I’ve written a couple of blogs recently about the Customer Experience (CX) tribe, and how they’ve managed to live in much the same part of the jungle as my own Brand Development tribe without any of us catching more than the occasional glimpse of each other through the undergrowth.
Now it turns out that there’s yet another tribe living in much the same area, and if anything they’re even more reclusive than the CX lot.
I met a very nice and intelligent chap yesterday who works for something which he describes as a culture change management consultancy – in other words, a bunch of people who go into companies, mostly financial, which need help achieving some sort of change which requires changes in people’s behaviour.
This is pretty much exactly the situation in my clients’ businesses when I’m there doing my brand thing. The brand thing, after all, is pretty much completely pointless if it doesn’t have some implications for people’s behaviour: going back to my key point in previous blogs about the experiential nature of most financial brands, it will be primarily through experiencing changes in employees’ behaviour that target groups’ brand perceptions will be changed.
Nevertheless, the fact is that the nice and intelligent chap I met yesterday reports that his people in his firm never deal with those responsible for brand in their clients’ businesses, and never form part of a team with external brand agencies. Indeed, in their basic “who we are and what we do” presentation, the word “brand” doesn’t appear.
All this, combined with my recent CX discoveries, has disturbed me more than somewhat. For a start, it’s got me worrying about how many other tribes may be milling about out there, occupying almost exactly the same corner of the consultancy jungle but somehow managing to remain invisible to all the rest of us.
But more fundamentally, it’s making me wonder how the hell we can imagine that we’re ever going to get anywhere with the whole brand thing when more than half our available firepower is pointing in entirely different and unco-ordinated directions. (And as I say, it may be much more than half, if there are still more undiscovered tribes out there. My suspicions have been aroused, for example, by sketchy reports of a digital bunch who specialise in User Interfaces, or UI for short: this is another area which I’m pretty sure is massively relevant to brand, and indeed vice versa, but very rarely makes the connection.)
I suppose that on a more upbeat note, this strange situation gives hope for the future. If we could actually bring all these separate but overlapping tribes together into one single co-ordinated uber-tribe, we might really start to get somewhere.
But until then, I’m afraid we have to live with the rather dismaying realisation that our own consulting industry is just as siloed – if not rather more so – than any of our clients’ businesses.