Branding is in a coma

Consultants and other service providers have done a lousy job of branding themselves, or fixing what their firms represent, in their clients' minds. In fact, the concept of branding for consultants is in a virtual coma. As Ellen Lewis of the Financial Times put it, "If the professional services sector sold its wares on a supermarket shelf, the aisles would be stacked with white logos on dark backgrounds carrying the same buzzwords—excellence, teamwork, and unique culture. It is hard to think of an industry whose members or products would be more difficult to tell apart."8

According to an old saying, "You can't get fired for hiring IBM." Well, those days are long gone. Today, clients make the best choices, not the best-known choices. The name on your business card may get you in the door, but today's clients are seeking talent, not firm names. The competition for new work is not between firms, but between people and their ideas. Your marketing must convey more than buzzwords; it must tell the full story of the talents and potential benefits you can offer clients.

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