Professional services - are they getting the brand right?

Alison Capps

Inescapable to the marketing fraternity during the last 18 months has been the arrival of the concept of a brand within professional services, and it is very much in vogue. This is perhaps unsurprising. In a highly competitive and largely undifferentiated marketplace the idea of building strategic competitive advantage through branding has become attractive to an industry historically dismissive of the more 'intangible' marketing concepts. The issue, however, is how these brands are being developed and whether the industry is fully exploiting their potential.

A survey conducted among senior management from the UK's top 500 companies about their attitudes towards both management consultancy in general and the consultancy selection process, would suggest not.

Instead, its findings indicate large gaps in the industry's current brand-building strategies. In particular, they point to a lack of appreciation of one of the true differentiators in building any brand the potential of its intangible, non-product-related, characteristics.