Rebel communicator; Co-founder, jericho chambers
Trust in business
21st century leadership & communication
New models of stakeholder engagement - employees, customers, regulators & government
The future of PR: new ways to influence and persuade
The future of work
Building collaborative organisational cultures
Good corporate citizenship - beyond conventional CSRT
Robert Phillips is a rebel thinker on trust, leadership and communication. His expert area focuses on new models of influence and persuasion in 21st century business.
He is the co-founder of Jericho Chambers, a network of experts drawn from multiple disciplines, helping organisations navigate towards meaningful change and the common good. He argues that old methods of corporate engagement are no longer fit for purpose. Instead, firms need to embed new models of leadership and accountability into their culture, based on principles of activism, co-production, vulnerability and dissent.
Robert has spent thirty years at the top of the global communications industry. He launched his first company while at university (marketing bridalwear) and then – at the age of 23 – co-founded Jackie Cooper PR, the agency behind some of the most iconic brand campaigns of the late twentieth century, including the legendary Wonderbra work and the launch of Snapple, Daewoo, PlayStation and O2. He has provided counsel at Board/ExCo level for a number of global companies and brands - including Aviva, Capco, Diageo, KPMG, Microsoft, Shell, Sony and Unilever.
Having sold JCPR, Robert became CEO of Edelman, the world’s largest Public Relations firm, first in the UK and subsequently across Europe, the Middle East & Africa. He was also Global Chair of the firm’s Public Engagement & Future Strategies group and a contributor to the Edelman Trust Barometer from 2006 to 2012.
In 2012, deciding in his own words “to call bullshit on the bullshit industry of spin”, Robert quit Edelman to further develop his radical thinking on the future of corporate and brand communications. He has since worked with numerous global business leaders and organisations coming to terms with an activist and fragile world, arguing that today's over-hyped crisis of trust is in fact a crisis of leadership.
In spring 2015 he published Trust Me, PR Is Dead - described by Management Today as “a game changer for the future of communications”.
Robert leads Jericho’s work on the global Responsible Tax project and the Future of Work is Human programme as well as consulting extensively on issues in the transport, property and urban regeneration sectors. He is a Visiting Professor at Cass Business School, City, University of London, and a regular public speaker and media commentator. He is co-author of Citizen Renaissance (2008), an Associate at Centre for London, a Fellow of the PRCA, a former Trustee of The Creative Society and member of the CBI London Council, and sits on the Advisory Board of the Forward Institute.
The business landscape is rapidly changing, with top-down hierarchies and failing 20th century companies, organisations and institutions yielding to networks, activism, cultures of transparency and, for many, a world of chaos.
Robert argues that any business or leader wanting to survive and thrive in this environment needs to embrace new models of trustworthy behaviour and corporate citizenship as core principles in everything they do. He shows audiences what this means in practice, and how as a result we need to totally re-evaluate how we think about leadership, collaboration and employee/ customer/ stakeholder engagement.
In the wake of the Facebook/ Cambridge Analytica scandal, his message has never been more timely.
Robert’s radical perspective has earned him many admirers at the top of the corporate world. As one FTSE 100 Communications Director puts it: “Robert was an early forerunner of the now prevalent Post-Truth, Post-Trust assessment of the modern world, back when Brexit Britain and President Trump were the stuff of bizarre fantasy. His honest and thought-provoking take on what we do now is essential for anyone who wishes to influence and persuade.”
“A formidable intellect and an attention-grabbing delivery style…makes people sit up and really think” --- Sarah Warby, Marketing Director, Sainsbury’s
“Someone who is unafraid to ask the big questions … a joy to work with" --- Samantha Rockey, (Former) Global Head of Leadership Development, SABMiller
“Incredibly insightful…. with real substance and meaning" --- Colin Wilson, CEO, Cushman & Wakefield
“An utterly fabulous and enticing session – Robert was insightful and meaningful” --- FTSE 100 Communications Director