Q&A:
Things
people want
to know

Ask away

Q1. So what do you do?

A: We help companies think their way out of trouble in three ways: 

  • Thinking - we identify why you're not valued the way you want to be and work with you to change how your customers see you, and how you value yourselves. We get your strategy straight and your vision of who you need to become absolutely sorted. And we put it in writing so no-one forgets.
  • Talking - we offer a range of thought-breaking workshops and facilitated sessions to help you become more competitive and cohesive. We talk through the problems, identify opportunities and get to the bottom of what's been holding you back. You get insights.
  • Story-telling - we help you find powerful, new language to articulate your worth, then work with you to tell your new story, both internally and externally, to people you know and those who don't know you yet, through a full range of channels. We get you back out there in the market, competing like you mean it, by confidently and proudly proclaiming why you should be your customers' brand of choice. You get re-known.

 

 

Q2. We already have an ad agency and a design company. Why do we need you?

A: Good, because those people are specialists at what they do and it's very important you continue to use their services. We usually work alongside both, and PR firms as well, and to our mind, there's no conflict at all - and no duplication.

Our key job is to find you a place in the market where you can compete more effectively. We bridge the gaps between where you are now and where you're going as a business and positioned as a brand. And we get your people onside with what needs to change to make you more of a competitive force to be reckoned with.

A whole bunch of communications consultants say they do that, or parts of it. But the reason why we get called in is we're independent, and we deal with more than just the communications. We're not doing the strategy to get the design work or the ad work or the media placement. We're out to make you more competitive. Once you know what and where you need to be in order to be more valued, there is certainly plenty of work for your other consultants to do to communicate that.

 

 

Q3. When you say you'll change the way we are valued, how far does that extend?

A: Audacity can help change the way you are valued in three key areas.

  1. As a brand in the marketplace. We can help you reposition your products and services so they are more competitive and compelling to the people you most want to reach – so that’s about perception, pricing. loyalty, experience, competitive positioning … and pitching successfully for the business you want. The key success factors here are preference and profitability. We're looking to change not just the basis on which you compete (and therefore potentially who you are really competing against) but also to reshape how you communicate and the experiences people can, and should have, when they interact with you. 
  2. As a people brand. We can help you find and keep the people you want. The key competitive factors here are stimulation, prospects and support. Whether you’re encouraging your current workforce to help you reshape your organization, or participating in the much-vaunted war for talent, we can help you attract, retain and motivate the people who are, and will be, critical to your success. That’s about positioning who you are, what you offer and where you’re going in ways that people absolutely connect with, both before they join you and once they are part of your culture. Reasons to move to you. Reasons to stay. Reasons to contribute. Reasons to believe in what management is looking to achieve and the journey that you are all taking together. We do this through employer branding programmes and internal initiatives that get people talking, sharing and responding to challenges.
  3. As a social brand. We can help you position yourselves as socially responsible. In an age of increasingly politicised consumers, your commitments to the environment and to the community are increasingly important in terms of how you are judged.  We help you look for differentiating opportunities that position you competitively and sustainably in your sector. That’s about connecting the business you’re in with the commitments you’re making to the environment and to the community. We can also help you disclose your actions, current and intended, in writing, in ways that people understand, value and believe.

Q4. There's no case studies on your site. Why not?

A: Not everyone wants to admit publicly that they felt vulnerable, or to highlight that they're changing place. A lot of our work happens below the radar or indirectly through third parties. We’re fine with that.

Q5. How can anyone be strategic and creative? Surely that's a contradiction?

A: It’s not a contradiction at all if you believe like we do that strategy is about countering a current situation through lateral thinking. For us, the key to resolving a dilemma is breaking the thinking that got you into the situation you are in right now, and from which you see no escape. Redefining what’s in front of you must be a creative process. Otherwise, you are not reshaping, merely rearranging.

Q6. What's your view on brand valuations?

A:  There’s no doubt that effective brands add value and that if you’re a company that’s looking to reposition, the strength of your brand can be a major advantage or a hindrance depending on your history. We’re not huge fans of bloated brand valuation processes however that see millions being added to the balance sheet on the grounds of “brand strength” because: a) those valuations are, despite all the salad dressing, amazing subjective and, as we’re seeing in these more challenging times, highly volatile; and b) they lull companies into believing that their brand is money in the bank that they can use to reprice the worth of their companies. See a) for why it’s not that simple. Our view is that if you have a powerful brand, then chances are you are doing your business well. It’s a performance barometer, not a financial instrument.

Q7. Do you only want to work with companies that are in crisis?

A: No, we work with companies that do not feel they are as valued as they would like to be. There can be a whole range of reasons for that. They could be start-ups, for example. Or they could be doing well, but lack the profile they need to attract the business they’re interested in. Or they could find that they’ve been overlooked for a piece of work that they believe they were highly qualified to do. Crisis is a motivation, sure, but one of several.

Q8. What's your criteria for undertaking a project?

A: It has to be challenging, it has to have a revaluing component, it needs to be exciting and fun, and it has to be morally acceptable. That’s the project itself. And the people we work with need to be strong, up for some robust discussion, open to the opportunities and committed to achieving their goals not just re-arranging the deckchairs.

Q9. Why do you talk about the fact that history always repeats?

A: A lot of companies talk about change – or transformation, to use today’s buzzword – but in point of fact they’re still working with the same assumptions and approaches that they have used for years. History repeats because if an uncompetitive attitude or approach is engrained in your company’s collective mindset, then it will continue to jeopardise the way you perform. If you find yourself in the position where you are undervalued, under threat or overlooked, more of the same is not the recipe for success. In fact, how you’ve acted and thought – your history – has got you to where you are. You need to break with your history. Until you do, it will continue to affect you.

Q10. Is a company's reputation an asset or is it something else?

A: Our view is that if you have a powerful brand, and a strong reputation as a brand, then chances are you are doing your business well. It’s a performance barometer. We believe your  brand is what you promise the market, value is what you generate, and reputation reveals what people think of your ability to deliver.

Q11. Can any company be too good at what it does?

A: A company can definitely be too good at what it thinks it should be doing. It’s a risk we call redundant excellence. We can all think of companies that continued to refine and improve products that, on reflection, more and more people didn’t want.

The best companies of course walk the fine line between focusing on what they are best at, and continually updating their thinking and approach to ensure they are delivering customers more than what they expected.