Disruptive Publicity
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Holmes Report

Disruptive Publicity

What do you do if you’re a little known management consulting firm that competes in the same space as Bain, McKinsey and Booz Allen & Hamilton?

Paul Holmes


What do you do if you’re a little known management consulting firm that competes in the same space as Bain, McKinsey and Booz Allen & Hamilton?  If you’re Integral, you turn to PepperCom to create a unique positioning, leverage existing partnerships with leading academics and develop new partnerships that help identify and heighten awareness of the key issues facing Fortune 500 companies in the digital economy.

A management consulting firm specializing in disruptive technologies, Integral turned to PepperCom to exponentially raise awareness among C-level executives at Fortune 500 companies.  Our goal was to brand the firm’s disruptive technology practice as the leading authority on detecting and leveraging disruption in the new economy for brick and mortar companies.


Integral was a small consulting shop with no brand recognition.  It was competing in an already cluttered marketplace, and hoped to garner major press within little or no news coming out of the company.  Additionally, because of the non-disclosure agreements between Integral and its clients, we were unable to leverage any case studies that would demonstrate the firm’s ability to help clients disrupt themselves before they were disrupted by an emerging technology in their own space.


The overarching objective was to garner maximum publicity among Integral’s target clients: C-level executives at Fortune 500 companies.  These executives had multiple options from which to choose when picking a consulting firm to guide them through the maze of the new economy.

PepperCom’s planning process began with a detailed positioning audit in which we conducted one-on-one interviews with internal Integral executives, and external interviews with academic affiliates, industry influencers, and former clients.  We also conducted a brief, but thorough, competitive positioning landscape in order to determine not only how the competitors were positioning themselves but, critically, to determine how the media were reporting the positionings (i.e. had someone already staked a claim to the disruptive technology space?).

Based upon our findings, we recommended the following positioning: “Disrupt yourself before someone else does.”  This line not only differentiated Integral from every other consulting firm, it also enabled Integral to speak directly to the C-level executives who were facing disruption in today’s volatile economy.


With the positioning completed, PepperCom now turned its attention towards developing a strategy to break through the clutter and generate maximum publicity for Integral. Our first recommendation was to establish a quantifiable need in the marketplace. We accomplished this by leveraging Integral’s existing partnership with Harvard Business Professor Clayton Christensen to develop a six-question survey that gauged the vulnerability of senior level executives to disruption in their industries.  

We next approached Rick Tetzeli, technology business reporter at Fortune magazine.  Our suggestion: create a partnership between Fortune and Integral, conduct Christensen’s survey and provide the results exclusively to the publication.  The publication agreed to the partnership and the survey was conducted via Fortune and Integral’s Web site for two months.

After tallying more than 800 responses from senior-level executives, we discovered that a majority of respondents predicted that their company would be displaced by a disruptive technology in the near future.  Additionally, a majority of the respondents who said that their companies were highly vulnerable to disruption had no viable solution to avoid being displaced.  These results demonstrated a major problem, setting up the ideal opportunity for demonstrating the need for Integral’s disruptive technology expertise.

After the survey was complete and at PepperCom’s suggestion, Fortune asked Gary Getz, managing principal of Integral, to analyze the results.  Getz offered various solutions for companies looking to stimulate new innovations and create some disruptive qualities of their own.


Fortune magazine ran a three-page feature story about the survey and the issues surrounding disruptive technology.  The article highlighted Integral as one of the leading authorities and problem-solvers in the disruptive technology field. Additionally, the article also raised awareness of Integral’s partnership with Clayton Christensen and the work they have accomplished on this initiative to date.
Of critical importance, based on intense messaging and media training sessions, the positioning created by PepperCom for Integral appeared in the article in the form of a quote from Gary Getz (“Disrupt yourself before someone else does.”). This major placement enabled Integral to claim immediate ownership of the practice area that clearly differentiates the company from all other consulting firms in the industry.

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