Year Four Update

As we conclude our fourth year at KTStewart, we want to again thank all of our clients for relying on us to help them build and protect their reputations in these tumultuous times. One thing remains clear. The challenges faced by all organizations are growing exponentially and the need for a communications partner that can provide a clear perspective and path forward has never been greater.
Following is a brief recap of our work this past year as well as the highlights of our continued involvement with USC, including the USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations, which I serve as a member of the board of advisors, and the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, where I continue to be an adjunct professor.

Corporate Communications

  • For a leading financial institution, identified key U.S.-China relations influencers across traditional and online media, policymakers, business leaders, authors/academics, think tanks and community leaders; made recommendations on how to engage and generate support from these thought leaders

  • For the same organization, provided short and long-term content marketing recommendations for the CEO's blog

  • Conducted a comprehensive internal audit for a high-end automotive restoration company on its current mission, values, brand and reputation to assist it in further developing its mission, vision and brand framework

Crisis and Issues Management

  • Researched and wrote a comprehensive crisis management manual to help a high-end automotive restoration company manage and communicate around the most likely and impactful crisis situations it could potentially face

  • Conducted a comprehensive audit of a leading toy company's existing crisis response plan and protocols and made a series of recommendations on how to align it with best practices

  • Provided best practices for communicating public information on a broad scale in a crisis, including the use of websites and traditional and social media for a leading financial institution

  • Continued to support a leading apparel brand on a host of issues ranging from litigation, trade policy, employee relations, tax and customer inquiries. We also created and organized a day-long retail related crisis simulation for senior management.

Consumer Marketing

  • Wrote and produced a compelling visual presentation for a nonprofit on its innovative palliative care program

  • Provided ongoing content marketing support for USC's Annenberg Center for Third Space Thinking, including website, e-newsletter and blog post content; social media engagement; and leadership development conference marketing

USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations 2019 Relevance Report

unnamed (3).jpg

For this year's Relevance Report, which identifies emerging issues and forecasts topics and trends impacting society, business and communications in the coming year, I had the opportunity to author a thought piece titled, "The Moneyballification of Communication." The essay explores the over obsession we seem to have with big data at the expense of our hearts and guts. You can read it here.

Helping Prepare the Next Generation

This past fall, I once again had the privilege of teaching a graduate-level class at USC Annenberg I helped create and develop titled, PR Management: A 360-Degree View. The first half of the course focused on managing the communications function inside an organization and the second half on managing an agency. This coming fall, I will be teaching another graduate-level class, Corporate Communications and Reputation Management. I continue to be incredibly impressed with the quality of students as well as their commitment and dedication to building successful and meaningful careers in our profession.

29th KOS Symposium

Sponsored by the Center for Public Relations at the USC Annenberg School, this year's symposium, held March 28 and titled, "PR: Tech, The Future of Technology in Communication," featured a keynote address from Google's vice president, global communications and public affairs Corey duBrowa.  Fred Cook, director of the Center and Golin chairman, unveiled the results of the 2019 Global Communications Report.  You can download the full report here which addresses the impact that technology is having on our profession.

A Final Word

It's been a rough couple of years for my alma mater - USC.  None of the scandals in and of themselves have been communications specific; the issues run much deeper than that for sure.  However, it seems like every time the University attempts to respond it only makes the situation worse.  The lack of transparency, forthrightness, humility and a willingness to take responsibility have been astounding. The good news is the University is in the middle of a complete reset, which is long overdue.  We have a new president, a new SVP of human resources, a new SVP of administration and are in the midst of recruiting a new chief legal counsel and provost.  Even better, USC has just hired Glenn Osaki as its new SVP, chief communications officer.  I had the privilege of having Glenn as a graduate student in a class I taught at USC in the early 80s and had an opportunity to work with him at MSL.  The University could not have hired anyone better for this job.  It's going to take time, but things finally seem to be back on track. 

Thanks again to our terrific clients.

For more information on KTStewart, please visit the firm website and follow us on Twitter and connect with and follow us on LinkedIn.