The management of online reputation has become a crucial area in recent years; as the internet has become the primary source of information on companies and individuals the quality, verifiability, accuracy and ‘searchability’ of that information has become ever more important and valuable. The first thing that people do before coming to see you is to research you online. Are you in control of what they find and are they armed with accurate, current information on you and your business interests? Whether we like it or not, what is or is not available about us online could influence business decisions that are made regarding your companies and investments, family trusts and private offices. Existing and potentially new investment partners and even regulatory bodies looking at a deal will all gather information online as well as offline before making key decisions. Leaving such a process to chance by not owning and controlling your online profile and digital self is a huge financial and business risk. This can, however, be significantly mitigated. Historically it was preferable to stay below the radar and enjoy a degree of anonymity from people outside of one’s immediate business circle. With the plethora of information available online, the world’s leading reputation managers recommend maintaining and controlling a positive profile, just above the radar. Given that an online presence is rapidly becoming non-negotiable, what are the options? Many HNW’s have a Wikipedia page, which tends to be well populated, but is a source over which they have minimal control as to what is published. LinkedIn works well for many people although if you have reached a certain level of success you have to be prepared to receive a myriad of random connection requests and sales approaches. Another option is The Marque which gives you the ability to control how you are presented online. With an elegant digital profile and sophisticated search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques to ensure your name ranks as highly as possible, a Marque Profiles allows you to control your online presence. According to The Times of London, “Investment Bankers, City Lawyers and British Diplomats are among hundreds of prominent figures who use the Marque to control their online presence”. The Marque was launched to fill a gap in the market for individuals with multiple business interests or family offices who needed sophisticated, well-designed online presence that they could control. The Marque manages profiles for successful people around the world and has recently opened an office in New York. New Yorkers, such as advertising guru and Blackstone Advisor John Bernbach, Blackstone’s ex- Senior Managing Director, Lawrence Guffey, PR legend Susan Magrino and Traub CEO, Mortimer Singer have their profiles managed by The Marque in addition to people such as Lord Anthony St. John, Carphone Warehouse supremo, Sir Charles Dunstone and Citizen M Founder, Rattan Chadha. The modern rules of business engagement have been rewritten by the digital revolution; the twinning of your digital self with your offline profile will give you the control and the presence to navigate the unfolding landscape. Andrew Wessels is CEO and Founder of The Marque. For more information go to www.themarque.com
When someone searches your name on the internet, what is the first thing that comes up? Your LinkedIn profile? Maybe your Twitter or Instagram. Increasingly in the modern world, your digital profile forms the first impression you make to others. In my case, the top entry is the parliament web page for a Scottish Conservative politician with whom I share a name. What that means for my reputation is another question. Either way, in our connected and social media-driven world, our digital profiles are becoming ever more important. The first thing a job recruiter, future employer, potential business partner or even a romantic interest is likely to do before meeting you is look you up online. Your digital profile can be useful for making connections, but it also comes with pitfalls. Biographies on a business website can fall out-of-date once the person moves on. Social media accounts can be hacked, and passwords can be cracked. Someone could swipe your name and image from one site to create a false profile on another. And even if your account is secure, genuine, and accurate, the recent Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal reminded everyone about the risks of companies misusing our data. From this list of concerns, you may conclude that it’s safer to have no digital profile at all. But this may not be a viable option either, points out Andrew Wessels, chief executive and founder of The Marque, a digital reputation management service. “If I research someone today and there’s nothing online, I may think that they’ve paid someone to push everything down because they’ve got something to hide,” he warns. Wessels, a former professional cricketer from South Africa and investment manager with JP Morgan, says that attitudes around the internet have changed significantly in recent years. People are now taking their online profiles far more seriously. “Three years ago, it was quite cool if you Googled someone and there was nothing about them online, but I think in today’s day and age, with the prevalence of social media and the fact that information can be disseminated across the world in seconds, it is now quite important that you control how you are presented online.” And these heightened concerns are creating new business opportunities. For example, The Marque creates and manages digital profiles for high-level executives, which are kept accurate with the client’s background, latest business interests, and their mentions in the press. It’s not a social media network, so users aren’t on it to make connections, but to create a “de facto” source of information about themselves. Business people pay for their profile, and sign off any changes – so, unlike a Wikipedia profile, it can’t be edited by strangers online. “If you Google some people, you’ll find seven different profiles saying seven different things. With us, if you do find a profile on The Marque, it’s owned by the principal, so they’ve signed off on it – it’s not us just creating it – and it’s up-to-date and correct.” Wessels came up with the idea for The Marque while researching successful business people. He found one executive working with several different companies, but information about what he was doing was spread across multiple sites, and his Wikipedia page was full of incorrect information. “I just thought, surely there should be somewhere on the web that, if you are in a portfolio career and have multiple interests, you should have a home on the web that you control.” Since launching in 2015, there are now more than 200 profiles on The Marque. Notable clients include Sir Charles Dunstone (founder of Carphone Warehouse), as well as Peter Orszag (vice chairman of asset manager Lazard and a former adviser to US President Barack Obama). The Marque might be aimed at the top-end of the business world (the service costs £1,000 a year), but is clearly capitalising on a market gap. People want a place where they can present their business achievements, without revealing too much personal data. Of course, if you can’t afford a premium service like this, there are sites you can use to control your online image – but these have their own issues, especially for high-flying business leaders. Some executives may have been advised to make a Twitter account in order to have a social media presence, but often they only tweet once and their account soon looks out-of-date. LinkedIn can be problematic, too. Users can receive unsolicited messages – think of 2015, when barrister Charlotte Proudman got an inappropriate and flirtatious message from a senior lawyer – or simply fail to keep their profile updated and relevant. “If clients do have LinkedIn profiles, typically they have added only one role and one connection, and haven’t bothered doing anything else, so it’s not really a complete overview of what they do,” adds Wessels. So what else can you do to protect yourself? Two-factor verification can secure your accounts, and privacy settings can control what the public sees and what personal data gets collected. Sites like LinkedIn and Twitter still serve a purpose, but need to be kept up-to-date and have regular content. If there is embarrassing or negative content about you online, search engine optimisation experts can push things down the search rankings. If all else fails, just change your name and start from scratch. Maybe Luke Graham? I could use the hits.
What is the first thing that people do before coming to see you? They Google you, of course. Are you in control of what they find and are they armed with accurate, current information on you and your family’s activities and investments? In today's complex and interconnected world, reputation is ever more important in business. Whether we like it or not, what is or is not available about us online could influence business decisions that are made regarding your companies and investments, family trusts and private offices. Existing and potentially new investment partners and even regulatory bodies looking at a deal will all gather information online as well as offline before making key decisions. Leaving such a process to chance by not owning and controlling your online profile and digital self is a huge financial and business risk. However, this can be significantly mitigated. Historically it was preferable to stay below the radar and enjoy a degree of anonymity from people outside of one’s immediate business circle. However, the norm is quickly becoming a “managed profile”, which puts your head just above the parapet, but which allows you to control what people find. Given that an online presence is rapidly becoming non-negotiable, what are the options? Many UHNWIs and Family Office Principals have a Wikipedia page, which tends to be well populated, but is a source over which they have minimal control as to what is published. Personal websites tend to be considered for those who want to try to promote themselves a little too much. They also require constant work and management to keep them relevant and searchable. Then you have LinkedIn with its 500 million members. Anecdotally, we find that successful people tend to not use LinkedIn much as they are put off by the myriad of random connection requests and job searches that they receive. The tailored solution is an official profile on TheMarque.com, controlled by you and managed by us. The Marque was launched to fill a gap in the market for individuals with multiple business interests or family offices who needed an elegant online presence that they could control. The Marque manages profiles for hundreds of successful people around the world, including people familiar to the Family Office world, such as Sir Charles Dunstone, Lord Anthony St. John, Fahad AlSharekh and Rattan Chadha. The modern rules of business engagement have been rewritten by the digital revolution; the twinning of your digital self with your offline profile will give you the control and the presence to navigate the unfolding landscape. Andrew Wessels is CEO and Founder of The Marque. For more information go to www.themarque.com.
Who are you? Managing partner and philanthropist? Rapper and VC investor? Chairman and talk show host? For some individuals, one title is simply not enough. This was the thinking behind The Marque (www.themarque.com), which appears to be the anti-LinkedIn of online professional profiling. The rationale is quite straightforward; there is a certain type of person for who the internet currently simply does not cater. Think private equity firm founder who now divides his or her time between a few board seats, some angel investing and a charity. If you are researching that person online, then you will likely end up finding a patchwork of different profiles, pictures and biographies. The Marque, therefore, seeks to meet the needs of successful types who want to establish a readily searchable online profile without worrying about such things as unsolicited approaches, poorly framed professional profiles and – we’d hope – Cambridge Analytica-style data harvesting fiascos. It’s a surprisingly simple – but neat – concept and has signed up a good handful from the upper ranks of private equity thus far. Want to know what former Blackstone senior managing director Lawrence Guffey does now? Or that “you reap what you sow” is the personal business credo of former KKR UK and Ireland head Dominic Murphy? It’s on there. “Can anyone buy a profile?” asks Final Close, wondering whether to scrape together £750 ($1,000;€860) a year for a listing. It’s not that simple, says founder of the business Andrew Wessels. It is really for those execs who have reached a level where they have a portfolio of professional and philanthropic interests. If you’re an investment banker, or dare I say it a journalist, very much tied to one organisation then a Marque profile “will not be much use to you”. Very delicately put. Final Close wasn’t interested anyway.
Investment bankers, City lawyers and British diplomats are among prominent figures paying £1,000 a year for curated profiles to appear near the top of Google search results for their names. Hundreds of entrepreneurs and businessmen have signed up for a new service that promises to give influential people control of their online presence. Clients also include the Duke of Roxburghe and Will Greenwood, the former England rugby international. The Marque uses sophisticated search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques to secure a high Google ranking for its biographies, allowing customers to promote a more polished and accurate online profile than may appear on their Wikipedia page, which can be edited by anyone. Unlike LinkedIn, the professional social network, The Marque has no messaging function, so its wealthy…