Diana Marszalek 01 Mar 2021 // 6:02PM GMT
SAN FRANCISCO — Former Kleiner Perkins CMO Amanda Duckworth has joined Outcast to lead the agency’s new reputation management practice.
Duckworth, who left Kleiner Perkins at the end of 2019, has been informally working with Outcast since last summer to start building the practice, which includes crisis communications in addition to reputational management. She has collaborated with the firm on projects for roughly a decade.
Outcast President Elizabeth McNichols said the new practice reflects the growth in demand for reputation management, particularly since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.
“In the past when we had clients who were having a major crisis or issues, we would have to refer them elsewhere,” McNichols said. “Last year was sort of crazy with economic, health, social and environmental crises all at once. Companies, including our clients, were forced to have conversations internally and externally in unprecedented ways.”
Between Outcast’s creative integrated approach to PR and Duckworth’s experience “we thought we could build something different and really bring a lot to our clients,” McNichols said.
Duckworth said her goal is building a practice with core capabilities in reputation and crisis communications but which is distinct in that it “pulls on exactly what Outcast is so good at — which is unique capability around storytelling, digital capability and research.”
In addition, Duckworth said she doesn’t expect companies’ need for such services to wane once we get past the Covid pandemic, and its impact on business.
“Crisis and the need for reputation management is absolutely decoupled from what happens in the larger economic or business environment,” she said. “Companies always have issues. I don’t see that changing.”
Duckworth brings more than 30 years of experience in the field that included more than three years with Kleiner Perkins as the venture capital firm’s first CMO. Before that, Duckworth spent nearly nine years as a Brunswick Group partner leading the firm’s San Francisco office.
Said Duckworth: “Outcast has the right DNA to excel at reputation management and crisis communications, based on a willingness to think big and meet challenges with relentless optimism, creativity, and resourcefulness. Outcast has some of the best talent in communications and digital marketing – passion for the work, unparalleled expertise and partnerships with clients based on a shared sense of values and mission. The teams’ work is consistently thoughtful, strategic, and executed with excellence.
“There’s never been a greater need for the kind of well-rounded crisis and reputation management function that we can provide at Outcast. After collaborating with the team in 2020 on a range of client issues from leadership changes, workplace discrimination, litigation, and IPOs, I’m convinced that we have a differentiated approach to reputation and crisis management, and I couldn’t be more excited to lead that effort!”