Cutting through the noise

Caroline Das-Monfrais describes how a piece of Award-winning thought leadership can raise a firm’s profile and reach its target market.

The FTI Consulting Resilience Barometer is a unique campaign studying business leaders from across the G20 economies showing how they are facing the challenges and opportunities of today’s interconnected, technologically disrupted and increasingly regulated world. In a pre Covid-19 world – where businesses were confronting cybersecurity threats, fighting financial crime and preparing for more changes in legislation and regulation – the campaign revealed that many executives remained unprepared for a new wave of risks and crises. Following a successful launch in 2019, the FTI Consulting Resilience Barometer has now evolved into a multi-year campaign and is in its second year of publication, with an expected third issue to be published in 2021, allowing businesses across the globe to annually gauge the corporate risk environment.

Background
The Resilience Barometer campaign was designed not only as a thought leadership report providing insight for public consumption, but also as a strategic tool to offer tailored responses to clients around their business resilience planning. The objective of the campaign was threefold:

  • A piece of thought leadership to drive awareness of the company and its services
  • Original insight to support client relationship development
  • Enable client deep dives for experts to share their experience and learn from best practice in their specific industries or markets.

The report explores how organisations are managing to contain and manage emerging threats through better preparedness by using our own resilience scoring methodology. In our 2020 report, this scoring identified that 84% of business leaders surveyed were anticipating a crisis in 2020, with many stepping up their adoption of new technologies. Artificial intelligence, blockchain and machine learning were identified as playing a particularly significant role both in transforming business models and combating global financial crime and cyberattacks. Around the world, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate and address the increasingly complex business challenges arising from the risks featured in this report. By testing the impact of 18 distinct scenarios most likely to negatively impact the bottom line, adversely affect reputation and lead to increased regulatory pressure, companies can develop strategic responses to today’s emerging threats.

Launch
Both reports were launched using the World Economic Forum meeting at Davos in 2019 and 2020 as a backdrop. This year, FTI Consulting launched the campaign at a breakfast event where The Economist’s Editor-In-Chief, Zanny Minton Beddoes, co-hosted a discussion with our senior adviser, Ed Vaizey, previously Minister of State for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, on the topic of business resilience. This coincided with the launch of our FTI Consulting Resilience Barometer website and a targeted social media engagement campaign resulting in a 205% year-on-year increase in views of the report online. An advert for the report was featured in the FT’s The Banker magazine and copies of it were distributed across the top hotels in Davos Dorf and Davos Platz, further leveraging the readership of the report. The Barometer was featured in a broad range of media publications including Barrons, Bloomberg and the Evening Standard, to cite but a few.

Brand
The report acted as pilot for FTI Consulting’s brand refresh scheduled to be launched in 2020. The resilience brand is built on the theme of risk and hidden threats. This was visually depicted by different predators who emerge from the darkness to ‘prey’ on others, much like how cybercriminals or regulators can unexpectedly creep up to expose the weaknesses of an organisation. These predators are made up a constellation of lines and dots to represent the interconnected ecosystems in which we operate, as well as the complexity of the issues faced across the globe. The data points from the report were transformed into infographics to bring the data to life for more impact.

Challenges
The annual World Economic Forum in Davos is a milestone moment for businesses and it’s an incredibly busy time for corporate communications. The competition for exposure and share-of-voice is extreme, particularly around common and trending themes, such as Sustainability. This means that many online conversations are already dominated or saturated in their nature.

Cutting through the noise requires a targeted and intelligent approach, using a complex blend of real-time data, strategic positioning and communications expertise. To be successful, it was crucial that FTI understood the complex landscape in which it was entering – where current perceptions lay, how the conversation was evolving, the positioning of peers and competitors, and which narratives would resonate the best with key audiences.

The Resilience Barometer used FTI’s data and analytics platforms to conduct social listening before, during and after the event. The social media insights uncovered the online landscape around core campaign themes, including: fighting financial crime; cyber security and digital trust; and ESG. These insights provided critical campaign intelligence on how FTI Consulting could position itself around the theme of resilience and allowed the conversation to continue post WEF 2020.
Through the use of advanced analytics, the team were able to develop an informed strategy that was targeted yet flexible in its approach. This enabled the campaign to cut-through the online noise directly to targeted audiences, while also adapting to changing topics, such as the presence of Greta Thunberg and the Extinction Rebellion in 2020, to remain ultra-relevant in the topics that were amplified in the campaign narrative.

Impact and looking ahead
As FTI Consulting enjoys a period of significant transformational growth, the FTI Resilience Barometer campaign has been an invaluable tool in enabling us to go to market as one firm and showcase our truly distinctive advisory services on important topics of the day, such as financial crime, business transformation and reputation management. The agenda-setting concept has not only been warmly received by our existing and potential clients, but has also been an innovative way to foster increased collaboration among colleagues across our business practices and regional offices.

Moreover, the campaign aimed to generate greater awareness of the unique expertise that FTI Consulting’s various segments offer to clients at various stages of the business cycle – from proactive risk management to rapid responses to unexpected events unravelling in dynamic environments. The themes discussed in the Resilience Barometer were to be of critical importance and relevance to our stakeholders at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. This will continue to stay relevant after Davos, and it is leveraged across all teams to add value to client conversations, as well as enable relationship development with the C-suite globally.

This campaign has played a crucial role in helping to raise FTI’s profile as the leading expert consulting firm, and also to position us as thought leaders in line with the main themes addressed at Davos. In March 2020, FTI Consulting won ‘Best Thought Leadership’ at the Managing Partners’ Forum Awards in recognition of our 2020 Resilience Barometer campaign. Later on this year, we plan to launch the United Arab Emirates and Spanish chapters of the campaign to delve deeper into the regional trends and global risk landscape.

Recently, the world has been faced with significant adversity, with the Covid-19 pandemic being a true test of corporate resilience. It has highlighted some governments’ and businesses’ difficulties in overcoming unexpected scenarios, strengthening the overall message of our research: Building resilience in a digital economy is not just about managing risk, but is also about preparedness, business model innovation, culture and leadership – as well as personal resilience – a narrative which fits perfectly with FTI Consulting’s core strengths and highlights the breadth of expertise that we are able to offer our clients.

Caroline Das-Monfrais is the global lead for the Business Resilience Barometer at FTI Consulting, and Chief Strategy Officer for the EMEA region. FTI Consulting is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organisations manage change, mitigate risk and resolve disputes.