That person is your Independent Advisor or, most commonly referred to as:
Maybe you thought I'd say the 'head of strategy' or 'creative director' or the 'copywriter'. And yes, these individuals are extremely valuable and necessary as they are the collective brains behind the entire operation. However, they cannot ever bring the unique perspective a consultant can bring.
Here's a very simple way of seeing this to be true:
If you and a colleague/friend/family member get into a strife. Call it personal or call it professional, you might have responded in one of these four, most common, ways:
- You stop interacting with one another.
- One of you makes the first move and asks to talk. By the end of this talk, there was either...
A compromise (or not)
An agreement to 'agree to disagree' (or not)
An admittance of wrongdoing from one or both parties (or not)
This will lead to you both continuing your relationship (or not).
- You ask for advice from someone you know that knows everything that has happened from your perspective, only, to chime in.
- You ask for advice from someone that is unbiased and wouldn't pick sides; only letting you know exactly what is wrong and what needs to be fixed or changed.
If you picked 'way #4'...
You are very wise, understand that growth is a part of life, and you value all your relationships.
If you picked 'way #2,' I can understand and also relate. I've chosen this way plenty of times. But I'll confess that there are too many nuances present to make this the preferred way of conflict resolution, every single time. Why? Because of the 50/50 chances of it going well or going south, leading to the loss of a relationship or a conflict unresolved. I simply wouldn't take the chance (depending on the conflict, of course). In a personal situation, I'd gain insight from an outsider (someone able to be unbiased) to help me see my faults and open my eyes to things I failed to /see/realize/notice. Only then, can a healthy 'way #2' have the best chances of ending on a positive and respectful note.
Similarly in business, as you are implementing your company's communications strategies...
Someone who is external but at the same time, an extension of your internal team (someone you can rely on, trust, and has your best interest as their top priority), will bring an outside-looking-in perspective that is pivotal in steering your brand communications and content creation in the direction that fits your brand and the audience that is listening. An internal team – the "head of strategy," the "creative director," the "copywriter," and everyone else that is part of the internal team that builds the brand – will never be able to offer this perspective.
And maybe you're one of the many companies that spend an exuberant amount of money hiring advertising agencies and public relations agencies to execute creative work and/or provide communications strategy...
If this is you: Have you ever stopped to think about what motivates these agencies?
Yes, every single agency wants to help you win. But they also want to get recognized for their work. There are awards given out for best ads and for them, "award-winning" coming before their name is quite the incentive to building "award-winning" content. But an award-winning concept, doesn't always translate into an effective campaign that leads to 1) connection with the audience and 2) ongoing loyalty and sales.
This isn't, however, a post to bash Ad Agencies. We love what some of them have set out to do. It is a post, however, that suggest that an Ad Agency – with all it offers – isn't everything you need.
If you are a brand owner, c-level executive in the marketing department, or anything equivalent, answer this: How confident are you that your Ad Agency holds your company's best interest as their number one priority? And by interest, I mean: they truly prioritize leading your brand to make a true impact that helps you achieve your brand goals. If you're not 100% confident, you may need to consider hiring a Consultant to help you with that. Someone to review the proposed advertising campaigns from your agency and provide cultural feedback and recommendations on visuals, messaging and creative concepts to address your needs.
I'll end with this:
Having someone from the outside – a trusted advisor with experience in communications strategy and thorough research (cultures and consumers) – that can review important brand related deliverables before they are executed will add a valuable perspective that your team would not otherwise receive from the internal team and agencies that have been hired.
Projects by AG is a global brand and communications strategy consulting company that will assist with your messaging and provide a perspective you didn't know you needed. And she'll do so while making your business' success the priority, always.