Deloitte builds team to take on reputation and strategic comms market

Deloitte's new corporate reputation team is taking shape, with hires from Lansons, Tulchan and Portland. The Big Four consultancy has ambitious plans to take on the strategic comms market, PRWeek has learned.

Comms veteran Mark Hutcheon is Deloitte's reputation management lead
Comms veteran Mark Hutcheon is Deloitte's reputation management lead

Earlier this year Deloitte appointed Mark Hutcheon as reputation management lead in its risk advisory business.

Hutcheon has a background in reputation and comms and brings seven years’ experience as a communications director for Samsung, Fitness First and Williams F1. He was also previously a partner at ReputationInc, a reputation management consultancy.

He joins as a director in Deloitte’s reputation, crisis and resilience practice, which follows the firm’s acquisition of Regester Larkin, a specialist crisis and issues management consultancy, in 2016. 

Deloitte has grown its corporate reputation team by hiring talent from leading comms agencies in this space.

This includes James Drummond, who was previously a senior consultant at Portland, Helen Martin, an associate at Tulchan, and Lara Thomas, an account director at Lansons.

Ed Coke, who led Millward Brown’s corporate practice and The Reputation Institute in the UK, is also joining Deloitte as an associate specialising in reputation research.

This team aims to help clients understand, protect and grow their reputations by developing long-term strategies, reputation risk management services and leadership coaching. It will also provide reputation risk sensing and tracking products to support this advice.

PRWeek understands Deloitte is taking its reputation proposition to market from September with a series of events and a push on reputation risk.

Deloitte says it is the first of the Big Four to signal its intent on taking a slice of corporate communications marketplace, while Accenture is moving strongly into the creative and brand space.

The professional services firm, best known for audit, has a strong heritage in risk management and its move into strategic comms plans to combine expertise across the operational parts of reputational issues (such as cyber, tax, supply chain, conduct) with the emotional side of reputation (communications, campaigns and engagement).

The opportunity to create a new practice reflects the growing importance and increasingly symbiotic relationship between reputation and comms to CEOs and other high-level executives.

"Reputation is acknowledged by investors and business leaders as an asset worth up to 20 per cent of a company’s value; yet it is at the mercy of a volatile social climate making it harder to manage and grow. To get to the heart of reputation, you need to understand how a company performs and behaves, as well as how it communicates," Hutcheon said.

"Our offer will integrate expertise across areas of reputational challenge and opportunity such as sustainability, automation and cyber, alongside strategic communications skills, to better help clients navigate an unpredictable world."

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