A communication and pr model for international management consultants 2011 official version


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This report aims to transfer my (the author’s) structural capital and tangible know-how in driving communication, especially PR and promotion, within international consultancy companies. The report is based upon my 15+ years experience of communication and of driving traditional as well as digital PR within international professional service firms (PSF). The role I have had in the different organizations has been as CEO, Chairman, VP of Training, advisor and external consultant.
Communication is universal and takes place through many channels. PR is only one part of the communication mix but a very efficient one for PSFs as it is B2B and highly dependent upon trust and a good reputation. To understand reputation and its management there are three key questions:
1. Reputation with whom? That is, the key stakeholders you want to impact.
2. Reputation for what? That is, what do you want to be known for?
3. Reputation for what purpose? That is, how can the reputation you want help your business
become more successful?

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A communication and pr model for international management consultants 2011 official version

  1. 1. White Paper A COMMUNICATON & PR MODEL FOR INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS Magnus Penker, August 2011 magnus.penker@bearing-consulting.comUnited Kingdom Sweden Spain Switzerland South Africa5th floor, Imperial House Jakobs Torg 3, 1tr Paseo de Gracia 44, 8C 11 Rue du Port 2nd Floor, 1 Sandton Drive15-19 Kingsway 111 52 Stockholm 08007 Barcelona 1204 Genève Sandton 2196London WC2B 6UN Sweden Spain Switzerland JohannesburgUnited Kingdom Ph: +46 84 11 87 10 Ph: +34 66 005 6419 Ph: +41 22 575 2023 South AfricaPh: +44 208 133 3125 Fax: +46 85 010 9637 Fax: +34 93 396 1973 Fax: +41 22 594 8005 Ph: +27 11 327 8705Fax: +44 845 280 3818 Fax: +27 86 685 8444 1
  2. 2. A COMMUNICATION & PR MODEL FOR INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTSTABLE OF CONTENTS1.   INTRODUCTION 3  2.   GENERAL THEORY 7  2.1.   Strategy 7  2.2.   The 7Ps 8  2.3.   The six markets 9  2.4.   Branding and Integrated Marketing Communication 10  2.5.   The Service Value Chain and Serviced Orientation 11  3.   EXECUTING 13  3.1.   Stakeholder Management 13  3.2.   Brand Management: Positioning, Segmenting, Targeting 14  3.2.1.   Q&A and Policies 14  3.2.2.   About Positioning 15  3.2.3.   Segmenting 15  3.3.   (Digital) Branding, Communication and PR 16  3.3.1.   Corporate websites, corporate blogs, press releases and white papers 17  3.3.2.   Channels and presence 18  APPENDIX A – AN EXAMPLE OF ENGLISH STYLE GUIDELINES 21  Spelling 21  Style/tone of voice 21  APPENDIX B – EXAMPLE OF CODE OF CONDUCT STRUCTURE FOR A PSF 22  REFERENCES 24   2
  3. 3. A COMMUNICATION & PR MODEL FOR INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS1. INTRODUCTIONThis report aims to transfer my (the author’s) structural capital and tangible know-how in drivingcommunication, especially PR and promotion, within international consultancy companies. The reportis based upon my 15+ years experience of communication and of driving traditional as well as digitalPR within international professional service firms (PSF). The role I have had in the differentorganizations has been as CEO, Chairman, VP of Training, advisor and external consultant.Communication is universal and takes place through many channels. PR is only one part of thecommunication mix but a very efficient one for PSFs as it is B2B and highly dependent upon trust anda good reputation. To understand reputation and its management there are three key questions: 1. Reputation with whom? That is, the key stakeholders you want to impact. 2. Reputation for what? That is, what do you want to be known for? 3. Reputation for what purpose? That is, how can the reputation you want help your business become more successful?The first question is linked to stakeholders and corporate strategy, the second question to thepurpose of the business strategy and the last question is linked to communication including sales andmarketing as well as the products and services of the firm.Most premium PSFs are niche players, or at least want to differ in some way, otherwise they wouldbe considered as commodity vendors, as in the employment industry. This is also an important partof the context when discussing the theory and experience of communication. The classiccommunication mix is built on: • Advertising • Sales Promotion • Public Relations (PR) • Direct Marketing • Personal SellingPR, sales promotion and personal selling are, in my experience, the most efficient tools, whereasadvertising and direct marketing are not. This becomes very important with physical evidence, thepeople and the process in itself, i.e. the whole experience. This will be further explored in thegeneral theory section as this is the additional 3P to Kottler’s classical 4Ps (also called the servicemarketing mix). Moreover, this is also linked to what is often referred to as the service value chain,also explored and contextualised in the general theory section. Both the general theory section aswell as the execution section are structured and influenced by the six-market model, (adopted forPSFs from the originator Payne, Payne, & Ballantyne, 2002): 1. Client (Customer) Market: The buying market, normally the consuming market. Clients are normally considered as the prime source of new and extended business. 2. Referral Market: Typically intermediates, agencies like law firms and corporate finance firms, ranking institutes and other actors. Trusted and credible in the eyes of your potential clients - a reason to help them find other PSFs to team up with. 3. Influence Market: Media, bloggers, and potential analysts for listed PSFs. 4. Talent Market: The market for finding talented people to employ. 3
  4. 4. A COMMUNICATION & PR MODEL FOR INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS 5. Internal Market: Employees and management. 6. Supplier Market: Might be strategic partners or vendors of assessments, tools and other strategic infrastructure.Some years ago, I conducted a survey of why some European management consultants had bettersales performance than others. The result was based upon eleven years of sales statistics in severalEuropean countries and clearly showed the complexity and linkage between success and trust. AsFigure 1 shows success comes from: executive confidence; using and building personal networks;being two (consultants) in a meeting with decision-makers; as well as the ability to judge your ownefforts and the potential outcome. Success did not come from the number of meetings or howexperienced you are in coaching and guiding executives. However, all consultants in the survey hadmany sales meetings (on average 4-6 sales meetings every week). Many  CEO   mee4ngs   8   7   Experienced  in   6   Many  follow-­‐up   coaching   5   mee4ngs   4   3   2   1   Highest  sales   0   Execu4ve   Using/Building   Lowest  sales   confidence   own  network   Two  in  CEO-­‐ Forecast  ability   mee4ngs   Figure 1 A survey based upon eleven years of sales statistics in several European countriesCombining executive confidence and the ability to judge your own efforts, empowered by internalmarketing and the ability to attract individuals in the talent market, with extensive networking withclients and the utilisation of internal resources (team play) increases the possibility of successsubstantially. By adding the referral market as well as the influence market and the supplier marketthe odds in favour of potential success are even higher. The referral market and the influence marketare very much about PR and promotion, while the other markets are very much about personalsales. The talent market is always about personal sales but can be boosted by good PR. 4
  5. 5. A COMMUNICATION & PR MODEL FOR INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTSGenerally speaking, the B2B buying process in the PSF market contains the following steps: 1. Perception of need (rational) 2. Short-listing of suppliers (emotional) 3. Evaluation of offers (rational) 4. Selection of suppliers (emotional)Where steps 2 and 4 can be influenced by PR and promotion, steps 1 and 3 are based upon rationalthinking and how well your value proposition is presented. Or, as Gummesson (2002) put it, “it isabout many-to-many marketing where value is created in a web of stakeholders”. Also the BostonConsulting Group’s C.W. Stern and G. Stalk Jr point out in their book Perspective on Strategy (Stern &Stalk Jr., 1998) that in today’s business society you are more of a link in a values chain than a supplier,and in the world of PSF this means that you have to keep in mind the perspective of multiplestakeholders.A potential dilemma is, however, that PR and personal sales are local and branding is global. Brandingis strongly linked to marketing, sales and communication, but also it is linked to delivery. Delivery isoften possible to achieve with global resources in PSF, and even to be preferred in order tostrengthen and give evidence of the brand promises internally as well as externally. But marketingand sales are carried out locally while communication in general tends to be more global as digitalmedia become more and more important. Especially within the PSF market where English is used tocommunicate even in local markets. This inherent conflict between branding and the communicationmix, in conjunction with that of products or packaged services developed locally, often will lead toPSFs creating organizations based on a House of Brands in an attempt to replicate the anecdotalsuccesses of consumer giants such as Unilever, Procter & Gamble and General Motors.However, as a result of these attempts, and the lack of proper brand discipline, inconsistent namingpolicies and brand dilution, diversification has now become a common challenge within many PSFs.Generally speaking, too much freedom is given to local managing directors and top consultants toname and nurture their own darlings. In fact, many of the product brands evolving from these localkingdoms are just labels for products and services which could just as easily have been referred to bya generic description and the company name. This does not mean that it is wrong to package orname products or services, but it ought to be done under the same label and as the rest of the firmdoes. A common way of handling this is to work with sub-labels and within a clear structure.Just a few words on pricing strategy for PSFs since it is important and linked to branding, PR andcommunication. There are four main pricing strategies: • Price skimming • Price leadership • Penetration • Follow market leaderFor a premium brand PSF it is recommended to apply price leadership or follow market leader;however for packaging offers, such as surveys, price skimming is recommended because the offerswill be considered as a product and be more attractive at the start (= you can initially set higherprices and skim the market). 5
  6. 6. A COMMUNICATION & PR MODEL FOR INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTSDue to market logic and the kinds of relationship in the premium PSF market it is vital to attract,retain and develop relationships both in the talent market as well as in the client market. Long-termrelationships, mutual understanding, as well as interdependency and trust building activities lead toprofitability. This is also why many consultants price dump to get new accounts, not to berecommended if you are into serious premium consulting and long-term thinking. As alreadymentioned, low prices will shift brand perception from premium to commodity. However, to giveaway something for free might be an efficient strategy since, according to negotiating wizards such asCialdini (1884), it creates a feeling of debt and a need to pay back without destroying the valueperception of the brand because no price was involved. This is also the rationale behind packagingdue diligences, pre studies, tools and surveys because they prove capability but are more or lessimpossible to value other than as an actual benefit to the client. They cannot easily be compared andcannot destroy the brand via low fees. At the same time they highlight opportunities and threats tothe clients experienced and discovered mutually and display the capability and personality of the PSF.In summary, the competitive advantages of a strong B2B brand (the reasons for doing all this) are: 1. Impact on the client’s confidence, as in staying on the list in the process of purchasing 2. Enhanced customer satisfaction and loyalty, which lead to lower cost of sales 3. Price premium in correlation to perceived differentiation and added value 4. Economy of scale in marketing, with no need to explain everything all the time 5. Positive impact in internal market, talent market, influence market and referral market 6. Suppliers want to partner you, give a premium on the purchase price and level of service 7. Increased market cap 6
  7. 7. A COMMUNICATION & PR MODEL FOR INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS2. GENERAL THEORY2.1. StrategyThere are generally three levels of strategies. According to Walker, Mullins, & Boyd (2010) thecorporate level (what business are we in), the business strategy (the direction) and functionalstrategies such as marketing (segments, positioning, channels, pricing, communication, clientacquisition, customer service), finance, delivery and HR. However, all these strategies are linked toeach other and branding is a part of every level. Every strategy should have: 1. Scope 2. Objectives 3. Allocation of resources 4. Sources of competitive advantages 5. Sources of synergismsThe corporate strategies can be linked to business growth strategies, which in their turn can belinked to functional product and marketing strategies. See Figure 2 for how business strategies can belinked to functional strategies. Corporate  Strategy  (What  business  are  we  in)  is   linked  to  Business  and  Functional  stategies Business Strategies (Kottler) Ansoff ’s Product-Market Expansion Grid (link to functional strategies) 1. Intensive growth 2. Integrative growth (M&A) Current New Product Market 3. Diversification Growth (Walt Disney started with merchandising, when you have strong business capabilities that can be used Market Product somewhere else) Current penetration development Market Strategy strategy 4. Downsizing and divesting older business New Market Market Development Diversification Strategy Strategy Generic strategies according to Porter (can be combined with Kottler’s business strategies) 1. Cost Leadership (or Cost Focus = high integration with few customers and low price) 2. Differentiation (Be different) 3. Focus (On one or several specific niches) Figure 2 How business strategies can be allied with functional strategies 7
  8. 8. A COMMUNICATION & PR MODEL FOR INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTSMoreover, a central part of how to execute marketing strategies is whether the firm is market-drivenor market-driver, as it impacts on how to act and react upon past, present and future drivers andtriggers on the market. This is linked to all three levels of strategy and is a part of what sometimes iscalled the raison dêtre, (French for reason for existence), the basis for all brand management.2.2. The 7PsThe 7Ps, sometimes referred to as the Service Marketing Mix, is a tool to understand wheremarketing is taking place and how that will implement the brand promise. This is also linked to thefive product levels symbolising the customer value hierarchy as discussed by Kottler & Keller (2009).The first Ps are Product, Price, Place and Promotion and the three new service Ps are Process,Physical Evidence and People. The 3Ps are linked to the experience and the unconscious judgment ofthe first four Ps. Clients will look for physical evidence, people aligned with the brand promise whofeel trust and confidence in the process to buy into product, price, promotion and place. PR andCommunication, in the case of PSFs, are very much about creating and proving the intangibleevidence needed to support a semi-rational decision made by the client. For instance, if I selectMcKinsey I know (= believe) that I will have high quality delivery built upon best practice (rational),but I also know (= believe) that no one can fire me for selecting them (emotional). However, whenstarting to work with them you will look for evidence because you might suspect that there areother firms able to do the same thing for a less premium price. This means it is crucial for a premiumplayer such as McKinsey and others, to provide this evidence.Physical evidence might be the location of the office, which in the case of a PSF must be a primelocation. Other physical evidence is the dress code of the staff (not only the consultants). The dresscode must be aligned with the brand promise. Please note that dress code might differ even amongpremium brand consultants and agencies. Market-oriented premium consultants are supposed todress more fashionably than strategists, who are expected dress classically, while lawyers areexpected to be more conservative. Other physical evidence comes from the quality of reports (paperand printing), the style of the office (not only if it is clean and tidy, but also special scent, lighting,colour used, fabric of furniture), as well as how the office is organised.Typically PSFs are very uneven in their process quality. Let´s give a few examples. Do you writedown exactly what to say before leaving a voice message or do you just go with the flow? Mostconsultants just go with the flow. At McKinsey, many of them actually write down the sentences tobe left on an answering machine (Rasiel, 1999). That’s a good idea if you are to deliver a premiumexperience. Other consultancy firms I have worked for regularly invite clients to real-life meetings infront of your colleagues (typically on kick-offs). After the meeting the client and your colleagues giveyou feedback and eventually you get an order from the client. This creates a high degree of urgencyand real feedback on the customer’s experience of working with you. Last time I did that was with aconsultant manager in a management consultancy company; and we had him fired afterwards. Do Ihave to tell you that the sales increased just a few months after that? Brutal? Maybe. But how brutalis it to charge for premium work and not deliver it?The last P, people, concerns both the process and the physical evidence but is also, as referred to inthe introduction, executive confidence. The CV is also of great importance, and many times way too 8
  9. 9. A COMMUNICATION & PR MODEL FOR INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTSlittle effort is made. The person you meet and interact with is the ultimate confirmation of yourchoice of PSF and who you will buy from in the future.Five product levels, symbolising the customer value hierarchy as discussed by Kottler & Keller(2009), are linked to the 7Ps and can be described in PSF terms as:Core benefit: The service or benefit that the client is really buying. It is often about competence,confidence or evidence as many managers are anxious, less competent and/or with internal issues.This is very important for PSFs to understand. You really need to understand what your client isactually buying. For a law firm it might be about off-loading responsibility, for a managementconsultant about a second opinion or an investigation providing proof for a direction the managerwants to take. But for marketing, advertising and event agencies it can be about having fun or beinginvited to the right parties in town. Moreover, and frequently, it is also about securing the next stepin the manager’s career or indirectly working out a back-up plan, having friends in a few harbours.Basic product: At the second level, the marketer must turn the core benefit into a basic product.This is typically reports or surveys, but it can also be about execution. Many times this is not whatthe client thinks she/he needs although it is exactly what she/he needs. This is a dilemma, andtherefore the basic product is often packaged and offered as an analysis with implementation support.But there are also exceptions, with strong and confident executives they are really buying apossibility as a core product and they want the basic product execution of that possibility.Expected product: At the third level, the marketer prepares an expected product, a set ofattributes and conditions buyers normally expect when they purchase these product/services. This istypically professional and trained consultants, ready to work around the clock, producing expecteddeliveries always on time.Augmented product: At the fourth level, the marketer prepares an augmented product thatexceeds customer expectations. In developed countries, brand positioning and competition takeplace at this level. In developing and emerging markets such as India and Brazil, however, competitiontakes place mostly at the expected product level. Typically this is about securing the future of thebusiness.Potential product: At the fifth level the potential product encompasses all the possibleaugmentations and transformations the product or service might undergo in the future. Here iswhere companies search for new ways to satisfy customers and distinguish their offering. It might benew kinds of tools and systems for measuring, tracking and benchmarking, always helping the clientto be one step ahead.2.3. The six marketsPayne, Payne, & Ballantyne (2002) divided the market into six, all with their own marketing andcommunication mix. The six-market proposition has been adapted to suit the PSF market and is builtup of:Client (Customer) Market: The buying market, also the consuming market, consists of existingand new clients normally considered as the prime source of new and extended business. 9
  10. 10. A COMMUNICATION & PR MODEL FOR INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTSReferral Market: Typically intermediates, agencies like law firms and corporate finance firms,ranking institutes and other actors, trusted and credible in the eyes of your potential clients - areason to help them find other PSFs to team up with.Influence Market: Media, bloggers, and potential analysts for listed PSFs.Talent Market: The market for finding talented people to employ.Internal Market: Employees and management.Supplier Market: Might be strategic partners or vendors of assessments, tools and other strategicinfrastructure.Each market has its stakeholders with different levels of power (P), legitimacy (L) and urgency (U).The stakeholders with a high significance in all three dimensions are often referred to as definitestakeholders, the ones with high significance in two dimensions as expectant stakeholders and thosewith only one significant dimension as latent stakeholders. Typically clients have high P, L and U whilemedia often has high P and L but not U (if not, something really bad happened). Bloggers might oftenhave high P but little L and little U, and so on.Classifying each market’s stakeholders and mapping them to a communication mix, helps in settingand executing a marketing and PR plan. Also see Branding and Integrated Marketing CommunicationThe B2B Brand Wheel (Mudambi, Doyle, & Wong, 1997) is maybe the most referred to model forB2B brand internalisation, see Figure 3. Figure 3 B2B Brand Wheel, Source: Mudambi, Doyle, & Wong (1997) 10
  11. 11. A COMMUNICATION & PR MODEL FOR INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTSAs the model shows, B2B brands are built upon tangible and intangible aspects, in the dimension ofproduct, company, service and distribution, which can be mapped to the Service Marketing Mix andthe 7Ps. According to the leading brand agency Interbrand, the following principles govern and guideglobal brands: • Recognition • Consistency • Emotion • Uniqueness • Adaptability • ManagementThese all are applicable to PSF branding together with the Brand Wheel. Often Brand Management,when it really works, is aligned to the corporate strategy and the culture of the business. A veryinteresting and illustrative example of branding is Domingo Pizza which has calculated the lifetimevalue of their customers as $10,000. The staff are trained from the first moment to serve allcustomers as though they actually bought a $10,000 pizza each time. This is branding.Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) is one of the present trends, and it is about aligningcommunication in all markets and in all channels in order to maximize the impact per Euro spent.However, it is also about involving and getting feedback from the six markets as well as adapting themessages to each target group. This is also very close to the trend of open innovation where clientsare involved in value creation.2.5. The Service Value Chain and Serviced OrientationSatisfied employees will stay longer and produce better results within the service industry, also inPSF, and therefore generate better results for customers. This will lead to customer satisfaction, andincreased customer loyalty, with more repeat business and a better profit and revenue growth as aresult (Heskett, Jones, Loveman, Sasser, & Schlesinger, 2008). This does not mean that we shouldavoid conflict or slacken the reins, it means that strong values and purpose of the business alignedwith all processes and activities, including talent management, training, leadership, communication anddeliveries is the foundation of generating profit and growth through satisfied and retained knowledgeworkers. This is also the link to Intellectual Capital and Social Capital of PSF (described in the report‘A Structure and Model for how to build IC in a Management Consulting Company 2011). 11
  12. 12. A COMMUNICATION & PR MODEL FOR INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS Figure 4 Putting the Service-Profit Chain to Work. Source: Heskett, Jones, Loveman, Sasser, & Schlesinger (2008)To fully understand the issue of service quality, the Service Quality Model by Parasuraman, Zeithaml,& Berry (1985), shown in Figure 5, can be used. It shows five potential expectation gaps whereservice quality can be gained or destroyed. Figure 5 The Service Quality Model. Source: Parasuraman, Zeithaml, & Berry (1985)Note how PSF can create, or close gaps, between marketing (gap 4), sales (gap 3), deliveries (gap 5),business development (gap 2) and strategy work (gap 5). 12
  13. 13. A COMMUNICATION & PR MODEL FOR INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS3. EXECUTING3.1. Stakeholder ManagementA way of manage the stakeholders of a PSF is to classify them and analyse how to relate to them. Aframework that can be used for this is presented below in Figure 6 (also see 2.3).Stakeholder   Stakeholders  Interest  and  Type   How  PSF  relate  to  the  stakeholder     Power   Legitimacy   Urgency   (Latent,  Expectant,  Definite)  Clients   Yes   Yes   Yes   Describe  the  interest  they  have   Describe  how  you  are  relating  to   or   or   or   here,  what  kind  of  stakeholders  they   and  managing  them.   No   No   No   are.  Referral   Yes   Yes   Yes   Describe  the  interest  they  have   Describe  how  you  are  relating  to  Market   or   or   or   here,  what  kind  of  stakeholders  they   and  managing  them.  (Might   be   No   No   No   are.  sub   grouped,  typically  mediators,  agencies,  ranking  institute)  Influence   Yes   Yes   Yes   Describe  the  interest  they  have   Describe  how  you  are  relating  to  Market   or   or   or   here,  what  kind  of  stakeholders  they   and  managing  them.  (might   be   No   No   No   are.  sub   grouped,  typically  media)  Internal   Yes   Yes   Yes   Describe  the  interest  they  have   Describe  how  you  are  relating  to  Market   or   or   or   here,  what  kind  of  stakeholders  they   and  managing  them.  (might   be   No   No   No   are.  sub   grouped  as   partners  and  associates)  Supplier   Yes   Yes   Yes   Describe  the  interest  they  have   Describe  how  you  are  relating  to  Market   or   or   or   here,  what  kind  of  stakeholders  they   and  managing  them.  (might   be     a   No   No   No   are.  sub  group)  Talent   Yes   Yes   Yes   Describe  the  interest  they  have   Describe  how  you  are  relating  to  Market   or   or   or   here,  what  kind  of  stakeholders  they   and  managing  them.   No   No   No   are.   Figure 6 Penker’s framework for analysing stakeholders mapping them to the strategic intent of a PSF. 13
  14. 14. A COMMUNICATION & PR MODEL FOR INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS3.2. Brand Management: Positioning, Segmenting, TargetingBrand Management is about differentiation, decision-making, risk reduction and relationship building.The brand signals what the business stands for functionally and emotionally. The Brand Platform isnormally built upon the following elements: Earned Core Value – perceived value by our stakeholders Our Vision/Mission and Wanted Position – what we want to be, and for whom Brand Values – the core values Brand Promise – what we promise the market, as in the pitch Brand Personality – how we want to be seen and what we want to be associated with in our communications – tonality, type of images, tone of voice Brand Identity – the physical evidence such as logotype, typography, colours, written and spoken language, design of material (such as office) and immaterial (like PowerPoints, Word Reports) assets, as well as templates including charts and layout. Must always be used to reflect the brand values Naming Policy – directives for naming of products and services Brand Measurement – what to measure, why, when and by whom3.2.1. Q&A and PoliciesOften Q&A (Question and Answers) are made in workshop form to internalise the brand platformand to make it transferable to other parties now and in the future. Brand management is very muchabout tacit know-how and must therefore be handled that way (See the internal report aboutbuilding IC in management consultancy firms).Typically a set of policies is also developed to guide and align the brand platform with the executionand follow up.English Policy – The language has a great impact on how a firm is perceived. For instance, if youuse American or British style and spelling; active or passive form; action-oriented language or a moretheoretical and formal language. It makes a fundamental difference if an executing-oriented PSF usesan action-oriented short, urging style of language in, say, a staff-coaching report, or a passive, formal,academic style of writing with long complicated sentences. This is what is called tonality of language.See Appendix A for an example of an English Policy I have developed, in conjunction with one ofSweden’s most experienced international copy editors with clients such as the CEO of SKF, for a PSFwith an execution-oriented way of operating.Code Of Conduct – A code that shall be mandatory and accepted fully by written notice. It willapply to all employees and subcontractors as well as associates, business partners and suppliers. Tobe efficient it must be delivered in training, as well as monitored and measured for violations. Itshould also be public and published on the corporate website in order to be trustworthy. SeeAppendix B for a common structure adopted to fit an international PSF. 14
  15. 15. A COMMUNICATION & PR MODEL FOR INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTSCSR – Corporate Social Responsibility is one of the most important and efficient ways ofimplementing responsibility, fairness, cooperation and thereby a fertile working environment for newideas and a supportive atmosphere where people always deliver and care as much about the teamand the client as about themselves. In my experience, real CSR means actually rejecting people whoare only driven by their own agenda – which in the long run is good for a knowledge workingenvironment and the trustworthiness of a brand promise about caring for the client on a deeper level(which consultants with their own agenda do not do). ISO 26000 is a standard that might beapplicable and/or Triple Bottom Line reporting.Compliance Rules - The set of rules regulating what to do and what not to do, even if this is notdirectly linked to branding, PR and communication it has to be in place and aligned with the brandpurpose and its execution.3.2.2. About  Positioning  A positioning statement is a short descriptor explaining how your firm’s products or services differfrom those of your competitors. In fact, its just another way of describing the vision, mission,strategies and branding. The advantage is that positional statements developed from a clear outside-inperspective will be perceived as more active and feasible than vision and mission statements.However, the wording is not the real issue. What you are actually doing, your direction, is the realissue. To refer to two former colleagues and marketing gurus, Rolf Jansson and Tommy Falounius, ‘Inmost cases you cannot expect employees to have more than one statement about their company’spurpose and future stuck up on their walls. In reality it is hard enough to remember just one.’A positioning of a product, service and/or a PSF shall be customer centred: • Visionary • Differentiated • Sustainable • Easily communicated • Motivating • FlexibleA  typical  form  of  positioning  statement  is:   Convince  clients  and  the  talent  market     That  PSF  XX  is  the  one  able  to  deliver  superior  insights  and  execution   Because  of  XYZ…    Positioning diagrams can be very helpful in explaining how your PSF is different from yourcompetitors and is a useful tool for developing the brand promise as well as the position statement.A position diagram is built upon a key differentiator on the Y-axis and a key benefit on the X-axis.The rationale for this is that it is more sustainable than a specific feature. Here is an example of howSegmenting  Segmenting a market can be based on several principles; typical discriminators are demographiccharacteristics, size and trade of the clients, growth ambitions, kind of management. Segmentationsare preferably made upon an external and internal analysis, and where the analysis scopes a sweet 15
  16. 16. A COMMUNICATION & PR MODEL FOR INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTSspot for positioning. Typically the process is:   Segmenting the market -> choice target group ->positioning the firm and/or offer to that specific target segment. A segment shall always be • Measurable • Accessible • Substantial • Differentiable • ActionableA benefit analysis is made by map benefits (client’s perspective) to the segment (the set of cliententities), map that to the degree of attractiveness of that segment (firm’s perspective), and then mapthat once more to the firm’s business capabilities. Attractiveness (can be made by assigning points): • Size • Growth rate • Profitability • Nature of competition • Bargaining power of buyersBusiness capabilities (can be made by assigning points): • Strategic fit with long-term objectives • Core competencies and capabilities • Desired relationship with customerThe result of mapping segments to benefits, to attractiveness, to business capabilities is that this givesthe best target groups to position the firm to (whole firm or specific products/services).Benefit of successful segmentation is typically: • Designing to meet the needs of the marketplace • Determining effective and cost-efficient promotional strategies • Evaluating market competition and position of the company • Getting insights into present marketing strategiesUltimately a value proposition is formulated for each target segment, which, together with theposition, are the fundamentals of the marketing mix and successful sales, PR and promotion. Typicallyvalue propositions are scoped and address a specific need in a trade (vertical), function ordiscipline/cross-discipline3.3. (Digital) Branding, Communication and PRToday, there is little difference between traditional and digital PR, communication and branding.However, as the digital arena is so much broader, less local and more global and less explored(changing all the time) than traditional PR and promotion, there are reasons to give some adviceabout it, based on my experiences working with digital channels since 1994. Also, digital PR isstrongly linked to traditional PR. Let’s take an example like white papers, often distributedelectronically, virally spread and ultimately linked to a CRM portal where people log-in to get the WPoriginally or the newest update/addendum/version. At the same time it is possible to use this offline, 16
  17. 17. A COMMUNICATION & PR MODEL FOR INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTSprint it, sent it in to newspapers, or even turn it into a paper/article in a business magazine, scientificjournal or a physical book.3.3.1. Corporate websites, corporate blogs, press releases and white papersA corporate website for a PSF is mainly used for the three stakeholder groups who want to check upon the firm. It is not for driving sales but it is necessary to build the brand and offer the emotionalproof to these stakeholders:Talent market: Before entering a PSF you will, as a global talent, check that this PSF has valuesaligned with yours, that it is the right step for you, but also that it will be perceived as a clever stepby your environment/business eco-system. This is where the corporate website comes into thepicture, it enables talented people to send a link on to other people legitimising their choice andconvincing them to make a rational (but emotional) decision to get onboard. This also means it isessential to have functions such as Like, Add This, E-Mail This and a presentation of all consultantswith a link to their LinkedIn profiles (which are properly updated and in line with the PSF’s values).Moreover, registration functions for talents as well as case histories, interviews with top performers(aligned with the current need of talents, because people attract the same sort, age, background andso on). White papers, links to media clips and corporate blogs as well as trend watches get visitorsinto the culture and level of professionalism with an on-the-spot account of the company. Typicalmistakes are consultants with pictures and or descriptions not in line with the brand promise andvalue of the firm, which will negatively impact on the perceptions of those checking out the firm asthe next step in their career.Client market: Clients primarily use the web to legitimise their choice or checking out the firmbefore a meeting, after a meeting or when receiving an offer. They typically Google the firm for adigital footprint. Not having a digital footprint is suspicious, but having the wrong one will destroyopportunities. As you cannot control the Internet, you need to build your own story by having theright kind of set up on the corporate website with high class content, links out and in (from the rightcommunities), as well as the social functions listed under talent market.Influence market: Typically ranking institutes, award institutes (such as A Great Place To Work),the media, bloggers etc. They use the site in the same way as clients, but they might only spend halfas much time there. So it needs to get out the message efficiently, which sometimes fails on PSF sitesbecause they are way too complicated. Also add a section for PR/IR with cases, photos, contactdetails, and so on.A blog might be one of the most efficient tools to impact all the stakeholders mentioned above,building the right kind of digital footprint to make people interested and invite them to hang around.Efficient corporate blogs are driven by a handful of people, with their own personal tone andinterests, publishing their own posts in the flow. This opens up the blog to following favourites aswell as giving a broader picture, always with something new and interesting. A common mistake is towrite non-personal threads, trying to sell or advertise, without opinions and/or complicated writing.Powerful headlines, short and intensive posts dealing with news and trends are what work. Have anopinion, a hypothesis, invite a discussion, use poll hosts, link to bloggers (and use trackback and pingsso they can see you are linked to them). Make statements with trackback on popular sites. Mostimportantly, decide what is to be your tone and point of view. An issue often discussed in PSFs is the 17
  18. 18. A COMMUNICATION & PR MODEL FOR INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTSEnglish language. As a blog and not corporate information it does not need to be 100% accurate.However, there are plug-ins to WordPress from Wordy.com (and others) that can be used to getinstant proofreading. I have used external editors editing within 3-4 working days, but that is way tooslow. Wordy.com and others can do it in the same day, which is a must for a blog that needs to becurrent.Another possibility to create a high degree of urgency is to collect everything that happens aroundthe PSF and its consultants (blogs, news, press releases) and present it on the site using RSS.Moreover, sending out press releases through global systems like Cision Wire (or News Desk) is anefficient and cheap way of impacting the digital footprint as they (the press releases) get ranked highlyon search engines. It is also possible to build up, over time, a database of journalists and otherinfluencing stakeholders, as well as talents and clients, to send out press releases to createconfidence.Regarding white papers, one of the most powerful tools:1. They should be announced by using traditional PR such as a debate article, as well as gettingbloggers and others to write about it linking to a free version on, for instance, SlideShare.net.Moreover, e-mail all earlier registered people who had downloaded white papers before. (See below)2. After created buzz, and a lot of papers floating around, close the free channels and upload it onyour portal (with registration). E-mail all registered people (allowed as it is B2B) about news such asnew versions, addenda, and new white papers as well as new surveys.3. Turn the best papers into seminars, books, articles in business magazines, as well as publish themin scientific journals and to PR once again.Moreover, it is also advised to link internal reward systems (career step, pay grade, etc) to howmuch and how successful (e.g. number of downloads) the consultants publish themselves as well asthe PSF as it this is a task needed to be done outside paid working hours (and lots of hours areneeded).3.3.2. Channels and presenceThere are several possibilities to build the brand online, generating a digital footprint in the directionyou want to strengthen and support your desired position, brand promise, as well as companyculture and myths.SlideShare.NetThis is the most used source for legally downloading white papers, presentations, amongst others.With 50 million monthly visitors and 90 million pageviews, it is amongst the most visited 250websites in the world. It is possible, for a very low fee, to brand a company’s own channel, wherewhite papers, slides, abstracts and reports can be pushed out. This is also an efficient way to get ahigher ranking on search engines (impacting the talent market, influence market and client marketwhen they check up on the PSF). 18
  19. 19. A COMMUNICATION & PR MODEL FOR INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTSWikipediaBy adding authorities and writers associated with the PSF, credibility is increased and the searchengine will rank it highly.LinkedInThis is one of the most important channels for recruiting, checking up on potential people before ameeting, getting introduced, as well as spreading the message of the PSF through updates, presence,poll hosts, linked blog flow and interested groups. It is important that all consultants presentthemselves in line with the PSF since they are the message that the firm’s text is accurate and that allblog flows are linked to each individual in the firm. Moreover, consultants should constantly addpeople, extending their network, asking for endorsements, and potentially linking to services likeMixtent. The larger the network a PSF gets, the easier it will find new accounts as well as checking upon talents, journalists, mediators, clients and other stakeholders.YouTube and TEDsVideo recording of seminars and keynote presentations is an efficient way of getting the messagesout. On YouTube.com you can have your own firm’s channel for free. My recommendation is to useYouTube as a second channel, and find primary sources giving credibility to the messenger such asTED. Being able to get only one of the consultants, or senior advisors, to give a talk at TED is morebrand building than anything else and will last for decades.BookWriting Open Source books gives the opportunity to spread the word, but also lets people add theirown touch to it although you are the originator. This can be distributed through many channels andmight also benefit from a community site. However, communities must be maintained on a dailybasis, with a critical mass, which is not an easy task. Open Source books are more likely to stimulatecommunities than are commercial books. However, it is also possible to combine the two.It is also recommended to apply for the Google Book Partner Program, which is an excellent way ofgetting commercial books out as well as open source books, white papers and reports.Speaker agencies and training companiesA way of branding a PSF is through its consultants, which can create both a point of contact withclients as well as strengthen the brand and wanted position (online and offline).The same applies to well known training companies and trade associations. This is also a way ofgetting the PSF tag line out. Other sources are international networks and specialised trainingcentres.Yellow Pages, e-mail signatures, business card, company houseIt is a good idea that all consultants are listed in all important phone books like Yellow Pages on theInternet, also with the tag line of the firm’s name. Very often this is not done, leading to anunprofessional impression and a lost free opportunity of getting the tag line and the brand out. Thesame applies to communications such as invoices, business cards and e-mail signatures. 19
  20. 20. A COMMUNICATION & PR MODEL FOR INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTSIn all electronic media, it is also possible to dynamically push happenings like breakfast seminars,events, white papers, training programmes and new products. Especially with e-mail signatures it iseasily done and easily changed on a weekly basis. 20
  21. 21. A COMMUNICATION & PR MODEL FOR INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTSAPPENDIX A – AN EXAMPLE OF ENGLISH STYLE GUIDELINESSpellingThe Oxford Press dictionaries suggest keeping traditional British spelling but go with z instead of s inverb endings (optimise/optimize). This is also the preferred style of the Oxford University Press inbooks published in Britain. The z of course also makes a text more acceptable to American readers.Watch out for verbs that are never (even in America) spelled with a z. The list is long and includesrevise, disguise, compromise and advertise just to name of few of the most common ones.In British English, the spelling of colour, favour, harbour, labour is used. Color, favor, harbor, labor are notconsistent with British spelling.The choice between programme and program is not only about spelling. The form program is usedwhen the word refers to computer software. In other occurrences, it’s programme.Capitalization in headlines: don’t. Headlines get harder to read and it looks very strange to mostEuropean eyes. This of course applies to running text as well. A value proposition, for instance, iswritten with lower case v and p. Designations of offers and services are written in the lower case.The most common exception to this is titles, they are capitalized: Managing Director, Senior VicePresident, Logistics Manager.Style/tone of voiceClarity of language is clarity of mind. Clear, concise and easy to read works best. Long, abstractwords with unclear meanings or multiple interpretations should be avoided.If the focus of the Group is consultancy services related to intangible company assets, this wouldsuggest an informal tone – which allows for forms such as that’s, it’s, there’s, and so on. Informal canalso mean colloquial, when needed – but for the sake of respect and credibility, don’t use slang andjargon.If possible, avoid over-used corporate buzzwords and jargon. If there is another expression you canuse, then don’t use language like win-win situations, synergy realizations, moving the goal posts, and roadmap.Acronyms can be tiring. Any text with too many ROI, USD, FAQ, LIFO, POD, and RFQ gets hard toread – and the reader may not always know what the acronym stands for. Spell it out whenever youcan. 21
  22. 22. A COMMUNICATION & PR MODEL FOR INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTSAPPENDIX B – EXAMPLE OF CODE OF CONDUCT STRUCTURE FOR A PSF1 Introduction1.1 Additional documents1.2 Violation of this Code of Conduct2 Our business principles, values and ethics2.1 Rules and regulations2.2 Communication2.3 Environment2.4 Finances2.5 Clients and trades2.6 Equality2.7 Performance management3 Our way and values4 Our environmental responsibility4.1 Environmental classification, reporting and inspections4.2 Waste and water management4.3 Handling of chemicals4.4 Carbon neutralisation4.5 Training5 International trade5.1 Antitrust laws5.2 Money laundering5.3 Import and export control and sanctions and embargo5.4 Human rights6 Workers’ rights and prevention of child labour6.1 Basic rights6.2 Wages, benefits, working hours and parental leave7 Health and safety7.1 Building safety7.2 Fire safety 22
  23. 23. A COMMUNICATION & PR MODEL FOR INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS7.3 Accidents and first aid7.4 Working environment8 Monitoring and enforcement8.1 Transparency and co-operation8.2 Monitoring8.3 Corrective action 23
  24. 24. A COMMUNICATION & PR MODEL FOR INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTSREFERENCESCialdini, R. B. (1884). Influence: The Phycology of Persuation. New Your: Quill, William Morrow andCo.Gummesson, E. (2002). Total Relationship Marketing. Butterworth-Heinemann.HESKETT, J. L., JONES, T. O., LOVEMAN, G. W., SASSER, E. J., & SCHLESINGER, L. A.(2008, July-August). Putting the Service-Profit Chain to Work. Harvard Business Review .Kottler, P., & Keller, K. L. (2009). Marketing Management (13th edition ed.). London, UK: PearsonINternational.Mudambi, S., Doyle, P., & Wong, V. (1997). An exploration of branding in industrial markets.Industrial Marketing Management , 433–47.Parasuraman, A., Zeithaml, V. A., & Berry, L. L. (1985, Fall). A Conceptual Model of ServiceQuality and Its Implications for Future Research. Journal of Marketing , pp. 41-50.Payne, C. M., Payne, A., & Ballantyne, D. (2002). Relationship marketing: creating shareholder value.Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.Rasiel, E. M. (1999). The McKinsey Way. Mc Graw Hill.Stern, C. W., & Stalk Jr., G. (1998). Perspectives on Strategy from The Boston Consulting Group. Wiley &Sons.Walker, O., Mullins, J., & Boyd, H. J. (2010). Marketing Strategy: A Decision Focused Approach (7edition ed.). McGraw-Hill/Irwin. 24
  25. 25. A COMMUNICATION & PR MODEL FOR INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS“..because the execution of an idea is always more important than the brilliance of the thought..” (Harvard Business Publishing – Morgan, Levitt & Maleck – INVEST model) 25