Brand equity and perceived quality of services are mismatched in management consulting

Researching and discussing management consulting with countless executives have resulted in many puzzling requests, but one that stands out from the rest of the concerns for leaders are around the malfunctioned project outcomes. Executives expect stellar results and fast turn-around when paying the premium for consulting projects, so what causes the disconnect? To rationalize the transaction, we will lean on the current favorite consumer product, toilet paper, to draw some analogies and help simplify the misunderstanding.

When we commit ourselves to buying toilet paper from a single retailer, we have shifted the power to the retailer to meet our toilet paper needs. To add to that mix, if we have signed a certain amount to be spent on toilet paper for the next five years, the power shift is strengthened. While the retailer wants to give you the best toilet paper available, what is available to you becomes relative to who the other customers are and their commitment. The retailer wants to provide you with Charmin, the best toilet paper of 2020, according to Business Insider, but the other brands of toilet paper also have to be sold. Who is left with the single-ply toilet paper?

This analogy can be carried over to consulting projects. All consulting firms aim to give their clients the best experienced teams to solve the most complex problems. However, it quickly becomes relative to other clients. The bigger the client and the larger the commitment, the consulting firm has incentive to commit their A-team. A fairly new client that is smaller often is left with a less than optimal team.

Throughout time executives have equated brand with quality for management consulting, but the malfunction has increasingly surfaced for various reasons. One of the key components to this faulty outcome has been a key variable to projects – team members. Team members at all levels from partners to staff contribute at varying degrees, and understanding the team experience becomes an apparent component for project success. Always hire the A-team, and it is relative when comparing bids. Teams make up the "product" and knowledge you are purchasing and unfortunately, brand equity can be disconnected with perceived quality in the case of management consulting services. Always aim to hire the best team, regardless - to a certain extent - of which firm it is sourced out to ensure price and quality is optimal for your need.

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MECE Inc. is a platform connecting corporate clients with consulting firms. We work with consulting firms of all sizes to understand their expertise and niche to position for top-of-mind when it meets the client's need. We utilize data-driven approach to provide clients with consulting firms that best meet their need and pair with simplified proprietary RFP process to easily find the team and firm that is best positioned for each need. For more information, contact us at marketing@meceinc.com

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