Does industry matter?

“I want someone with financial experience.”

“I want someone with heath care experience.”

“I want someone with technology experience.”

When companies are looking for a branding partner, some seek firms that specialize in one particular area. They look only at heath care marketing companies instead of branding firms. Or they seek financial brand consultants, instead of brand consultants. While this approach may feel safe and may even make sense for a small, quick project, this strategy can be limiting for larger assignments. Because what you really want in an external partner for overarching branding projects isn’t deep industry-specific knowledge, but rather extensive experience in solving the kinds of issues you face.

You know your industry. So you don’t need a consultancy to know every in and out of the financial world, for example—you can always advise them on a certain topic if necessary. But what you need is a consultancy that can solve your biggest challenges. These kinds of challenges—things like needing to reach new consumers and capture new markets, or drive top line growth, or the need to refresh your brand and better communicate what you stand for, or the need to get leaders on the same page and build a game plan for the future—require experienced problem solvers—issue-driven professionals with outstanding analytical skills who can also translate the rational into the emotional in order to connect high-level ideas with the people you’re trying to engage. You also want a firm that puts rigor into their research so you can make fact-based decisions with certainty.

If you need to reposition a financial brand, for instance, and only seek out firms that do financial work, you may be limiting the kind of thinking that comes from a broader, more experienced mindset. Or if you need a new competitive position to take your company to the next level and drive growth, you’ll want a firm that’s done that effectively for many companies, whether they have done so in your industry or not. Whatever the challenge, you’ll want a consultancy with a strong, time-tested methodology so you can be confident they can solve it in an effective and efficient way.

A challenge a health care firm may be having in operationalizing their brand at key touch-points could be similar to that facing a hospitality company, for instance. Big challenges don’t limit themselves to industry—and neither should you. Having a consultancy that has seen these challenges across a broader scope of industries means bigger thinking that translates into bigger results.

What also matters more than industry in hiring a consultancy is who is working on your project. You could hire a famous firm and find out that after the big pitch, only junior people have been assigned to your project. What you want to ensure is that a senior team will be working with you on a daily basis. You want experienced leaders who can guide executives. You want your consultancy’s success stories to help guide yours. And you want to their best practices to inform your thinking. They should also be good at working under pressure for quick deadlines and know how to use brand strategy to achieve measurable, quantifiable outcomes. If the consultants you are hiring share all of these qualities, they will produce better results—and the entire collaborative process will be more enjoyable too.

It’s not always easy to determine the right consultancy for you, but by looking for deep problem solving experience rather than industry, you’ll be on the right path to finding a relationship that will deliver enormous value and fuel the growth of your entire organization.

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