Our Corporate Practice works with listed and private companies, using our unique combination of expertise and technology to protect clients from the ever-changing digital risks to their business and reputation, and helping them take control of their online narrative. Head of Corporate Barney McCarthy describes the role of our Corporate Practice and how we work with clients on proactive and reactive digital campaigns and online reputation management programmes.
1. Setting the scene for how the Corporate Practice works, could you tell us a little about the threats and risks that corporate clients are facing in the digital world today?
While advances in technology have made it easier than ever for companies to expand and trade internationally, they have also introduced a host of threats those companies wouldn’t have encountered previously. With the growth of social media, keeping track of what the world is saying about your business has never been more complex. Placing your head above the parapet inevitably draws slings and arrows, whether they are genuine concerns, or nefarious allegations from competitors. We help our corporate clients keep up with these conversations, as well as analysing the impact on how they are portrayed as a result, and ensuring they put their best foot forward online.
2. What kind of clients do you work with in the Corporate Practice?
We pride ourselves on being sector-agnostic, helping organisations from all types of industries to protect their online reputations and take control of the narratives that surround them. There’s no real segregation in terms of size or history either – we work with clients ranging from fintech start-ups finding their way in the world, to established blue-chip FTSE100 companies. Digitalis does have separate teams focusing on financial services and private clients, enabling the Corporate Practice to look at everything else – leaving plenty to get stuck in to. That’s one of the most attractive elements of heading up the Corporate Practice: no two clients are the same.
3. Tell us a little about the people who make up Digitalis’s Corporate Practice team – what skills and backgrounds do they have, and how do they work together to provide solutions for corporate clients?
Our practice specialisms are separate to our operational departments, which means we have experts from across the business contributing to the Corporate Practice. This is an effective set-up, as someone who works in the client services team is likely to approach a challenge in a different way to somebody with a tech background, and this blend of expertise means the client receives a holistic and bespoke solution to suit their needs. Our Corporate Practice includes former journalists, communications experts, team members with legal and compliance backgrounds, project managers and multilingual tech gurus, so there is no base left uncovered when it comes to tackling digital challenges.
4. Moving on to the proprietary technology that Digitalis uses to help corporate clients, can you tell us a little more about how this works and what the results are for clients?
There are many facets to our technology, so it’s probably easiest to think of it as a well-oiled engine, with a variety of components working together to create an efficient machine. It includes specialised tools such as factor extractor, which enables us to gather all on- and off-page search elements that position a URL on a search engine.
The technology also includes page change alerts, that maintain a historical record of all content on a page and provide an alert system of changes to the page in real time, as they happen. This can be invaluable for a variety of reasons, including accessing information that has since been removed, or allowing a busy corporate press office to keep up with below-the-line comments on a breaking news story.
Other parts of the tech include search engine regulation, social media mapping and a URL optimiser. Together, these elements form a greater whole whose main objective is the continued learning of how search engine algorithms work, so we can help companies present the best versions of themselves online.
5. How can you help clients who come to you in the build-up to an important event such as a merger or a float, or to limit the damage in the wake of a controversy or crisis?
While pre-preparedness is always preferable to retrospectively unwinding issues, we are well-versed in both, and can help corporates at any stage of their journey. There is a raft of due diligence to undertake when preparing for a milestone such as a merger. A surface-level skim might reveal certain considerations, but our investigations go much deeper and can uncover factors that might make or break a deal.
If you think of a float as a beauty parade in attracting investment, funding might not be forthcoming if a company is not presented in the best light online. We can make sure companies conduct a thorough spring clean before opening their doors to the world.
In the event of a controversy, we operate as the digital arm of a crisis communications team – monitoring for further coverage and fallout, analysing the impact on shareholders, and steering a company safely to calmer waters by wresting back control of their online narrative.
6. Finally, what new developments are you working on in the Corporate Practice, and how will these enable Digitalis to help corporate clients in new ways?
We are always working on ways to further enhance the service we offer corporate clients, leaving no stone unturned to ensure they have all the tools they need at their disposal. While our work is most effective when our experts are interpreting and acting on the analysis, one product that has been in the offing for some time is an insights tool that provides a clients’ communications teams with an interactive dashboard for ongoing monitoring. It enables clients to swiftly observe the current status quo across a variety of markets without having to wade through numerous clippings and sources of information.
We also work in close collaboration with our technical development team to ensure we are ahead of the curve in reacting to the best way to monitor platforms such as Twitter and Reddit, so corporate clients never miss out on valuable information.