The focus on brand strategy and branding has been a fairly recent focus in professional service firms, and within executive search it has been even more recently embraced.
Yet every organization and company has a brand, whether they actively manage it or not. Brand strategy is either defined, implemented, and managed consciously or it is done by the firm’s clients and other stakeholders — whether you will like the result or not. We call these passive brands or accidental brands. Don’t let the market define your unique proposition for you! Take control of the only part of your business that you have complete and total control over — your firm’s brand!
Let’s address a bit of confusion we see and hear constantly in the market about what a brand is!
“Brands are the sum of experiences each of us has with a product or service” to paraphrase Jack Trout.
That is a brand is like an envelope where anyone who interacts with your firm consciously and unconsciously stores information and perceptions about their experiences with you and your team. So to maintain success, grow, increase a firm’s value, recruit and retain valuable team members, appeal to new markets and other business goals your brand better resonate and be credible and clear.
Your firm’s brand is NOT just your name, your logo, your website or any other marketing element. As mentioned above it is the sum of all of these things and more. A well-crafted brand drives behaviors, is a platform for evaluating growth opportunities, recruitment strategies and much more. And yes your logo, your website are important expressions of your brand. But it is much more. Words. Behaviors. Messages.
Design is critically important in developing a strong brand because it is the visual expression of your brand values. The saying goes — a picture is worth a thousand words. And the visual representation of a company’s brand is critical to the experience everyone has of your organization. Is it clear? It is simple? Is it engaging? These are important questions. But not the only ones.
When we say “design” we are not simply meaning graphic design. We mean design of your brand stratetgy. How you design or craft the messages you deliver to each of your audiences. The design and careful consideration of the how team members manage the client life cycle.
In professional services and perhaps more so in executive search there is the firm brand and the partner brand, both of which are equally important in developing and maintaining client relationships. We often hear “well yes, I understand, but the clients work with me. They don’t really care about our firm’s brand”. We understand this, and work to build value in both the firm’s and the partner brands. Yet partners can inadvertently harm a firm’s brand if the brand is not clearly understood, embraced and evangelized by everyone in the firm. So your firm’s brand is critical to long-term success and building value in the business you have invested so much into.
ALC Enable are experts at brand strategy, implementation, management, and importantly, evolution. Members of our team have been at the centre of developing some of the world’s best-known brands. We have decades of experience working with search firms in creating and implementing strong brand strategies for firms across the globe.
In fact, we are the only consulting firm focused exclusively on the executive search industry. Creating strong brands in professional services is certainly a skill in and of itself for a variety of reasons, but the executive search industry requires a unique skill set that understands the challenges and opportunities.
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