Kensington Group’s impact on analyst relations

During the 1990s Kensington Group and SageCircle made the foundation of analyst relations systematic and understood. However, SageCircle closed in 2003 for reasons we reviewed at that time in a note which is still available, here.

We have not been able to confirm the reports that Kensington Group is out of business. The business built a strong brand, and it could re-establish itself if its talented co-founder, Norma LaRosa, found other opportunties less diverting. However, it is clear that the corporation has undergone such a fundamental transformation that is seems invisible.

The failure of Kensington and SageCircle is, in our opinion, a major defeat for the analyst relations profession. These two organisations produced exceptionally high quality work and generated valuable intellectual property. Our view is that there is a qualitiative difference between those organisations and the minnows that survive them. Other analyst relations consultancies are, in essence, sustained by the interest generated by their intellectual capital. As in nature, a river cannot rise higher than its source.

The rise and fall of Kensington Group needs to be studied and understood by senior AR managers. Its insights should not be lost. Its rigor should be weighed up, and buyers of AR services should consider why its high quality was not rewarded by the market.

Over the rest of this month we will be gathering some of our thoughts together, as we did with SageCircle. We will welcome readers’ comments, insights and souvenirs of Kensington Group.

Kensington’s services had rigour and depth: excellent training forums, high quality advisory services and rigourous research. For example, its extensive benchmarking studies had substantial value: a large global sample involving hundreds of analysts were interviewed and at great depth with a rigorous and unbiased questionnaire. No one has been able to replicate those studies in full. Therefore, we pose this question: Why did Kensington fail to deliver enough value to buyers to generate a commercially sustainable service?

Duncan Chapple

Duncan Chapple is the preeminent consultant on optimising international analyst relations and the value created by analyst firms. As SageCircle research director, Chapple directs programs that assess and increase the business value of relationships with industry analysts and sourcing advisors.