Saturday, December 5, 2009

Clients and consultants both bring skills to the table

Image by badlogik via Flickr
As a consultant, I get to work with a wide range of clients. My sweet spot is in transitional periods with an emphasis on making the transition to digital. Last year, I had the pleasure of working with a C-suite executive transitioning from a 30+ years at a single company to launching his own business initiative.

Like many fledgling businesses, this new venture suffered from perception problems. In this case, those deeply involved in the industry -- his potential client base -- didn't recognize the change his venture offered. His was not a case of solving a symptom rather than a problem. In his case, consumers were clamoring for the change but the industry was slow, if not flat out reluctant, to respond.

Together, we collaborated on a communication plan to get those reluctant C-suite executives in the space exposed to the change. The communications would also serve as ammunition for more progressive executives in the space pushing for similar change. I'll admit it was a challenge for me to come down from the bleeding edge and understanding how his peers both consumed and shared information.

Blend your smarts with your clients' smarts.

While I had spent over a decade in the same industry and was incredibly close to the change he was counting on for his new business, his knowledge of the inner-workings the C-suite was invaluable to the success of the initiative. This was an audience for whom the height of communication was checking -- though probably not sending -- email on their company-supplied Blackberry. So you can imagine I didn't lead with an effort to gain a top placement on Digg.

And it's working. The success of our rather complex plan and his overall business model hinged on getting meaningful exposure. He's now a contributing author for the industry's top publication. His words are now directly communicated to his peer group, whether they read the magazine offline (and you can't walk into any of these people's office without seeing the most current issue) or online. Not with ads. Not with stories of doom and gloom if they don't adapt. But with logical, well-thought and reasoned discussions on the changing nature what consumers have come to expect and how the industry can make subtle shifts to give them what they want.

If you care about how the internet is changing the tire industry, Mike has that and other articles posted in the last few months on Modern Tire Dealer.

Now... how can I help you?

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