The future will be different

May 08, 2019

How consulting firms prevent #MeToo branding

Our whole lives revolve around words – written, spoken, felt. Even a little, simple “the” can be powerful.

Boston Consulting Group seems to agree. It has dropped “the” from its company name. It worked for Facebook, so why not for #BCG?
“New year, new me” is the approach:
The consulting firm overhauled its logo and relaunched its website.

Especially professional services players have to fight in their crowded, highly competitive field to “make their mark” – they are primarily sold on trust. On this battleground, reputation is their most important asset. Brand building is even more critical for generating business value than for product brands.

In today’s skeptical, fee-sensitive climate, there’s nothing “safe” about an undifferentiated brand. To continuously win (and retain) clients and talents they need to powerfully reject the reproach of having similar taglines, logos, or using marketing jargon.

A global study by #Bain in partnership with #Google on data-driven marketing emphasizes: “Know your audience. It’s the first rule of marketing, and it’s still as important as ever.” The main takeaway of research based on 1,700 marketers: Timing is everything!

As you know too well: Times are changing rapidly; i.e. your clients and their demands are changing, too. Professional services needs a winning hand to stand out. “How do I do that?” you might wonder.

Well, there are a few ingredients for the recipe of success including:

Polish your positioning: Define your brand’s voice and identity including your true purpose

– Invest in the redesign of your website incl. sharp images – people’s attention span shortens

– Leverage social media – authentically and also via your Board members as brand ambassadors

Bet on diversity & inclusion – and really believe in its power

Strengthen your strengths; i.e. let your USP shine.

Especially for the latter take for example the global consulting firm #AlixPartners – rewarded as the #1 for restructuring & transformation in the „Top Management Consultancies“ study from Professor Fink. They are working with clients around the world for nearly forty years now, helping businesses respond to challenges when everything is on the line – from urgent performance improvement to complex restructuring, from risk mitigation to accelerated transformation. Hence it is only logic to stick to the claim “when it really matters” . They also just overhauled its image, literally. To stand out of the thicket of professional services, it’s betting on visual impact through crisp new images based on the style principles „bright, clean and powerful“.

With its new employer branding campaign fresh out the oven, BCG is trying to reach women and younger people with the claim “Welcome to the Group”. Matthias Storath, from the agency HEIMAT, put it bluntly:

„Employer branding is usually a brand shredder. Companies are never more interchangeable, never more uncertain than when communicating with potential employees.

Taking Germany as a pilot market, the firm aims to increase its female entry quota from 35 to 40 percent. Its ads featuring fashionable people, BCG seems to resemble a tech start-up or a hipster fashion brand rather than a traditional consulting firm.

BCG isn’t alone. McKinsey has also launched a new CD/CI designed by Wolff Olins with key elements such as a new script mark and bespoke typeface, polished images and enhanced data visualization design under the slogan: “Welcome to our new identity.”

But beware! Only hitting “copy and paste” for cool slogans or relevant external events can easily backfire. The real estate firm Engel & Völkers wanted to celebrate women on World Women’s Day – only without women. A photo showing five of the company’s male managers quickly turned into a, pardon my French, shitstorm.

So again: Playing it „safe“ with a MeToo branding is not an option 😉

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