Reputation Partners
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report
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Reputation Partners

Holmes Report

There are four critical dimensions to a strong corporate reputation: a company’s relationship with the business and financial media; its communication with employees; its ability to manage relevant issues and, if necessary, crises; and its engagement with a broad range of stakeholders. There are plenty of impressive and successful public relations firms that specialize in one dimension or another (particularly the first) but surprisingly few smaller agencies with capabilities that span all four. Reputation Partners, founded in 2002 by Nick Kalm—former leader of the corporate reputation management practice at Edelman and a veteran of in-house roles with FMC Corporation and American Cyanamid—is one such firm.
 Kalm and his team, which includes co-founders Jane Devron (a veteran of Edelman and Ogilvy Public Relations in Chicago) and Megan Hakes (former director of corporate communications for Household International, now HSBC North America), have experience handling a wide range of corporate communications challenges, from IPOs and spin-offs to cultural change to union negotiations to investigative media reports and litigation. The firm also has experience brokering mutually beneficial relationships between large companies and non-governmental organizations, forestalling boycotts and creating roadmaps for productive engagement.
 Revenues continued to grow at a solid double-digit pace in 2006, as the firm continued its work for corporate clients such as Equity Office, Equity International, Fifth Third Bank, GE, IBM, Lee Hecht Harrison, Mountain Valley Spring Company, OfficeMax, and Owens Corning and added new clients including Stora Enso, Von Maur, Ovation Pharmaceuticals, the Building Owners & Managers Association and Vonage. Interesting assignments included working with GE to develop and implement a recurring day-long workshop on presentation skills for high-potential executives; helping to establish Fifth Third Bank as one of the leading banks in the extremely-crowded and competitive Chicago banking market; bolstering Lincoln International’s reputation as one of the world’s leading middle market M&A investment banks; solidifying Equity International’s reputation as a leading international private equity firm; helping three different companies successfully address class action lawsuits; conducting a global vulnerabilities audit fora leading manufacturer; and transforming the public debate surrounding an energy provider’s planned rate increase and its impact on the local business community.
 “Reputation Partners has delivered world-class counsel to Equity International…. They have consistently exhibited the highest level of insight, organization and professionalism…and have been instrumental in establishing our corporate brand value,” says Gary Garrabrant, CEO. And Howard Bernstein, partner at Neal Gerber & Eisenberg adds: “I have worked closely with Reputation Partners on several high profile labor relations situations. In every instance, the team delivered very high quality, responsive service and—most importantly—sound, practical advice. The firm quickly sizes up the situation and develops the appropriate strategy for publicizing a highly-credible message which is easily understood by all intended audiences.”
 Reputation Partners has conducted work including media outreach and employee communications in a number of international markets. In addition to its offices in the United States, it has a presence in Europe through senior consultant Jonathan Wootliff, an expert on stakeholder engagement (he was previously head of corporate communications for Greenpeace International) now based in Prague and Brussels.
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