2019 is only a few days old and we – three Bernsteiners right from the start – are thrilled that we can welcome you to the new year with a new Internet page. Bernstein Group has grown steadily over the past years. Today we are active in all German states, many cities and towns, on the federal level, in Brussels and most European Union capitals. Our clients take us time and again to the US, Israel and Africa. We advise DAX corporations, medium-sized companies, private equity firms, venture capital enterprises and foundations. We have offices today in the two hot spots for our consulting business, Berlin and Brussels.
Things were a lot different in May 2001 when we laid the foundation for today’s Bernstein Group with the launch of Steltemeier & Rawe. We had (and still have) the good fortune of working with clients who hold our analytical and strategic approach in high regard. Together with us, they have faced the challenges of understanding whether and under what circumstances it makes sense or might be expedient to convey their concerns to policy makers.
We have long since expanded upon our original strict focus on governmental issues, political topics, processes and actors by opening new business units:
Bernstein Analytics processes and visualizes vast amounts of data. To do so, we employ such graph databases as neo4j. Perhaps you have seen just how helpful such visualizations can be in the workup of the Panama Papers where they were also used. Analytics deals with the issue of how digital campaigns affect political decision-making too. For our consulting work, analytics is a kind of pathfinder in the sheer overwhelming complexity of the data jungle. It creates a reliable basis upon which we can build a well-founded, analytic consulting process.
It was clear to us when we launched Steltemeier & Rawe that, besides political decision-making, public opinion is another factor determining the success or failure of business models. Corporate activities are subject now more than ever to public and media control. We see this in such controversial issues as the diesel crisis. Even if a company’s legal strategy is successful in court, the damage to its reputation in the course of such a process can be so large that the entire corporation suffers. Every step, every personal detail is scrutinized und commented on.
For many managers and companies today, special situations are more the norm than the exception, which has turned today’s communicators into expectation managers more than anything else. They have to emphasize successes, execute intelligent issues management and approach crises with a clear head. Appearing before a parliamentarian investigation committee, going to trial, facing bankruptcy or a corruption case are special cases indeed, but chief executives and communicators at companies must be able to deal with just such situations. Anyone who has been in a crisis knows that meeting it is primarily a matter of speed, that you need to fight off rumors and targeted false information (and that it always gets worse than you ever think possible). With our team at Bernstein Communications, we have specialized in precisely this: supporting communications in exceptional circumstances – when the company is growing and there is a lot at stake, or when things get tight.
Public Policy, the oldest subsidiary of Bernstein Group, today works not only as strategic interest representation but also in due diligence for financing rounds and corporate acquisitions. The task in regulatory and political due diligence: The colleagues in Bernstein Public Policy answer the question of which political and regulatory variables a business model depends on and what developments must be expected.
In the course of the almost two decades of our work, we have gathered enormous expertise in such fields of policy as energy, transportation and the environment. We have accompanied numerous transformations for our clients in the areas of banks, alternative investment funds and financial services. Since the third EU Money Laundering Guideline, we have been dealing with the political discussion of money laundering, terrorist financing and the matching regulation, also in the non-financial sector. We have been taking part in the discussion about shaping the gambling sector not just since what was called the “sports betting decision” by Germany’s Constitutional Court in 2006.
Even if the business of politics has become so much more breathless, even if data is playing an ever more important role in our work and the media landscape has been changed dramatically – our understanding of what we do has remained the same for all these years: We know what we’re talking about. As policy experts, we can play an active role in political and regulatory discussions. In our role, there are always three variables that determine political success: the underlying decision-making process, the persons involved in it and thus the majorities in each case, but also the arguments and facts of the matter. For us, these form a compass for our analytical and consultancy work that assures we act based on facts, not opinions.