Robert Phillips is the co-founder of Jericho Chambers, a progressive strategy consultancy and think tank. He was formerly President and CEO, EMEA, of Edelman, the world’s largest Public Relations firm. He was also Global Chair of its Public Engagement and Future Strategies Group. He is recognised as an authority on the future of communications.
Phillips specialises in understanding and building trust, which he asserts is both complex and fragile. He believes trustworthiness is more important than trust itself – but there isn’t a simple formula to build it, nor a magic wand to restore it. Leaders must think and behave differently if their own leadership, corporations and brands are to be trusted. His latest book on citizenship and business explores these themes and makes the case for the citizen state and for new models of co-produced leadership and communications. Phillips believes that the old models of PR are no longer fit for purpose in an activist and asymmetrical society. Radical honesty and radical transparency triumph in a world where spin is not only dead, but dangerous.
Phillips is a Visiting Professor at Cass Business School, London. He set up his first business at the age of 21, while still at university, before co-founding Jackie Cooper PR. He has provided communications and strategy advice to a number of FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 global corporations, their CEOs and senior management.
“In his latest book Trust Me, PR is Dead nothing Phillips once believed seems real any more. Everything is subject to scrutiny, doubt and reinvention. But the revelation is simple but tough: instead of talking themselves up, companies should just start doing the right thing - for real. Employ people on decent wages. Eschew stupid bonuses. Pay taxes. Care about customers. Listen. Share ownership. Stop spinning. Don't say you will - do it for real. Trust isn't a message; it's an outcome and the only way to win it is to earn it." Margaret Heffernan, Huffington Post.