Who We Are 

Charles MacPherson Associates specializes in Consulting, Training, Education and Placement for the private residential and premier hospitality markets worldwide. We assist our clients with staff planning and advising on household operations and best practices. Charles MacPherson Associates provides training for staff within private residences and for the hotel/resort industry. Our firm specializes in butler training for luxury hotels. Additionally our placement division places high calibre candidates in both residential and hospitality positions including: Housekeepers, Chefs, Estate Managers, Personal Assistants, Chauffeurs, Butlers, and Household Managers. The Charles MacPherson Academy for Butlers and Household Managers is a private career college located in Toronto, Canada that turns out skilled professionals who meet the service demands of the 21st Century.

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 "The Harvard of..." - Choosing Schools in the Age of Hype

In an age of hyper marketing, some organizations choose to go the easy route of augmenting their brand by associating themselves with well-established and highly reputable brands. It's called "piggyback marketing" and it's cheap and often effective, which is why it's used so often. Typically the strategy is employed by lesser brands that try to cash in on the hard-won prestige of another brand.


The problem with "piggyback marketing" is that it suggests an association between brands that, more often than not, is brazenly false, one-sided, not based on mutual agreement and absent of any equivalence in the quality of offerings. The strategy is essentially a parasitical one in which a weaker brand feeds off the strength and reputation of another brand. In fact, companies that employ this strategy will often find themselves in a legal battle as the other company defends its well-earned reputation against those who leech from it.


One of the more common examples of parasitical marketing is businesses who claim to be "The Harvard of..." and all you need to do is fill in the blank from there. If you Google "Harvard of...," there are 37,200,000 results and it's easy to understand why. In the specific case of Harvard University, the caché of the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States is transferred to lesser entities in the bat of an eye.


It's an effective, simple and cheap marketing plan, but it is also incredibly misleading. After all, there is only one Harvard University and the institution defends its brand name for that simple reason. Further, people can and do fall prey to the false associations "piggyback marketing" implies. Let's face it, people want to believe the best in things, but in cases like this, good faith credulity can get the better of them. Put simply, the expression "The Harvard of..." should always raise red flags when encountered and the automatic response should be steely-eyed diligence.



Snake Oil Salesman


As an arm of our business we own and operate a government-registered school called The Charles MacPherson Academy that teaches and trains Butlers and Household Managers. As policy, we encourage applicants to practice due diligence while researching schools. Students should attend a school for the right reasons that stem from a firm foundation of solid research. Failing to practice due diligence increases the potential for buyer's regret, which is particularly unfortunate where education is concerned.


Questions that we recommend to ask schools:

  1. Is your school accredited?  With what body and can you show me proof of your accreditation?
  2. What are your entry criteria?
  3. What is the cost of tuition? Are there any additional costs/fees that I will incur?
  4. What is the difference between your school and others?
  5. What are the qualifications for instructors?
  6. Do you have a curriculum? How was it developed and by whom? How often is it updated?
  7. What textbooks do you use? Why were they chosen?
  8. What equipment does your school own for practical/hands on teaching?
  9. Can you describe a typical student day?
  10. What do I receive upon graduation?
  11. Who recognizes your diploma/certificate?
  12. Does your school help with placement? How are graduates marketed for positions?
  13. What is your success rate in graduate placement? How are your figures calculated?
  14. Do you work with any other placement agencies? If so, how?
  15. Do students have recourse in the event of a dispute with the school? If so, with whom?
  16. What is the refund policy?


Education is an investment in your future. Household Management schools cost a significant sum of money. For these reasons and more it's imperative that students ask schools the tough questions so that  decisions can be made. The age of hype presents challenges, but thorough and probing questions can help students from falling prey to slick and slippery marketing tricks.

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The Butler Speaks: A Return to Proper Etiquette, Stylish Entertaining, and the Art of Good Housekeeping

The Butler Speaks

In a clear, straightforward style, Charles MacPherson lays out the essentials of entertaining and household management in this beautifully illustrated style, etiquette and entertainment guide. For anyone who rents or owns--be it a small urban condo or a lavish country estate--The Butler Speaks includes everything you need to know to simplify, organize and care for your home. It also offers modern advice on personal style and etiquette--how to receive guests; present your business card; make polite dinner conversation-- and advice on entertaining at home--how to make a cheese plate; hold your cutlery; set a table--all with the flair, charm and unpretentious grace of the butler.

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The Marilyn Denis Show


Since January 2010, Charles has been a regular expert on Canada’s leading original daytime lifestyle series The Marilyn Denis Show.  Starting Monday, September 12, Charles will be appearing every Monday with Marilyn on the CTV network across Canada. As “Charles The Butler”, Marilyn and Charles discuss everything from everyday etiquette topics to how to correctly and easily clean your fridge, make your bed and polish your shoes.

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Charles weekly column "Ask Charles The Butler" is featured in Metro News, Canada's leading newspaper with a daily distribution of 1.4 million papers through 7,696 Newspaper boxes across Canada. Charles' column will be about social etiquette and all questions relating to these issues.

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