Kathy Bloomgarden, Global CEO, Ruder Finn visited India to speak at PRAXIS 2016. Shree Lahiri caught up with her at Aamby Valley for a quick tete-a-tete.
RT: How would you define the real secret of the Ruder Finn success story?
KB: Our journey traces back 70 years, when we were one of the first PR consultancies in the world – this is an important heritage for us. Our core values remain the same – creativity, impacting people and shaping stories that capture public attention. We want our consultancy to blend bold thinking, innovation and creativity. Our culture is defined by thought-starters, storytellers, insight miners, social connectors, boundary pushers and ambitious dreamers, who believe that having a creative edge is key. We all share a passion to make a difference, even as the business has changed and evolved. It’s about making a difference – that keeps us motivated. Partnering with our clients has resulted in long-standing relationships with major multinationals and well-known brands. As a result, our top 10 clients have been working with us for an average of 12 years, many over 20.
RT: The New Delhi office was launched in 2011. How has the journey been?
KB: India is ranked as the number one fastest growing economy in the world. With it comes growth in PR. The demand for PR is increasing as many foreign companies are eyeing India for growth; Indian domestic companies are also recognising the importance of reputation and positive brand communications. Our team India brings strong skills to bear in corporate and crisis communications, in technology and in smart cities, in digital and in analytic thinking, and in marketing support and e-commerce for India’s emerging consumer and luxury market.
RT: What do you think is the differentiator that Ruder Finn brings to the table?
KB: Ruder Finn constantly innovates to anticipate our clients’ needs in time when many industries are experiencing business model shifts. This year we grew in five key areas: Connected Lives, Brand Transformations, Healthcare Innovation, Experiential Marketing and Talent Transformation. Notably, we also leveraged new technology platforms to drive our communications, including Virtual Reality, which reaches stakeholders with 360° experiences. Approaching 2017, we are doubling up on delivering disruptive innovation in areas such as social engagement, community building, customer experience, storytelling and creativity.
RT: How intense is Ruder Finn’s commitment to CSR and community?
KB: Recognising that our employees value working at a company that has a strong community commitment, we decide on CSR efforts to encourage a high level of engagement. The programs we support are quite diverse, ranging from mentoring, environmental sustainability efforts, contributing time and talent to youth organisations, and contributing around holiday times to ensure people have a sense of community and belonging.
RT: China has held an important spot in your arena. You have dual headquarters in the U.S. and China. In 2013, you launched the Chinese edition of your book Trust: The Secret Weapon of Effective Business Leaders. What is the way forward?
KB: The way forward is globalisation and working as one seamless team. We focus on sharing experience and contributing best skills from many parts of the world. This differentiates us, and helps us disrupt the PR business, plus stay ahead of our game. Ruder Finn is poised to navigate the shift in the communications world, and partner with clients to drive strategic, forward-thinking activities which truly impact our clients’ business.