No organisation is immune to change. Most will at some point be forced to reconsider their current strategy – often due to factors beyond their control – and to refashion themselves to adapt to those different circumstances.
Corporate restructuring activities range from simple strategic actions that can be executed in a short timeframe, to hugely complex transformation programmes that take years to work through.
Whether simple or complex, management teams can become so focused on the structural, operational, and logistical reforms necessary that they forget those are often only half the challenge. The task of communicating those changes – to colleagues and the full range of external stakeholders – is equally important and can define a reputation for good or otherwise.
Done well, it will enhance your ability to deliver the changes necessary, smoothing the path to your goal by ensuring those within and outside your organisation understand the rationale for the changes and are motivated to help implement them. Done badly, it will compromise the successful delivery of elements of the plan and, at worst, jeopardise the whole exercise, undermining the reputation both of the organisation and those in leadership positions.
Charlotte Street Partners provides strategic communications advice and hands-on support to leaders facing complex challenges.
How we can help
We relieve pressure on executive committees and boards by assessing risk and applying mitigating measures. We both create content and carefully plan its delivery, to ensure your actions and rationale are communicated clearly to all stakeholders. We become an integral part of project teams to support the orderly execution of your strategy, protecting not only value but individual and corporate reputations.
We provide a wide range of services, advice and practical support to organisations looking to restructure their business and those implementing major change or transformation programmes. We will always tailor our support to fit the specific circumstances an organisation faces, but areas we typically cover include:
- Minimising and mitigating reputational damage arising from a restructuring exercise
- Ensuring all internal and external communications are clear, consistent, and strategic
- Safeguarding plans and the individuals who are responsible for delivering them
- Mapping an organisation’s stakeholders with a view to developing appropriate communications approaches for each
- Preparing for the risk of information leaks and stepping in to manage the situation if that transpires
- Proactive and reactive media relations and public affairs support
- Retaining an engaged workforce throughout a transformation programme
- Maintaining a good working relationship with regulators to ensure they have faith in the plan and your ability to communicate it.
We are highly flexible in the way we deliver these services and endeavour to shape our approach around your organisation’s structures, values, routines, and resource levels.
The only thing we won’t adapt to suit you is our advice; our senior and experienced team believes in the value of providing a candid, objective view based on protecting an organisation’s best interests, rather than the feelings of those running it.
Products & services
Tailored media training
A half-day media training session for up to three people, designed to focus on the issue or situation you face and to test messages and narrative. We will work with your in-house team to understand the issue and wider context before devising a bespoke media training experience that will help sharpen your messaging and prepare spokespeople to face a potentially hostile media.
Comprehensive stakeholder mapping exercise
We will spend time with the relevant members of your team to carefully document your organisation’s various stakeholder groups, including customers, employees, suppliers, regulators, and the media. We will also consider the full range of communications channels available and advise how best to reach and engage with each group in the most effective and efficient way possible.
If you are considering two or more potential courses of action, we can stress-test each option from a communications and reputation perspective, listing the pros and cons of each and setting out how they are likely to be received by different stakeholders. In doing so, we will identify risks and opportunities and make clear, actionable recommendations based on our analysis of the situation and the different options available to your organisation.
Preparing for an information leak
Most major change programmes represent a reputational risk at the point they are announced to a workforce and the outside world. They are almost always a risk for several weeks or months before that point too, because as long as there is a project team, there will be documents, meetings, and rumours that risk leaking out into the wider employee base and/or the world beyond. If your executive team is working on a confidential project or plan you fear may leak before you are ready to share the details, we can help ensure you are prepared for that worst-case scenario and provide peace-of-mind that any damage would be minimised.
Bolstering in-house comms team capacity
When organisations come under intense media scrutiny, internal capacity is often stretched to the limit. We can deploy a team of expert media handlers or public affairs specialists to assist with everything from drafting content to stakeholder engagement and handling incoming enquiries. Given the variable nature of this work, we can rapidly scale our support to meet specific needs.
David Gaffney, Senior Partner
David runs our business transformation and restructuring communications practice. David is skilled in media relations, crisis handling and reputation management, having joined Charlotte Street Partners in 2015 after seven years with RBS during the most turbulent period in the company’s history.
David was part of the communications team tasked with defending and rebuilding the RBS’s reputation following government bailouts in 2008 and 2009. During his time at the bank, he gained significant hands-on experience of media relations, crisis management, financial reporting, sponsorship, and events.
David managed external communications for several major M&A deals and corporate restructuring exercises. For 18 months he led the media relations effort for the bank’s non-core division, which handled the high-profile disposal of more than £200bn in assets in five years. David was also a key member of the press office that led the frontline response to executive pay scandals, major technology failures affecting customer accounts, client company insolvencies, and one of the biggest corporate losses in UK history.
As a communications consultant both before and since then, David has also advised clients, set strategy, and acted as a media spokesperson for organisations and individuals experiencing a range of challenging circumstances, including landmark legal trials, large-scale redundancy announcements, fatal accidents, a bacterial outbreak, and a major public inquiry.
Get in touch
For more information on our services, or to discuss in confidence a specific situation or project you may require our support with, contact David Gaffney via email, or mobile – 07854 609998.