The agency has won a competitive pitch to promote the fast-food restaurant - months after PRWeek revealed that KFC was on the hunt for an agency to 'proactively shift brand perceptions' (PRWeek, 20 June).
The team at Ketchum will be led by public affairs MD Rod Cartwright but will pull together consultants in reputation management, CSR, brand comms, public affairs and employee engagement from across the agency.
KFC retains Freud for consumer work, but has not previously used external agency support for corporate and public affairs.
The new brief follows attacks from animal rights charity Peta, which claims KFC is responsible for 'live scalding, painful debeaking (and) crippled chickens'.
Ketchum will be expected to 'proactively shift brand perceptions', according to a confidential pitch document obtained by PRWeek earlier this year. It goes on to say that 'the key task' for the consultancy will be 'to anchor KFC's brand proposition within a corporate reputation strategy'.
Rachel Ellerm, director, new concepts and strategy at KFC, who will be driving the project, said: 'We take the management of our reputation very seriously and this move is an indication of that. Our decision to hire Ketchum represents the beginning of a long-term commitment to investing in this area.'