Global groups need to pay more attention to staff

I can understand why Charles Trevail of FutureBrand (Letters, DW 3 April) is championing the benefits of the global group – indeed, his words were the very reason why my business FHA Image Design joined FutureBrand in 2001.

The world, of course, has changed since then, many expectations were not delivered and now the concept of bigger is better is being challenged at every level.

Trevail refers to acquisitions as a growth strategy. Well, there is a big difference between buying loyalty and building your business through trusting, value-added relationships where internal culture is fostered and each person in the business feels they are actually contributing to the clients’ wellbeing and have a sense of ownership in the outcome.

Having been part of FutureBrand, I really think Trevail should be more concerned about what his clients and the market are wanting and less about what is good for his own business agenda.

The fact is the modus operandi of the global groups is based upon what they need to operate. They find it difficult to adjust to marketplace conditions or, more importantly, lead the way in redefining the future of consultancy practice.

Today, an increasingly savvy, informed, sophisticated and demanding marketplace is asking for new solutions. Size does not matter as long as you can develop meaningful relationships with your client and provide value.

I think Steve Lucker (Letters, DW 10 April) is right when he says that the big groups ‘have built their reputations on great work by key individuals.’ But it is ironic that many of these individuals are no longer in the big global groups and are now competitors.

Like Lucker, they are establishing new ways of working that have a more efficient, more satisfying and more accountable infrastructure. They appear able to adapt better in the marketplace of today.

Could it be that the big groups have failed to understand that business is about people and creating meaning – not just financial return for shareholders? Is it possible that the real issue is not about how big and resource rich or how small and flexible a consultancy is, or about undercutting on fees?

Isn’t it about delivering idea solutions of value for clients within a trusted business relationship that are and equitable, resulting in creative outcomes that matter? It is a challenging time and it’s about being marketplace sensitive and being able to navigate change.

Being in tune with change is something that I am sure Trevail would say is a cornerstone of the FutureBrand business, but is he whistling to the right music?

Richard Henderson

Victoria, Australia

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