Consulting the consultants

Life is never what one would describe as pedestrian at Propaganda. In my nearly nine years here, I can honestly say I’ve never had two days the same…this week has been no exception (and it’s only Wednesday). Monday involved taking the ‘role’ of a QVC presenter to support a client that’s launching with them next month; maybe more of that another time but I could certainly see a second career opening up for me in front of the camera (not sure the rest of the team would agree).

Today has involved travelling to London to attend the bi-monthly management meeting of the MCA. The Management Consultancies Association membership represents over 70% of the management consultancy sector and Propaganda has been a member since 2003, sitting alongside industry luminaries such as Accenture, IBM and PWC. We’re still the only brand and marketing strategy firm to be accepted as members, and we’ve successfully won awards every year since we started entering the MCA Annual Management Awards. We’re particularly proud of these awards since they are so rigorously judged on the results we have worked with clients to realise for their businesses.

Over the last 2 years in particular, Propaganda has become more involved with the MCA, its brand and the future strategy of the organisation. At the start of last year, we conducted a Discovery programme for them that resulted in the articulation of the new brand proposition, ‘a positive force for the economy’ and the supporting brand rollout amongst members, client firms and broader stakeholder groups. I also joined the GP of the MCA (MCA speak for management group) at the start of last year and now work with a group of representatives from other member firms to guide the strategy of the organisation, its policy of engagement with the private and public sectors and its profile and reputation.

The debates at GP are no less varied and colourful than those around any Boardroom table. After all, put 12 management consultants in a room and there’s bound to be a load of opinions, perspectives and challenges. However, the outcomes always bring us back as a team to the central role of management consultants in whatever discipline or sector we work in. In essence, management consultancy, and for Propaganda, brand consultancy, is about bringing independent expertise and perspectives, giving clients insights into their businesses, challenges and opportunities, giving direction and guidance for the future and supporting implementation to ensure it’s effective. It’s about adding value where clients do not have the in-house expertise , knowledge or capacity. And, it’s about doing the right thing, however varied or challenging that might be.

So, as I left the Trafalgar Square offices this lunchtime I reflected on my ‘tenure’ as a QVC presenter on Monday. With hindsight, probably not a new career path (unless TV needs another presenter sounding like Lorraine Kelly) and I’m not sure my colleagues around the MCA GP table would have ever done anything similar with their clients in the Home Office or a leading utility company. But for us, supporting clients to launch and successfully develop a new brand in a highly competitive sector via a very demanding channel is about the way in which Propaganda adds value and helps clients transform and grow. For me, that’s what management consultancy is all about.

Posted by Kirsty Cowan.