New analysis from Compass Pacesetter Research, previously known as ALM Intelligence Pacesetter Research, has found that the number of reputational risk management-related services has continued to climb since the pandemic and the resulting global political and economic volatility, underscored by the rise of social media.Furthermore, stakeholders are increasingly holding organizations more accountable for their conduct.The service emphasis among innovators in professional services has moved toward a more proactive approach.This is achieved by incorporating reputation risk into a more holistic, enterprise-wide risk management strategy.

This research assessed dozens of providers to arrive at eighteen Innovators recognized for their ability to deliver tangible client impact in today’s crowded reputational risk market. Additionally, the research and analysis provide insights into the competitive dynamics and service delivery trends driving convergence across legal, management consulting, multi-service, communications/PR, and technology providers.

Research Highlights

  • The perceptual and ethical elements coupled with the difficulty in objectively measuring them often reframes reputational risk as a secondary priority to crisis management
  • A key challenge is few organizations have a reputational risk management team or chief reputational risk officer, so reputational risk management is fragmented and typically spread across multiple business units, with no one “owner”
  • With key stakeholders (i.e. customers, NGOs) closely monitoring organizations’ ESG efforts and some early government regulations, clients are finding themselves more actively thinking about reputational risk
  • Organizations that build a fully integrated strategic plan around reputational risk are strengthening their brand resiliency
  • While reputational risk is difficult to define and measure, all successful solutions rely heavily on advanced data analytical tools for key insights and monitoring, with a growing trend towards a centralized data platform

What Makes A Pacesetter & Innovator in Reputational Risk?

As detailed in the report, innovative professional services providers are most likely to try to instill a full reputational risk management framework that focuses on the needs of the client’s key stakeholders.Innovators are more likely to leverage opportunities to showcase positive initiatives and actions helping clients build long-term resiliency into their reputational risk framework.This puts the emphasis on reputational risk management in a broader strategic context for clients.

The 2023 Reputational Risk Innovators & Pacesetters

  • Accenture
  • Allison+Partners
  • Benesch
  • Clifford Chance
  • CS&A International
  • Deloitte
  • EY
  • Fasken
  • FTI Consulting
  • Ketchum
  • KPMG
  • Marsh
  • McKinsey
  • Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Osler
  • PwC 
  • Protiviti
  • Rostrum

the methodology

The goal of Pacesetter Research is to help buyers of professional services navigate an increasingly complex landscape with confidence. We use a multidisciplinary perspective to identify best-in-class providers of legal, consulting, financial, insurance, employee benefits, and other professional services and analyze how they are evolving as an ecosystem of interdisciplinary service providers. Our research is grounded in over 50 years of accumulated market insights and qualitative research models that combine knowledge of management science with case studies and other sources of knowledge to understand patterns of market supply, demand, behavior, and ways of doing business. Our research also includes voices/perspectives from both the sellside and buyside, as well as knowledgeable people working in industry associations, academia, etc.

  • The Pacesetter Advisory Council (PAC) convenes in advance of the research project kick-off; members include ALM journalists and editors, and external experts such as consultants, general counsel, and industry thought leaders

  • The PAC selects the set of Innovators that will be covered in the research topic from a larger group of providers that members have identified in the normal course of their work

  • PAC members also provide expert knowledge and insights to the ALM Pacesetter team throughout the research and analysis process

  • The Pacesetter Team within conducts primary and secondary research

  • Primary research includes in-depth interviews with practice leaders at the provider firms covered in the research; satisfaction interviews with clients referred by those providers; and in-depth interviews with thought leaders, recruiting professionals, and other sources

  • Secondary research includes data gathered from annual reports and earnings calls, management presentations, public filings, case studies, press releases, journals and publications, online information databases and other publicly available resources

  • Innovators that achieve a Pacesetter Impact Score equal to or over 85 are designated as Pacesetters

  • Pacesetter analysts map markets and stakeholders and write market trends

  • Market segment overviews are peer reviewed by the appropriate PAC member

Service providers are evaluated and scored based on five core criteria

Business Model

Provider’s ability to reposition core competencies around new products, services, and business models to adapt to shifting patterns of market supply, demand, behavior, and ways of doing business.

Value Proposition

Provider’s ability to deliver on its value proposition, i.e., the positioning statement that communicates the benefits and economic value a prospect will receive by purchasing the provider’s products and services over a competitor’s.

Service Delivery

Provider’s ability to mobilize resources and configure assets to serve clients.

Client Impact

Provider’s ability to help clients affect continuous, sustainable change, mitigate risk, improve performance, and achieve growth.

Brand Eminence

Provider’s ability to leverage brand and marketing strategies to differentiate in its marketplace as an expert practitioner and thought leader.

About The Analyst

Ruth Sierra is an Analyst on the Pacesetter Research team at ALM. Prior to joining ALM Ruth worked in education and research. She served as an Elementary Educator and Team Chair Leader using creativity and collaboration to promote a growth mindset.She has over 10 years experience in research. She worked for a consulting company as a Senior Global Manager for the market research team.Her responsibilities included Project Management, specifically research design, implementation, analysis, and presentation to clients. She completed her graduate degrees from Hunter College and Hofstra University in NY.

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