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#281: Disclosing Client Names

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, April 12, 2010
Updated: Monday, April 12, 2010
Do you consider the mere fact of someone being a client to be confidential information?

This depends on the client. Having signed some agreements that prohibit me from even revealing that I am working for a client (I didn't take it personally), I now ask if the fact that I am advising a client is privileged information. Some clients may just want to control their image, others may not want competitors to know they are engaged in a strategy renovation or other transformation. For most clients and most types of engagements this will not be an issue, but don't assume that this is something you have an automatic right to divulge.

Tip: Always ask if you can go public with the relationship. Furthermore, you may also want to see how a client wants you to describe your relationship. These may include just listing their name as a client of yours, mentioning (e.g., in public or on your website) the nature of your engagement, or describing the work as a case study in your marketing materials. All have different implications for your client, and it is up to them to decide how much disclosure they want.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client relations  confidentiality  consultant role  customer understanding  ethics  professionalism 

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