Q & A with Michael Hatcliffe - Corporate

Michael Hatcliffe, Managing Director
North American Corporate Practice
E-mail | 312-397-6010

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1. What are some of the challenges clients face, and how does Ogilvy address them?

The biggest reputation challenge nowadays is that a conversation can be going on about you in many, many places. It's going on in traditional media, in the online world, in pressure groups, and in government circles. For a commercial organization to be able to track and manage its reputation, there are just so many places it needs to be, and so many places it needs to represent itself.

That's why we've got specialists in a number of different areas: employee communications specialists, public affairs specialists, and specialists in corporate social responsibility, to handle important issues like sustainability and philanthropy. In addition to the core disciplines like media relations and messaging, we've built a set of competencies that help companies with all aspects of their reputation management.

2. What is your process for developing ideas for your clients?

Everyone at Ogilvy follows the butterfly process. The butterfly process is Ogilvy's great creative process. It's a step-by-step, creative, strategic process by which you drive through knowledge, research, and insight to a "big idea" that will drive the client program. It enables us to take a big, long look at the context in which clients operate, in terms of the market, the competition, what happens with customers, and what the bigger trends are. Then we narrow this down to what's happening within the organization. And then we narrow it down again to the insights that are ultimately driving the ideas and the program. That's a 360 process where we work with agencies or people in different disciplines, so we're not just coming at it from a PR point of view, but an overall brand or reputation point of view.

For CSR in particular, we have an eight-step process to identify, prioritize, monitor and manage issues. We believe that CSR is one of the opportunities for a company to build its reputation and differentiate itself.

3. How are you an Ogilvy person?

What makes me an Ogilvy person? I enjoy working with a lot of smart people I'm constantly learning from. I enjoy that team spirit and collaborative culture. And I enjoy the client focus that lies at the heart of all of it.

I think one of the wonderful things about Ogilvy is that it's got a lot of senior, very talented people who work very well together. They're all very bright and experienced in their own ways, but at the same time, there's this wonderful collaborative culture that brings all this talent together on behalf of clients.


1. How long have you been with Ogilvy? What made you want to join the company?

I joined Ogilvy in October 2005.

I wanted to join this company because Ogilvy is going places. I was impressed by the creative energy and the sense of purpose and client focus that exists in this agency. It's very refreshing and it's given me a new lease on life. It's really rekindled my enthusiasm for the power of public relations.

2. What is it that differentiates how Ogilvy approaches corporate communications? What do we know how to do that others do not?

We have a very distinct view of the way brand and reputation fit together. When I first came to Ogilvy, in my first week, somebody at a meeting came up with an insight which I've used ever since: "Brand is the promise that you make; reputation is whether you live up to that promise or not."

Most of PR lives in reputation; it's about telling stories and building allies and relationships in order to show that you're delivering on that brand promise.

At Ogilvy, we've got people who understand how to tell stories and how to find and reach out to audiences and stakeholders. We use a process called 360-Degree Influencer Managementâ„¢ to create what we call "concentric circles of awareness" of a company and its mission, strategies and results.
Nowadays reaching out to people in this way this is crucial in building a good corporate reputation.

3. What is Ogilvy's greatest asset or edge in helping clients?

Ideas. Our ideas come from the power of the very talented people at Ogilvy, but also from the power of the processes which bring that talent together, and the methodologies we've got to come up with creative solutions. In the corporate practice, for example, we've developed a process for reaching out to influencers and getting them to help tell our clients' story with credibility.

These ideas and methods have real impact for clients' businesses. We've got great case studies of how our work has built the reputation of new brands, supported companies through periods of great change and helped others reposition themselves in highly competitive markets.