Of the four super-communications firms we have focused on so far, none has a more leading edge website than Ruder-Finn. We began our scrutiny of the world’s top PR firms with the most profitable and largest Edelman, followed by Waggener Edstrom and APCO respectively. Today the focus is on Ruder-Finn, the world’s 4th largest PR firm according to O’Dwyer’s. Using the look, content and updatedness of these company’s websites, it is possible to catch glimpses of their projected image, at least toward the digital public.
As a symbol of any PR firm’s message for the digital world, we are doing these short critiques of some of the most powerful communications companies in the world. Today, we are looking at the website of Ruder-Finn, led by one of the most interesting, and yes powerful, men in America and the world.
From Washington to Copenhagen, the World Bank to the Federal Reserve, David Finn has had an amazing career and an impact on his world – the world of communications, people, philosophies and of beauty. This is reflected in the website that bear his name as well. However critical I may be of small aspects of this site, it is a good representation of both David Finn and the company he created. I just have to begin with a short citation from a PDF I found about him.
Every month the firm distributes a plain white folder to each of its 15 offices worldwide. Entitled; “Thoughts and Images for Work and Life”, the outside of the folder bears only the title, while inside is revealed only a photograph taken by Finn himself, accompanied by a quote. According to this PDF, the quote for July 2006 was from Tolstoy; “Beauty and love, these two things are the sole reason for existence.”
My impression of Ruder-Finn, if simply derived from their site alone, would be one of a company led by someone of keen intellect and almost noble confidence. The type of person who is neither intimidated by suggestion, progressive thought, or competition. I have known of very few of these types, and it is not difficult to recognize them. How can I know such a thing without knowing the man or at least having talked to him? Let me show you how.
People – The Best Billboards Ever Invented
Dr. Kathy Bloomgarden is Co-CEO of Ruder Finn Inc., notably fluent in 6 languages, graduated Columbia, board member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Partnership for New York City, the Atlantic Council, and the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.
The point I am making here, is as much about David Fiinn as it is about his team, obviously the man has not qualms about delegating, no outdated theories on women in the workplace, and obviously no egotistical desire to be totally in the limelight. I bet you won’t find a little trail of dark suited ducklings following this man around.
Fig. 1.1 – Not a stuffed shirt between them, the Ruder-Finn team is ability atop loyalty
Make no mistake about it, these powerful firms are all monuments to the people behind them. Finn, obviously looks to the future in both his choice of partners as well as the technologies and environment in which his firm operates. For me at least, it is interesting and admirable to see someone who could be classified as “an old war horse”, still thinking ahead and looking for the beauty in things. 1948 until now is a while in case you haven’t looked, and this Website, though far from perfect exemplifies simplicity combined with true digital thinking.
Fig. 1.2 – Still more departments minus clones and ducklings.
I Almost Forgot – The Site!
Ah! The website! Well, strikingly simple and effective – a thing of beauty in a way. This online office for the Ruder-Finn digitally minded is done very well. This is not to say it does not have it problems, but it is a good conveyance of a very old firm reaching out to a new online public. Of particular note are at least 4 superbly well done blogs. I have so far not run across one huge PR firm that supports even one well. Ruder-Finn is the exception to this. From trends to ethics and on to culture, Ruder-Finn has some superb content. The only negative I can find in them is scarce posting and little or no social networking or visibility effort. I should get Mihaela to see if they are optimized, but the point is made.
Ruder Finn’s website is one of the best I have seen. It conveys the easy sort of confidence and power of Finn himself, and also that of his young and vibrant team. It is interesting that there are in fact 3 CEO’s of the company, one president and any number of other executives with titles so close to BOSS. I bet the “old man” likes to make his trusted people feel important. I would also bet the big boss does not micro-manage that much either. Of course, I could be wrong and some employees should feel free to message me anonymously and tell me different.
Somehow, I know I am right. A man who has written 100 books, counseled heads of state, and made hundreds of millions, should not have to be overbearing. Making almost 100 million in 2007 alone was an after effect of adding to what Finn built over the last 60 years. Aside ability, I would also wager those executives up there were chosen for loyalty and vision as well. Mr. Finn, bravo on a well done example of your company, now get some people to your blogs and add some cutting edge interactive. Then it will be ready for the next 60 years.