Reputation Resilience In and Around a Crisis with Kith’s Bill Coletti
Meet Kith, your Organization's Best Friend in the Time of Crisis
While companies are spending millions to avoid crisis, others relax and have their mess taken care of. Yes, that's what Kith does; they are a crisis communication and reputation management company focused on helping organizations defend their reputation at all costs. As unconventional as this business may sound, they have grown to be a household name in the B2B industry. Bill Coletti, the CEO and Founder of Kith, in this interview with upmyinfluence, discusses his career and business at large.
Growing up in the United States, Bill was really into politics and ran campaigns throughout the first half of his political career. He continued till sometime in the year 2000. During the second half of 2000, he had shifted from running political campaigns to running campaigns for top corporations. That’s where he garnered his idea and knowledge of his current business; according to him, “when you think about a political campaign, you're just trying to have one less crisis than the other guy.” This is exactly how he has been running the business ever since: always trying to have one less crisis than the other guy.
Kith, since its inception, has been handling every client's case as a political campaign, trying to get it rid of scandal as much as possible. For the company to effectively carry out its functions, a strong PR department is essential, so the company invests a lot to make that section of their business as strong and effective as possible, just like in political campaigns. While talking to Josh, Bill disclosed that just like in political campaigns, the worse thing you can say in an interview is “no comment.” And according to him, too, “it can eat your soul.”
Kith has worked with quite many clients, one of such being Kiff, which he has worked with for six years now. Another is what he prefers to call a “prestigious PR firm.” Others are Cargill, and the college board of American Express, then the Master Court of Sommeliers, which he admits to being fond of. What makes up a profitable business is its ability to satisfy its clients, and in return, these clients stay happy with you. And that's one of Bill's many business philosophies: building a happy client base.
When Destiny Comes calling, the Least you Could do is to Listen, then take Notes.
Like most people, Bill did not wake up one morning to decide to be an entrepreneur; he is a typical example of the saying “necessity is the mother of invention.” He ventured into entrepreneurship out of necessity. Bill worked with a big firm; when things turned bad, another bigger firm had to acquire it. And unlike usual, their leadership team had to assume the top management (of that bigger firm), which was way strange. Then the employee base went up from 150 to 3000, which made the working environment unmanageable for him. So, for him, the pressure was too much, and that was how the necessity of creating his own company came about; he had to leave the company, but not without taking some clients with him. He incubated them, and the outcome was the inflow of many other clients. Daring but smart move! The lesson from Bill's story teaches us that when you are ready to burn the ship, make sure you already have your networks of ships to hang onto, or you are going to drown.
What Kith Does, and the Need to Keep Happy Customers
The company provides really interesting services, webinars, and different classic that is associated with it. They also do digital marketing, which has risen to become the world's most sorted after service in the corporate world, and from the look of things, they are good at what they do. According to Bill, 90% of their clients had come through referrals. He further revealed that most of these clients are lawyers, partners, former colleagues, former employees, former clients, or allies. This also boils down to trying your best to build a happy client base, very important.
Bill has always been happy with his present job; he calls it an “amazing career.” He has always been a good friend to clients as well as his few competitors. Bill is always busy, but he is a little bit more generous with his time when it comes to maintaining his friendship with this set of people and talent. He also pays attention to job recommendations, brainstorming sessions, and equivalent activities. And one other business sustainability model Bill uses is freebies; he is generous with giving free services.
Finally, Bill's business can be attributed to his ability to fully leverage the modern social interaction models. He undertakes consistent customer conversation. Bill is not just a good businessman; he is also a smart one.
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