The relevance of brand in management consultancy.
In a competitive environment, the brand is becoming ever more important. It is much more than simply a logo and a tagline. It is the basis on which people perceive your services and values. Ensuring that your brand is defined and recognisable is not only crucial for winning clients but also attracting the best talent.
In a survey carried out by Source for Consulting 40% of senior executives say that a firm’s overall brand has a significant impact on their opinion of a firm. A further 43% say it has some bearing. This makes the brand more important in clients’ eyes than everything except the quality of people they meet and the results a firm delivers. The survey also indicated that brand influence is more important in some countries (the US, the Gulf region) than others.
Defining your brand is an ongoing process
Branding a management consulting practice is significantly different from branding many other types of professional services. There are opportunities and challenges, in particular:
- Management consultancy firms should clearly communicate the range of services they offer
- Audiences may have limited knowledge about services consultancy firms working in a specialist market provide
- Brand is a combination of reputation and visibility.
- Communicate your firm’s areas of expertise. It helps to answer the question “what does the firm do?”
An interesting finding from a survey in the US by DeSantis Breindel, was that mid-sized firms in particular struggle to define their brand. Often they’ve grown as a collection of practices. They are not small enough to be boutiques but neither are they quite large enough to be global full-service leaders. They occupy the middle ground, trying to straddle both worlds. The study found that as a result, mid-size firms feel the least confident in their ability to communicate who they are both internally and externally.
The role of brand in talent acquisition
Brand is not only important to clients, it is also crucial to attracting the best talent. A Hiring Survey carried out by Prism Executive Recruitment identified lack of brand awareness as a significant problem for small and mid-sized companies.
When developing their recruitment strategies management consultancy firms need to be aware that:
- Its employer brand and values should be consistently visible to candidates throughout the selection process;
- Millennials in particular are very brand aware;
- Candidates should be viewed as customers and brand and reputation are important to them.
In Prism’s Hiring Survey several firms commented that being a relatively small and unknown name was a hindrance in recruitment. It is therefore a constraint on growth. In most cases they felt the problem was only at the initial stage of attracting applicants. One firm noted “We are small and relatively unknown but once introduced to us candidates love our culture and values”.
Visibility is a fundamental aspect of a management consultancy brand and therefore of talent acquisition. An executive search firm has a vital role to play in raising the profile and emphasising the positives of a less well known smaller firm. A recruiter is able to promote the culture and career opportunities that the smaller or mid-sized consultancy has to offer. This should not be underestimated as an important part of the recruitment process.
For further information and expert help with talent acquisition please contact Chris Sale, Managing Director at [email protected]