I don’t really like ‘one-size-fits all solutions.’ Never have done. Maybe it’s due to my ‘let’s say’ diminutive stature – short in height, slim waist, broad shoulders and heavy thighs. Its proportions like these that have made finding jeans, that fit, incredibly difficult over the years and a need for a tailor after almost every purchase.
Whether its clothes or where I go on holiday; I have very particular needs and I like bespoke solutions. I need bespoke solutions. What’s more I don’t mind paying more for them. Anything less tends to just disappoint me.
Why I am I going into this?
Well recently, we’ve been working a lot on professional services, an awful lot. Some are client accounts, some are with our new venture, The Finance Gap, and in addition to that we’ve been researching other sectors such as the legal sector – who we’d like to work more with. During my research I’ve happened to stumble on some competitors offering integrated services with ‘ready-made-solution’ usually with some ingenious diagram to demonstrate the worthiness of their proccess. I am starting to get a Primark feeling here!
I’ve seen diagrams showing the marketing process, the sales process, business cycles, and social-media graphs. Now most of them look nice, look professional and they do give some structure, this is undeniable, but like my shirts before I’ve been to the tailor, they just don’t fit very well. And more importantly, they are more about getting clients in and out of the door quickly than truly addressing your particular needs.
That said, the problem I have is that these diagrams/illustrations are important, undeniably so, to show a client that you do have a process or some structure to the way you work. But some of the ones I have seen are slightly ignorant to the people that they’re suppose to be helping. It’s like saying we have answers to all of your problems before we’ve even listened to you. Like I said, it’s not that having a process is bad, it’s just that most of the ones I have seen are, a bit presumptuous and, if truth be told, a bit rubbish.
So onto mine…
Recently, with the launch of our Finance Gap (a specialist resource for companies in the finance sector), I’ve been thinking a lot about how to communicate our process. While obviously wanting to avoid one-size-fits-all- and ready-made-solutions we do need something to describe how we work, a methodology.
Now we truly don’t know whether social media is the answer for you, or an online marketing campaign or new networking groups? Why? Because we haven’t listened to your challenges yet.
I can safely say from the huge amount of research I’ve done, that most professional service companies are facing similar challenges in one way or another…
– Growing legislature requirements
– Greater commoditisation of the service
– Much tougher competition
– Poor client relations
– General mistrust of marketing/communications
I would never say Twitter was the answer, on a whim, or a funky new re-brand or telemarketing or even an app?
Bespoke problems, bespoke solutions.
Most of the time, you get what you pay for. However, I have created a process, and after much soul searching, I hope it helps to analyse the problem whilst being sufficiently flexible to meet our clients needs.
In essence, most clients in professional/finance services should be looking to…
1. Leverage existing clients and networks.
2. Analyse current business model and put a proper strategy in place to drive growth.
3. Get involved in new activities to drive new sales.
And that process is in no particular order. How we do each of the above, in what order they go and where to prioritise depends on the dialogue with the client and which areas to address first.
Activities are imperative for new sales. Analysis and strategy allows you to see what’s working and build on it. Making further sales to existing clients and asking for referrals from satisfied clients is just common sense.
I will say that it’s a never-ending cycle and one if used correctly can properly drive growth. I’ve deliberately left enough flexibility in it so, like my trousers, they can be tailored to fit.
With this in mind. I can’t end without a small plug for The Finance Gap. It’s been a bit of a journey putting a team together, but we have, and it’s a great one. Instead of having one company that claims to do everything we don’t. We have 4 exceptional individuals from companies that do one thing and do it well. We work together and lead the way in what we do. Jordan Fleming and Designate are leaders in their field for strategic marketing, what Robin Mehta, MD of Union Technology, doesn’t know about the digital landscape isn’t worth knowing and Mark Poulson is one of the UK’s leading writers and experts in Financial marketing, who also happens to have an exceptional technical knowledge of finance.
What to say about my own company, the loft?
Well, let’s just say we’re happy to put our company’s portfolio against anybody else’s to see just how strong our design work is. That is the core team; we also have exceptional partners in PR, printing, photography etc. But the beauty about what we do is that we provide a properly bespoke solution. We listen first, extensively so, analyse the best way to help and put together a strong team to help you drive growth in your business. We’re just like a good fitting suit, made to measure and appropriately personal to you.
Give me a bell if you’d like to find out more…
About the Author
Creative Director of the loft.
Benedetto runs the creative design consultancy, the loft. Based in the centre of Glasgow, the loft creates emotionally engaging brand identities.
Benedetto began his design career aged 9, sketching cars in the loft bedroom of his parents house. Even then he realised some eternal truths. Alfa Romeos are infinitely cooler than Ferraris and always have been. Time has only hardened this opinion. Since then, he has been on a journey taking him from his hometown in Kilmarnock to Coventry, studying car design aged 17, three separate spells in Italy followed where he interned, worked & freelanced for distinguished design companies – BeeStudio, Alfa Romeo, Honda Advanced design & Stile Bertone.
Setting up his own business was a natural step for somebody as independently minded as Benedetto. The loft was set up in 2008 and offers a comprehensive branding and communication service to its clients. The company combines a deeply analytical approach into the clients culture and commercial targets before engaging in creative design work to build emotive brands.