Building Image Through Clarity in Communications
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Holmes Report
CEO

Building Image Through Clarity in Communications

Driven by strategic, pro-active media relations and media placement success, the campaign reflects KPMG's breakthrough "Clarity" brand positioning, focused on knowledge and insight.

Paul Holmes

  KPMG's entry represents a year-long unified body of work - a business-to-business campaign created and executed by the KPMG Corporate Communications team. Driven by strategic, pro-active media relations and media placement success, the campaign reflects KPMG's breakthrough "Clarity" brand positioning, focused on knowledge and insight. In the arena of Corporate and Crisis Communications, our "Clarity" media relations initiative successfully increased overall awareness for KPMG, while also protecting the KPMG brand in a litigious environment aggravated by attacks on Big Five firms by the SEC. In Accounting and Auditing, our "Clarity" campaign served to communicate product and service superiority. For KPMG's five Industry Lines of Business, our thought leadership initiative helped create a marketplace awareness of KPMG's lines of business.
 
BACKGROUND - "CLARITY" CAMPAIGN
 
At the time our "Clarity" campaign was launched, KPMG had come through a year of peaks and valleys in its public persona -- from the highs of record growth and revenue to the disappointments of a proposed merger with Ernst & Young. A confluence of events also dictated that the firm rapidly accelerate its proactive communications to the business community. Importantly, our efforts capitalized on the firm's "Clarity" brand campaign so that all facets of the B-to-B campaign therefore reflected KPMG's marketplace differentiator.
 
OBJECTIVES
 
Brand Awareness & Crisis -- Create one clear, distinct identity for the Firm and its numerous products and services that is consistent with its achievements; protect the Firm, its reputation and its credibility -- and communicate a positive set of messages.
 
Product & Service Superiority -- Develop new leads and help generate new revenue by introducing and building marketplace awareness of KPMG's powerful Assurance Services product line and technology prowess, and by demonstrating KPMG's global relevance through its common worldwide methodology platform; help KPMG's Assurance Services become the fastest growing among the Big 5 Accounting Firms for fiscal year 2000.
 
Industry Thought Leadership -- Develop and implement comprehensive public relations plans that promote KPMG's industry lines of businesses and national industry directors as well as the Firm's industry leaders in its consulting businesses in leading trade, national and global media.
 
STRATEGIES
 
Brand Awareness & Crisis -- Align media relations with the attributes of KPMG's "Clarity" brand campaign and position Chairman Steve Butler as the architect of the new global vision for accounting firms; apply a cohesive world-class level of crisis management to the full scope of crisis related initiatives.
 
Product & Service Superiority -- Take a holistic view of the Assurance Services (Accounting and Audit) products and leverage - across six product silos - the firm's dynamic, real-time collective knowledge, focusing on KPMG's highly-skilled, industry-focused professionals who provide clients with end-to-end solutions for their businesses.
 
Industry Thought Leadership -- Spotlight industry thought leadership through implementation of fast, impactful communications tactics that generate media coverage in leading business and trade publications.
 
EXECUTION
 
Brand Awareness & Crisis -- Our "Clarity" media relations campaign included an aggressive program that connected Chairman Butler with the national and international news media. On one level, Mr. Butler became a leading figure in the profession's battle with the SEC; on a second level, Mr. Butler was positioned to lead external communications regarding the globalization of KPMG; and, on a third level, Mr. Butler personified the firm in communicating the rationale and benefits behind the Initial Public Offering for KPMG's Consulting practice. In Crisis Communications, the team's world-class ability to mitigate the firm's exposure during crisis situations was put to use almost daily. Such crisis management activities have included SEC actions; audit resignations; personnel matters; and numerous other crises.
 
Product & Service Superiority -- We developed and delivered an aggressive media campaign that organized silos of Assurance products into a cohesive, strategic program designed to demonstrate the KPMG advantage to current and potential clients. The team organized and focused Assurance leadership on the development of core messaging and media trained 42 spokespeople. We also aggressively placed Assurance messaging in top­tier general business and industry publications that reach the firm's targeted client base, focusing on KPMG's differentiation in the marketplace.
 
Industry Thought Leadership -- The team created a series of surveys on trends and issues to generate media coverage for KPMG's industry and consulting leaders; built and executed a global media campaign on an industry e-business study and prepared more than 16 spokespersons for targeted media interviews with top tier publications, and launched an intensive six-month market awareness campaign for KPMG's consulting business, prior to an IPO for that business.
 
Special Projects: NetAid -- Showcasing Global Internet Integration Capabilities - The team created and executed a broad public relations campaign to support KPMG's sponsorship of NetAid and KPMG Consulting's development of the NetAid "mega" Web site. For the "Digital Transformation" book launch, the team engineered a two-part book launch strategy - through a broad radio campaign and by focusing on trade and business media. "DT" was promoted as a tool to help develop an e-Business vision.
 
EVALUATION
 
Brand Awareness - Our corporate media relations campaign successfully generated an array of coverage that underscores direct, articulate and strategic KPMG points of view on an equally wide array of issues. Resulting publicity has included a profile in the Wall Street Journal; hard-hitting Financial Times and CFO Magazine interviews establishing Mr. Butler as a leading Big Five spokesman; an interview with Business Week about the SEC's proposed rule; and, interviews for Mr. Butler focusing on globalization as well as the proposed IPO with the Financial Times, Reuters and Wall Street Journal Europe. These and other corporate communications initiatives (excluding crisis) generated a total of 641.7 million impressions.
 
Product & Service Superiority -- Placements dramatically increased on a month-to-month basis during the Assurance portion of KPMG's "Building Image through Clarity" campaign, providing 290.1 million impressions during 2000 and resulting in a demonstrable increase in brand awareness on a global basis. The Corporate Communications initiative was directly responsible for more than $3.5 million in new business, and directly and indirectly responsible for thousands of new business leads for sales partners to convert. Assurance Services growth at KPMG was 16 percent for the fiscal year, among the highest in the industry.
 
Industry Thought Leadership -- Publicity for KPMG's industry lines of business and thought leaders soared in the year, with some 400 news stories generated in leading Tier One business and trade publications, accounting for total impressions of 250.3 million. As reported in KPMG's recent fiscal year financial results, the Firm's five industry lines of business grew an average of 16 percent in revenues.
 
Special Projects -- Our immense media campaign for NetAid generated 203.5 million impressions through national and international publicity for the Firm -- from print and broadcast media interviews for Consulting partners, to a continuous series of news releases, media advisories and updates, to obtaining interviews and other coverage with the press corps at the live NY concert, including KPMG's $1 million contribution. For the "Digital Transformation" launch, 46 million impressions were generated by more than 17 radio stations interviews were arranged for Mary Pat McCarthy, many in drive-time slots; another 124 placements resulted from a radio news release created for the project. In addition, the book, author, and firm have been featured in more than 25 publications. "Digital Transformation" has greatly exceeded the goals of publisher McGraw-Hill (45,000 copies sold), and is currently being distributed internationally.
 
The final measure is a total of 1.4 Billion impressions, with 90%+ message pull-through.
 
 
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