Fighting the wrong battle as big can be creative too

Piers Schmidt is right about the Rule of Five (DW 8 November), but he has picked the wrong enemy. The lion, rhino, buffalo, elephant and leopard of the business world are the accountants, management consultants, lawyers, IT people and bankers, not the

Piers Schmidt is right about the Rule of Five (DW 8 November), but he has picked the wrong enemy.

The lion, rhino, buffalo, elephant and leopard of the business world are the accountants, management consultants, lawyers, IT people and bankers, not the design Big Five. They are powerful in the boardroom and persuade chief executive officers of companies to spend money with them, not us. The design Big Five are not ‘bureaucratic corporations’.

Unlike many established industries, the design industry Big Five have changed the landscape of our industry over the past few years. They are beginning to challenge other advisors in the boardroom and ensure that branding and design have a powerful voice.

Some of the Big Five have developed new ideas and processes, such as a more strategic approach to brand positioning, brand valuation, brand management, and ‘brand to life’ consulting.

Schmidt may be surprised to know that it is these new types of brand consulting that clients are buying and hence confirming the hegemony of the Big Five. It is, in fact, the Big Five who are trying to reinvent the design industry.

It’s time to accept the responsibility our industry deserves – find our place in the boardroom, demonstrate the commercial value of our work; spend money on training our people; take the management of our consultancies seriously; and invest in innovative new products and processes.

If Schmidt checked, this is what the Big Five companies do in every industry, including ours. What’s the alternative? A cottage industry? A creative collective?

Perhaps someone of Schmidt’s undoubted talents should come to work in one of the Big Five, rather than try to begin an introverted industry debate.

Charles Trevail

Chief executive, Europe, Middle East & Africa

FutureBrand

London EC1V

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