By Fiona Czerniawska The criteria we use to assess the quality of thought leadership – Is it saying something new? Does it attract and keep your attention? Is it credible? Does it provide some practical guidance? – were all originally designed to reflect the experience of the clients at whom it’s aimed. Similarly, all of the research we’ve been doing recently around the impact thought leadership is (or isn’t) having has been focused on understanding how external clients react.
Wednesday 3rd February, 2016
Tuesday 19th January, 2016
By Alison Huntington M&A is one of the issues a client is most likely to pick up the phone to a consulting firm about, and luckily for TMT consultants, there’s been a huge amount of it across the industry. 2014 saw deals hit their highest level since before the financial crisis, creating lots of opportunities for consultants in pre- and post-merger integration work, and in due diligence.
Sunday 17th January, 2016
By Fiona Czerniawska Consultants are notoriously optimistic. Years ago, I had the partner I was working for up against a wall (metaphorically speaking, you understand), when he overused the phrase, “every problem is an opportunity”. “This is just a problem,” I said, “I’ve looked everywhere for the opportunity in it, and there isn’t one.”
Wednesday 13th January, 2016
By Edward Haigh Corporate communications can be pretty dull at the best of times. The controls that firms put in place around external communications are predicated on the need to stop something terrible happening, rather than on the need to start something wonderful happening. They’re about being safe, and the price of safety is usually the removal of anything remotely interesting. And so we get lots of “we’re focused on delivering the best outcomes to our customers”, and that sort of thing. Safe. Predictable. Laudable, of course. But dull.
Tuesday 5th January, 2016
By Fiona Czerniawska Clients love a specialist. In a previous article on this blog I’ve discussed how the extent to which clients’ rating of the quality of consulting work is very influenced by whether they see the firm concerned as a specialist. The more specialised a firm is seen to be, the higher the quality of its work is rated.
Wednesday 16th December, 2015
Santa, Many thanks for your time yesterday. It was very useful to get feedback from you and your colleagues around our interim findings, and I thought it would be helpful to summarise the key points of the discussion. We’re all aware that the current business model leaves you exposed on several fronts. Amazon is just one of many possible players who could seriously threaten your position as a ‘category of one’, but the chances are high that specialist Xmastech firms will also emerge that exploit specific pain points in what we can all agree is now a massively overstretched operation.
Monday 14th December, 2015
By Fiona Czerniawska When does a big consulting service become a blockbuster? The simple answer is that it’s when it ticks four boxes:
- It resonates with a widely-recognised issue in society: ‘just’ being a business concern is never enough to fuel exceptionally high levels of growth.
- It is a new issue: philosophers may tell us that there’s nothing really new under the sun, but corporate memory is short and each new generation of executives experiences something for the first time.
Tuesday 1st December, 2015
Japanese clients are a hard bunch to win over. Consulting has never taken off in that market nearly to the extent it has in other major economies, and consultants we spoke with estimate that only about half of the businesses they’d expect to be buying consulting actually are. It’s a culture that doesn’t think much of investing in intangibles like advice, and while interest is definitely picking up, this is a market that has a long way to go if consulting is ever to become the norm.
Monday 23rd November, 2015
By Fiona Czerniawska Clients want to have their cake and eat it. They regularly tell us that they’d like to use specialised firms, but in practice they tend to stick with larger ones (and the bigger organisation, the more likely this is). That’s because larger consulting firms can pull together the type of flexible, multidisciplinary teams needed for transformation projects; they’ve also got the global coverage big clients ask for – though don’t necessarily need in practice.
Tuesday 17th November, 2015
As China’s economy gradually settles into its “new normal” of more moderate growth, some of the big, foreign-based multinational corporations in the market—the very ones that global consulting firms followed here—have become a bit skittish about making further investments. With MNCs no longer looking like fonts of perpetual high growth, consultants are increasingly turning to the growing and maturing domestic market to fill the gaps in their spreadsheets.