The winners of the Brand Management and Reputation Awards 2022

Date: 22 Jun 2022

Silvia Ricciardi

Citywealth interviewed some of the individuals who won an award at the Brand Management and Reputation Awards 2022, learning more about their career journey and the employer behind the employee.

For over six years, the Brand Management and Reputation Awards have highlighted and recognised the contributions of over a hundred marketing, business development and public relation professionals within the wealth management industry.

Citywealth interviewed some of the individuals who won an award at the Brand Management and Reputation Awards 2022, talking about their career journey and the employer behind the employee and learning more about effective communication strategies and personal qualities which can lead you to success.

Introducing (some of) the Brand Management and Reputation 2022 winners:

Katie Cramond, McDermott, Will & Emery – Career Achievement Award:

Katie is the Director of Business Development, International at McDermott, Will & Emery, a position she has held since January 2021 (she joined the firm as an Associate Director in London in September 2019). The focus of her role is to build growth and loyalty with existing and prospective clients, as well as develop cross-border collaboration across the McDermott platform.

She began her career in the UK Marketing team at EY. She then joined Freshfields in London in 2012 where she met her mentor, a senior corporate partner who gave Katie the opportunity to move to Singapore in 2014, where she stayed for 5 years, working across the region.

Katie worked in Singapore, Hong Kong, Jakarta, and Tokyo, as well as New York and London. She appreciates the nuances of working with different cultures and enjoys the opportunity to bond with others over experiences in Asia and the US. 

Danyal Bhatti, Druces – Rising star (GOLD Award):

After graduating university with a degree in Business Management & Marketing, Danyal did a 3-month internship at a charity in London, where he worked on marketing campaigns aimed at improving child literacy rates in the UK. This included writing a report which was presented at the House of Lords to secure funding for more projects.

He then moved to an accountancy firm in Beaconsfield where he spent two years as a Marketing Co-Ordinator, before moving to Druces.

As a Business Development & Marketing Executive at Druces, Danyal has been able to play a leading role on a number of projects, including refreshing the firm’s designs and branding across the board, and the relaunch of Druces’ website.

Laura Haynes, Aviva Investors – Marketing / BD / PR Director of the Year (GOLD Award):

Laura has been working in Marketing for almost 15 years. She started out working in the public sector, and then briefly worked in Australia within travel marketing – making the most of an opportunity to work abroad on an extended traveling trip.

When she landed back in the UK, she moved to London, where she secured her first asset management role at M&G Investments – since then she has been hooked on the industry of Financial Services. Since M&G, Laura has worked in advertising and brand roles across Jupiter Asset Management, Barclays Private Bank and now Aviva Investors.

Vikash Gupta, CEO/Co-Founder of VAR Capital – Brand of the Year SME/Boutique (SILVER Award):

Vikash started his career in the technology sector and later moved to strategic consulting and wealth management. His corporate career, prior to founding VAR Capital, included senior roles within Barclays Bank, where he worked as a Director, Key Clients and Family Offices, where he was also a member of the Investment Committee at the UK Private Bank.

Prior to joining Barclays, he held senior roles with Booz & Company, a strategy consulting firm where he provided Merger and Acquisition advice to banks and private equity firms whilst based in both the U.K. and Africa.

Vikash is the co-founder and CEO of VAR Capital, where he continues to manage key accounts whilst running the company. He is also a co-founder and member of the Board of Directors of Monument Corporation and co-founder of Greenr.

The company behind the individual

Offering tailor-made and high-quality services, putting clients first, being reliable and knowledgeable, these are only some of the factors which differentiate a top-class firm from its competitors. But what makes the companies behind the protagonists of the Brand Management and Reputation Awards 2022 so successful?

“Druces has been a leading law firm in the City of London since 1767,” explains Danyal, who adds the reasons behind his firm’s longevity. “With over 250 years of experience, Druces has been able to maintain its strong reputation as being a trustworthy and responsive business that prides itself on the long-term relationships it builds with clients. The firm’s cherished heritage, combined with a forward-thinking approach and cutting-edge legal advice is what separates Druces from others in the sector. This has been backed up by several award wins in recent years, including multiple wins at Citywealth’s Magic Circle Awards, Future Leaders Awards, Powerwomen Awards and more.”

“In my opinion, the people really differentiate McDermott, Will & Emery from their competitors. When you hire us, you don’t just get the experience of an individual. You get a purpose-built, tightly woven network of legal thought leaders who marry their passion for business with a deep, focused understanding of the law.” Katie goes into details about her company’s core values, such as always aiming at excellent legal advice: “Our lawyers are authentic, fun people who work seamlessly across practices, industries and more than 20 locations to deliver highly effective – and often unexpected – solutions that propel success. McDermott is committed to legal excellence, extraordinary client service and a high-performing, diverse culture worldwide.”

Being client-focused is another priority for Katie’s firm: “Clients are at the centre of everything we do. We regularly conduct client feedback surveys and market research to ensure we are meeting the complex needs of our clients and the legal market. Our lawyers thrive on solving the most complex business problems facing their clients today and mapping out strategies to drive clients’ success tomorrow. The firm’s unofficial mantra of #AlwaysBetter really does ring true.”

“VAR Capital is a multi-family office and asset manager that provides services to UHNW clients and companies across three key areas: investment management, debt solutions and corporate advisory services. VAR’s total independence and multi-award-winning investment performance are valued highly by our clients; – states Vikash, who describes why VAR Capital is a leading company – the unparalleled and consistent performance provided to our clients by our CIO and his incredible team of portfolio managers and analysts is second to none. Guided and underpinned by an impressive and independent investment committee, their sole focus is providing disciplined, risk-controlled growth in accordance with our individual investment mandates. Every decision made at VAR starts from the client’s point of view and works through our internal processes from there. We do not pay for advertising, but grow purely by investment top ups and referrals, therefore this ensures that we are totally aligned with our clients.”

“Our CEO at Aviva Investors has a clear vison to deliver an exceptional investment experience whilst helping build a more sustainable world – placing our people and clients at the heart of this; – says Laura, who adds that – we also have lots of passionate people within the business who are driving our ESG ambitions forward and are extremely inspiring to work with/alongside.  It is also great to work for an asset manager who has such a distinctive (and creative) visual identity, which is always a plus when you are in the Marketing field.”

Business profit: the crucial role of communication

Communication within the company is key in order to support the business profit and navigate the reputational risk for an organisation. Katie underlines that “for McDermott’s Business Development (BD) Department, our data-driven approach drives growth and loyalty from the firm, and it is how we are moving the needle as a high-performing business team within a rising American Lawyer top 25 law firm. Support for our efforts comes from the top with our chairman noting that our firm does ‘world-class marketing and business development’ ”.

Laura mentions: “My team develop and deliver our global campaigns, so we are helping articulate what our offering is to our clients, supporting our salespeople in having conversations with prospects and clients. Our activity is high-profile, so we always need to ensure we are articulating an accurate and transparent message to our audiences.”

Clear communication both internally, within your team of experts, and externally, with clients and peers from other companies, is essential and it has been of fundamental importance especially during the recent lockdown. Danyal comments: “My team is responsible for all internal and external communication. This has included video staff meetings on Microsoft Teams and regular updates as the firm navigated the uncertainties of the pandemic. The team was widely praised for its weekly bulletins to the firm, providing calm, clear messaging, an essential part of maintaining team spirit during a turbulent time.”

“Effective communication between staff is paramount. VAR Capital works to a completely flat management structure with all members of staff sat amongst each other in the same open plan office,” reveals Vikash. “We reject the outdated management layers and communication barriers we all have experienced within larger corporates.  All staff are treated equally and are fully encouraged to participate in discussions with everyone, at every level, not forgetting to celebrate diversity and inclusion in order to tackle challenges and consider different points of view to create solutions.  This approach has undoubtedly contributed hugely to our accelerated growth as a company.  The firm benefits greatly from a highly diverse workforce with staff members from the UK, India, China, Russia, Italy, The Czech Republic and Mauritius and 50% of staff being women.”

Being a winner of the Brand Management and Reputation Awards 2022

“To win an award during the prestigious Citywealth Brand Management and Reputation Awards 2022 is an honour for all of us at VAR Capital,” states Vikash. “Modesty aside, I have to say that our staff deserve it. It is a fantastic fillip and due recognition to the staff at VAR for their unflinching commitment to total independence, transparency, low fees and hard. I would also like to thank our fantastic partners.  We are extremely fortunate to have an amazing group of external accounting, legal and trust partners.  Many of them have been with us since day one in 2014 and their continued support and friendship is hugely appreciated and never taken for granted.”

Katie says: “I feel really honoured to have won amongst such an impressive list of individuals. I am extremely passionate about what I do, and I am delighted to have been recognised by Citywealth for this. It makes all the hours and hard work worth it, so thank you.”

“When I first joined Druces, I knew that the firm had a strong reputation in the industry, however I didn’t think the branding reflected that; – reveals Danyal – I remember speaking in my interview for the job about my wish to rebrand the firm’s website and marketing materials and ultimately bring Druces into the 21st century, while still maintaining a sense of heritage and history. Now that I have helped bring that vision to life, winning the Rising Star Award is a gratifying conclusion to all the hard work it took. This is the first award nomination of my career so just having been shortlisted was an honour, however I would have lied if I had said I wasn’t hoping for the win!”

Laura comments: “It’s fantastic to have won, I feel very honoured!”

The main skills which can lead to a successful career? Our Brand Management and Reputation 2022 protagonists believe that…

 two of the main qualities that have served me well in my career so far are my ability to adapt quickly and a willingness to learn new skills. Beginning a new career or joining a new role can often be a daunting experience, so I always make a conscious effort to learn from my managers, whether it be how to use a new software, how to complete tasks more efficiently or just general career advice. It is key to remember that managers were also juniors once, they are here to help so absorbing as much knowledge as possible from them is crucial to career progression. Be proactive, suggest new ideas and never be afraid to make mistakes, it is all part of the learning process. After all, stepping out of your comfort zone can often be a great way to build confidence in your abilities! – Danyal Bhatti

 the biggest piece of advice would be…work hard. I have found that my biggest career wins have come from putting in the work, being tenacious and getting the job done. It is also extremely important to surround yourself with both talented people who will challenge you, and people who will support/advocate you – being in the right environment will also help set you up for success. – Laura Haynes

 entrepreneurial spirit is key. Whether setting up VAR Capital in 2014, founding Monument and developing and launching Greenr last year I have been driven to continually take a lead when it came to responding with thought leadership and vision to both client services and market trends.I am a first-generation immigrant in the UK.  Coming from a middle-class family from a remote location in India, I was expected to join the small family run venture. However, I wanted to do something bigger. To start with, I worked hard, Iscored highly in my educational degrees and worked in senior corporate roles before taking the plunge and allowing my entrepreneurial drive and passion to shine through. I believe that I am approachable and I enjoy people’s company, which is very important in our business. A piece of advice? Go For IT!  Back yourself, of course pay considerable attention to the risks and make sure that you have covered as many of them as possible, but do not finish your career looking back and thinking ‘What IF?!’. – Vikash Gupta

… empathy is one of the most underrated skills for successful leadership. Recent studies have demonstrated that empathetic leadership is a key driver of employee outcomes across innovation, engagement, and inclusion. It also fosters efficiency, creativity and revenue. One of my core values is empathy, which makes me a considerate and understanding leader. I constantly encourage the growth and wellbeing of my team around me, working collaboratively with all levels in the organisation. My only other piece of advice is to be authentic and true to yourself. When I was mid-way through my career, I was told by an external trainer that my voice was too breathy and that I wasn’t ‘tough enough’ to be a leader. I have always been a people person with high EQ, and a strong awareness of my actions impact on others which, I believe, has enabled me to build and instil trust quickly amongst those I work with. Don’t let others try to change you. You are unique, own it. – Katie Cramond

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