What kind of branding services do you offer?
Most people have and project an image of themselves which they want the world to see and believe. Oftentimes I find that’s not the case when if you spend time doing research, reading professional blogs, or even going through social media. For example, when we were hiring people it was common practice to look on Instagram and Facebook to see what kind of pictures people posted when they were not under the scrutiny of employers. In one situation, we had an employee call in “sick” only to find out she spent the night at an Irish Pub celebrating St Patrick’s Day! Sick with the Irish Flu!
Our goal is to help clients take a realistic look at not just what they want the world to see, but the world actually sees. Sometimes bad things happen to good people – the old saying is true in that we all make mistakes. I am a perfect example of this. I spent most of my career serving my country in uniform, as a civilian government employee, and even in the private sector with the business I founded. When my company became the subject of a government investigation and I encountered legal troubles, I could have given up and walked away. Even since then, I’ve had to deal with the scrutiny that comes from going through what I went through. The most important thing has been helping show people who I am and the things I have done my entire life, prior to this incident and since this occurred. My actions are the true measure of the man I am, have become, and will be.
Our services help clients portray the image of them that is fair, unbiased, and accurate based upon who they are as people. In some cases, it simply means building a website (like I did), sharing your past (like I have), and even revealing personal things about you that you have hesitated to share in the past, but have become relevant now. Making these accomplishments public is an important aspect of building your brand and your image.
How do you help clients who have zero negative press build a brand reputation?
Building a brand from scratch is like a clean sheet of paper where the artist can create his or her work and ensure that it accurately reflects their abilities. Building your reputation is no different and it starts with a plan. Like any good plan, your reputation plan has a goal; I am HERE now and I want to get to THERE. Getting to that end point is where we specialize in helping clients understand what it takes to get to the endpoint, and what tools can be used to assist them along the way.
How do you help clients who do have negative press?
The challenge of addressing negative press can seem insurmountable. When I first Googled my own name, I found dozens of articles written by authors whom apparently did little if any research on what actually happened to me and my company. If they did, they would not have written the things they did unless they were solely focused on selling the sizzle.
For clients with negative press, it’s not the end of the world. Look at Martha Stewart and her brand. She went through some incredibly difficult times and even spent time in a Federal Prison. She emerged stronger, tougher, and even financially more successful. In 2005 she launched her comeback campaign, and in 2015 her company was acquired. Again, overcoming this is a function of creating a plan with a clear end goal and means of getting where we want to go.
Do you do brand research for clients?
We do have some capabilities for research however they are limited. To the extent our clients need additional resources, we do have a select team of partners we rely upon for research, accounting, finance, and legal advice. In addition we have reputation partners we work with whom can assist our clients with specific campaigns.
Do family offices usually offer branding services or is this something you offer because you know how important image is?
No, most family offices do not offer branding services because their scope of services typically falls within managing the needs of one family, or a very small group of 2 or 3 other families who have pooled resources. Because my personal situation felt different to me, and because it was not a service I saw elsewhere in the market, I felt it was an important issue to address. Life happens and we all know that. We can choose to ignore it and sweep it under the rug, or we can face it head on and build a plan to overcome these challenges.
What is the most important step, in your opinion, when it comes to helping a client who has experienced bad press in the past to rebuild their reputation?
The most important step is talking and meeting with someone who has gone through the same challenges and sharing your concerns with a trusted confidante. This experience can help you not only learn how they dealt with overcoming their adversity, but prove that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. A lot of the challenges that deal with overcoming adversity begin at step one; talking about it and confronting the matter. An experienced advisor is not there to judge you – he or she has been there and they know how it feels to be in those shoes.