Corporate Social Responsibility has been an integral part of Ketchum’s DNA since our founding in 1923. Ketchum's growth has been fueled by its commitment to serving clients and by its belief that communications can play a central role in making the world a better place. So much so, in fact, that we coined our own term for it: “Ketchum Social Responsibility,” or “KSR.” As one of the largest global public relations firms in the world, we believe we have a responsibility to contribute to our communities and empower our colleagues to do the same. Below are examples of the ways we are doing just that.
90th Anniversary Campaign
Room to Read Girls’ Education Program
The year of our 90th anniversary also happened to coincide with Ketchum’s fifth anniversary with Room to Read, a global organization focused on transforming children’s lives through literacy and gender equality in education. Underscoring the importance of Room to Read’s mission, Ketchum and its employees decided to raise $90,000 to empower 90 girls who are enrolled in the nonprofit’s Girls’ Education program in Tanzania and India. The donations went towards helping girls graduate from secondary school and develop the skills needed to succeed beyond the classroom. We dedicated the donation in honor of the long-standing partnerships we have with our clients.
From bake sales to auctions, and fashion shows to coin collection jars in office lunch rooms, Ketchum employees didn’t stop at $90,000 – they kept going until they surpassed the goal by thousands of dollars. With $95,000 raised, we are proud to be able to put 95 girls on a life-changing course.
90 Non-profit Brainstorms
In addition to this, Ketchum challenged all of our colleagues worldwide to participate in an initiative to conduct 90 non-profit brainstorms for local charities around the world. The goal of our 90-for-90 Campaign was to empower colleagues to come together and brainstorm short and long term solutions for nonprofit organizations.
In all, Ketchum conducted 92 pro-bono brainstorms for a diverse group of nonprofits, addressing causes ranging from children’s health to animal welfare to the environment and more. These are just a few of the organizations we supported with this effort:
Creative for Good
In 2013, Ketchum, The World Economic Forum and the Ad Council launched Creative for Good, an online resource for organizations embarking on public education campaigns giving access to inspiring case studies. The site brings together more than 60 campaigns from around the world that cover social issues such as education, health, and the environment.
Room to Read
After a lengthy review and analysis of partner organizations, Ketchum found a kindred spirit with Room to Read, a global charity dedicated to building schools and libraries and directly supporting education programs in Asia. We believe companies make the best contributions to such programs by offering whatever it is they do best; in Ketchum’s case, this is communications, and we are involved with a wide range of communications support activities to reinforce the Room to Read mission around the world.
Room to Read was established in 2000 based on the belief that education is crucial to breaking the cycle of poverty in the developing world. Since then, the organization has supported more than 4 million children through the building of more than 1,400 schools and 12,000 libraries and the distribution of over nine million books in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zambia.
With its goal of communication closely aligned with Room to Read’s goals of literacy and education, Ketchum provides media relations, reputation management and event management support to Room to Read, among other services. Watch this video describing more about the Ketchum and Room to Read partnership.
Ketchum has “loaned” a senior consultant, Julie Ferriot, to Room to Read in its San Francisco headquarters to provide high-level technical support and to coordinate Ketchum teams around the world on a range of projects and initiatives, including these:
- Construction of Library in Nepal - Ketchum supported the construction of one of the 10,000 libraries that has been built by Room to Read around the globe. The Shree Pandit Chaur Secondary School in Nepal opened in May 2010 and was built entirely from funds provided by Ketchum and its employees. The one-room building opened with more than 800 books and serves as a venue for regular library periods for students from grades one through five as well as for art competitions, quiz contests and community events.
- 10th Anniversary Support - Ketchum provided sole PR support for Room to Read’s 10th anniversary celebration in June 2010, the simultaneous completion of its 10,000th library, in Nepal, and the launch of a scholarship program that offers 10,000 girls critical life skills education.
- Media Placements - Ketchum continues to help Room to Read gain media coverage around the world, including placements that have included stories in the Associated Press, USA Today, Parade magazine (U.S.), the Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), Gulf News (U.A.E.) and the Sunday Times (Singapore), among others.
- Message Architecture - As Room to Read marks its 10th anniversary, Ketchum has supported this important milestone by revisiting overall messaging for the organization and helping to develop language that reflects its significant accomplishments and goals for the future.
- Media Training - Ketchum has provided media training to founder John Wood, CEO Erin Ganju and several members of the Room to Read development team.
- Publication and Distribution of 5,000 Books in Laos - A Ketchum fundraising effort in the U.S. and London resulted in the agency’s ability to produce a book as part of Room to Read’s Local Language Publishing program. Thousands of books were distributed to schools throughout Laos in June 2009.
Ketchum was the first public relations agency to join the United Nations Global Compact, an international initiative to promote responsible corporate citizenship so that business can be part of the solution to the challenges of globalization. Click here to read our latest Communication on Progress report.
World Economic Forum
Since 2004, Ketchum has provided services to promote the World Economic Forum Global Health Initiative, a public-private sector network designed to fight HIV-AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in the developing world. One example of this work is the China Health Alliance, a groundbreaking initiative that brings together select companies, the Chinese government, U.N. agencies and nongovernmental organizations in a joint effort to curb the large-scale spread of tuberculosis and HIV in a country where 45% of the population carries a latent form of tuberculosis.
Since 2004, Ketchum has put its public relations expertise to work through its 24/7 brainstorm program. During a 24-hour period, Ketchum teams generate marketing and communication strategies for local nonprofits that don’t ordinarily have the resources to spend for such counsel. Ketchum employees attend at least one brainstorm session and match their expertise with each nonprofit’s need and interest. Ketchum also recruits guest brainstormers from the local business, academic and nonprofit community. The program has been held each year since 2004 in Ketchum’s Atlanta and Chicago offices.
Ketchum leaders also contribute their time and knowledge to advancing the PR profession through leadership in associations around the world. For example, Ketchum CEO Ray Kotcher was the 2009 Chair of the Council of Public Relations Firms, and in mid-2010 Ketchum Europe CEO David Gallagher stepped down as Chairman of the Public Relations Consultants Association. In addition, Paul Rand, CEO and President of Zócalo Group, a division of Ketchum and Omnicom Group that helps companies and brands create sustainable word-of-mouth and brand evangelists, is an immediate former President of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA). What's more, Kenneth Chu, CEO of Ketchum Greater China, serves as Vice President of the Shanghai Public Relations Association, marking the first time a member of a PR agency has held this position, and Simeon Mellalieu, General Manager of Ketchum Hong Kong, is the current Chairman of the Council of Public Relations Firms of Hong Kong.