OK, none of us are experts at brand building. But we’ve nevertheless ended up with a strong brand within our business, so here are some thoughts on how that happened.
As a consulting company, building a strong brand requires two things:
- Delight your clients
- Be visible
Both are needed. If we only delight our clients, but aren’t visible to the world, then the brand won’t get strong (except to those few that already know about us). If we are highly visible but not delighting our clients, then the brand won’t get strong either. Well, OK, there are companies that can pull off that trick, but it’s not our style…
How we delight our clients
We kind of cheat here, because our model only attracts the type of consultants that were already pretty good at delighting their clients - with or without Crisp. In fact, that’s a requirement (see recruiting)! We don’t have an army of sales people chasing down clients for you, and you don’t get any kind of base salary if you don’t have a client, so it really is in your own interest to delight your clients!
Also, our model attracts the kind of people that like to learn things and spread knowledge. And clients appreciate that.
How we make ourselves visible
Visibility happens as a result of two things:
- Provide plenty of ways for Crispers to communicate with the world (web site, blog, course venue, etc)
- Make sure nothing gets in their way, so they can shine
Again, because our model attracts the kind of people that like to learn and spread knowledge, all we have to do is make sure nothing gets in the way. That way, a bunch of cool stuff happens automatically, such as:
- Blog articles
- YouTube channel
- Public courses and evening seminars
- Talks and keynotes at public conferences
- Partnerships with well-known people like Jeff Sutherland, Mary Poppendieck, Jeff Patton, and many more.
- Physical products such as Planning Poker and Jimmy Cards
- Open Source Software
- … and, of course this dna.crisp.se site!
It’s all about co-branding
As consultants we are very proud to be at Crisp, and very proud of our colleagues, which is why we list everyone on our consultants page. From there you can browse to individual pages where each person presents themselves in any way they wish. You’ll even find email addresses and phone numbers. Go ahead and call any of us, have a chat, offer us employment if you dare, and prepare to fail :o). Many have tried, some of us Crispers have been severely tempted, but with a select few exceptions we all stay. Our staff turnover is virtually zero.
Many companies hide their individual employees (especially individual contact info) because they’re afraid employees might be called by recruiters and leave for greener pastures. We do the opposite - we encourage each person expose themselves as much as they like. The idea is that people should stay at Crisp because they want to, not because the headhunters haven’t found them.
We believe consulting doesn’t have to be a market for lemons and our philosophy is to be as transparent as possible. You will never be assigned an anonymous consultant from Crisp - it will always be Lars or Anna, individuals. Our CVs all look different, which may seem unprofessional, but we will always be individuals under the same umbrella.
So the Crisp brand is a whole that is greater than the sum of it’s parts - a bunch of creative individuals sharing stuff with the world, and indirectly building up their personal brands.
Definitely a win-win-win situation! Win for the individual, Win for Crisp, and Win for the world (because of all the free stuff :o)