Managing professional services communications reputation brand and leadership
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Managing Professional Services Communications: Reputation, Brand and Leadership. December 6, 2007 AMCF Global Consulting Leaders Symposium Peter Verrengia, President and Senior Partner Communications Consulting Worldwide. Challenge: Grow Value Everywhere . . .

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Managing professional services communications reputation brand and leadership

Managing Professional Services Communications:Reputation, Brand and Leadership

December 6, 2007

AMCF Global Consulting Leaders Symposium

Peter Verrengia, President and Senior Partner

Communications Consulting Worldwide


Challenge grow value everywhere

Challenge: Grow Value Everywhere . . .


Against a background of global complexity

Against a background of global complexity. . .


Priorities

Priorities?

  • Visibility for the firm

    • Global

    • National

    • Regional

    • Local

  • Credibility for the practices and partners

  • Lead generation

  • Recruitment and retention

    • Lateral, direct entry

    • Summer associates, associates


Questions and complexity

Questions and Complexity

  • How should we be known, what should we say?

  • Why do our competitors get more attention—does it matter?

  • Should we focus on practices, geographies or at the firm level?

  • How do we convert our experience into demand?

  • Does criticism or a link to negative issues hurt our revenue now? Will it hurt in the future?


More questions

More questions…

  • Can we increase productivity and quality if employees understand our strategy better?

  • Are we trusted, seen as innovative, expected to succeed? Is that view the same in every country and every service segment.

  • Should our leaders be visible, should they be thought leaders? Is the time and personal exposure worthwhile?

  • Shouldn’t our results speak for themselves?


Challenges of business development communications in professional services firms

Challenges of Business Development Communications in Professional Services Firms

  • Shared

    • Disintermediation of editorial function, decline of endorsed expertise

    • Speed, fragmentation of information sources—shift away from control

    • Desire for linearity in a non-linear decision-making environment

    • Scope and scale of global business

    • Lack of confidence in large organizations, personal credibility as a substitute


Challenges of business development communications in professional services firms1

Challenges of Business Development Communications in Professional Services Firms

  • Unique

    • Partner time

    • Partner expectations

      • (Unlike clients, partners are never wrong)

    • Can’t easily use clients as examples in public communications

    • Expertise versus personalities

    • Lead generation in a relationship context

    • Business strategy vs. marketing strategy vs. partner priorities, reactions


Variety of effective tools

Variety Of Effective Tools

  • Most programs involve the same tactics

  • Segmentation by practice, vertical industry, and geography

Integrated Communications Program

Controlled

Uncontrolled

Custom Publishing

Speeches,

events,

seminars

Advertising

Interactive engagement

Direct

Media relations

Books, by-lined Articles

VISIBILITY

CREDIBILITY

Content Dependent


Objective conflict

Objective? Conflict?

Personality dependent

Super

Fully

Integrated

Strategic

Communications

If I could just get into the room…

Super

Tactical, High

Volume

Splashy Buzz

Communications

Chaos?


Organizations must tackle communications alignment and integration issues

Organizations Must Tackle Communications Alignment and Integration Issues

  • Organization: How does it connect inside?

  • Effectiveness, Efficiency: How well are reputation and brand projected and protected?

  • Alignment: How well does the organization support its own professionals and their objectives?

  • Benchmarks: Scope and spending on communications activities and how does this compare to best in class?

Integration

New, Innovative, Strategic

3

Long-Term Opportunity

Collaboration

Together, Better, Faster

2

Near-Term Initiative

Coordination

Functional, Independent, Parallel

1


Reputation and brand

Reputation and brand

  • Brand: what we say about ourselves or our products

    • in the context of a buyer/seller relationship

    • Most often through controlled communications

  • Reputation: What others say about the company

    • In the context of its own actions and statements

    • Statements of competitors, and the issues and concerns that create the economic, public policy, and social trends environment

    • Wherever the company operates or plans to operate in the future.

    • Most often through uncontrolled communications

      Brand Visibility Reputation Credibility

      Credibility = Experience + Expectation

In professional services, brand and reputation are

very closely aligned


Managing reputation brand value

Managing Reputation & Brand Value

Uncontrolled

Communications

Opportunity

Platform

Partners

Reputation

and

Brand

Value

Performance

Firm

Safety

Net

Controlled

Communications


Brand reputation and thought leadership

Brand, Reputation and Thought Leadership

  • The firm’s reputation is a composite and reflection of its partners’ reputations—and potentially more

    • Institutional qualities, attributes

  • Communications from the firm requires the personal participation of the partners

    • Especially at the level of thought leadership

    • “Live the brand”???

same at any scale:

partner, practice geography, or firm


Reputation and branding priorities

Reputation and Branding Priorities

For the Partner

For the Firm

PERSONAL CREDIBILITY

TIME FOR VISIBILITY

TIME FOR

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

High Effort, High return


Two rules

Two rules

  • Thought Leadership:

    • Need a thought

    • Need to lead


Essential ingredients

Essential Ingredients

THOUGHT

LEADERSHIP

NEWS

EXPERTISE

Content is king in professional services communications


How do we know what matters

How do we know what matters?

  • In an increasingly complex world, attributes of our reputation, and what issues, are important?

  • Do we have, in our reputation, a sustainable competitive advantage?

    • What attributes to emphasize?

    • What attributes to protect?

  • How do we create and maintain visibility and credibility

    • Program messages, tactics, duration

    • Spending levels

  • What are the metrics we should use?


Practical considerations

Practical Considerations

  • Motivate partner participation

  • Respond to partner priorities and desires (demands?)

  • Justify budgets


Practical considerations1

Practical Considerations

  • Motivate partner participation

  • Respond to partner priorities and desires (demands?)

  • Justify budgets


Managing professional services communications reputation brand and leadership

REPUTATION VALUE

MEASUREMENT

ORGANIZATIONAL DESIGN & PERFORMANCE

BD Comms.

Management

LEADERSHIP REPUTATION GROWTH AND DEFENSE

MESSAGE & POSITIONING DEVELOPMENT

Program strategy & tactics

This is the easy part


Create reputation value model

Create Reputation Value Model

  • What outcomes matter most to you as a business?

  • What is the value of reputation overall? What metric should be used over time to measure progress or threats?

  • Which reputation attributes or messages contribute most to your reputation, sales volume, other outcomes?

  • Which should be emphasized more?

  • Which reputation attributes or messages about the company should your protect?


Managing professional services communications reputation brand and leadership

Reputation

Index –Communications, Brand, Image,

Other

CCW’s Approach to Measurement

  • An approach using multivariate statistics and econometric modeling

  • A model using causal equations to link intangible driversto an overall score that links to corporate performance

Intermediaries

Outputs

Inputs

Components

Possible Data Points:

Possible Message Themes:

Possible Elements:

Potential Business Outcomes:

Publicly Available Financial Data

Strategy Execution

Media Relations Data

Revenue

Corp. Culture and CEO Messaging

Brand Data

Management Strength

Sales Volume/ Growth

Stakeholder Survey Inputs (Customer, Employee, Other)

Reputation

Customer Retention

Employee Relations

CSR Data

Financial Position

Awards, Patents, Ratings

Innovation

Market Share

Product/Service Quality

Marketing Data


Leadership defense

Leadership Defense

  • Understand the environment and risks

    • Cross-border political and economic issues

    • Relevance

    • Competitor initiatives

    • Timing—24 hours a day

    • Appropriate response

      • Sometimes no response is correct

  • Create just enough leeway for initiative

  • Focus and repeat (consultants get bored easily)

  • Measure

  • Involve knowledge owners

  • Always seek communications annuity programs and develop franchises


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