to represent many of the best brands and companies in the world today. We are accelerating our strategy to offer services that keep our clients ahead of the sweeping changes in the ways people communicate, form communities and make decisions.

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Of equal importance, we are using this milestone and our collective talents to improve the lives of those less fortunate than us. A few weeks ago we asked our people to consider conducting 90 creative brainstorms for 90 nonprofits in 90 days. The good people of Ketchum have characteristically taken this idea and run with it. We have gone flying past the goal of 90 free brainstorms and are well over 100 now and counting. Brainstorm sessions are being conducted by our offices and affiliates in Beijing, Pakistan, Sao Paolo and Vienna. The global impact of this will most certainly exceed our expectations.

We are also focusing on the future by supporting the mission of our pro bono partner, Room to Read, and paying for four years of secondary school for 90 young women in the Morogoro Region of Tanzania and a region in India . Our employees worldwide are covering most of this through fundraising and personal donations. This donation is being made in honor of the long-standing partnerships we have with our clients. If you have an interest in learning more about our commitment to social responsibility, take a moment to view this video, which features some of our former leaders and current employees sharing their thoughts on the topic.

With all this focus on the future, make no mistake, the 10 percent of our focus on the past is very important. The story of Ketchum over 90 years has crucial lessons for the future. We have been in business longer than any other PR or communications firm still operating today. To get here, our leadership and employees needed to overcome countless obstacles and seize an endless stream of opportunities brought about by changes in the way people communicate, buy products and interpret corporate behavior.

The big take-always from our past are that a culture of respect and integrity matter, that there is real business value in creative storytelling and advising clients on how to do the right thing, that keeping our focus on serving clients and responsibly building their brands has helped us to create our own sustainable brand.

The story of Ketchum is ultimately a story of adaptability, of constant change in what we do, but a consistency in why and how we do it. A consistency in values amidst a swirl of new techniques and creative approaches.

Inspired by the adaptability and solid values of our past, we will take these lessons and create an even brighter future.

Click here to view our anniversary celebration website.

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.