on November 13, 2001
As an experienced consultant who specializes in marketing and developing brands for clients (companies and independent consultants), as well as an author of marketing books, I was very pleased with Alan's book. He covers all the bases that anyone who wants to market themselves and build a consulting brand should cover. His points about establishing separate brands or positionings for each area you work in is an excellent one. Too many consultants think that they have only one brand and this book convinces you that you can have several. Alan also talks about his marketing gravity concept, which every consultant should employ. Everyone who consults should read this book as well as the entire series he is creating. If you are successful as a consultant, or want to be successful, or want to continue to be successful, follow Alan's advice. You'll be glad you did.
on February 24, 2002
More fantastic consulting practice advice from Alan Weiss.
Eight months into building my leadership influence consulting practice, Mr Weiss has given me the gift of branding. He has shown me how to build the "gravity" to draw prospects to me, how to get more specific about the value I offer to clients, and what actions I need to take now to build the brand that will build my business.
I have seen some of these elements before, but this book wraps it all up in a neat template for action, and it has got me moving. I keep this book on my desk, not my shelf.
on November 26, 2001
Once again Alan Weiss topples typical thinking and challenges readers with critical thinking. The most powerful concept in the book is the power of branding leverage. A majority of consultants busy themselves with input methods that allow them to feel productive, but the output of their practice does not match. Alan shows how to rake in business through branding, plus how to keep it flowing with minimal effort and maximum return. For those who may feel overwhelmed by all the options, he includes a quick start guide that shortcuts the "Where do I start?" trap. Following these principles will put value in the lives of your clients, secure your reputation in a field without regulation, and provide multiple streams for turning your expertise into wealth.
on February 19, 2004
This terrific book covers ground I haven't seen elsewhere in the consulting field, including: umbrella brands, brand equity, establishing your name as the brand, tying-in products, using the media, and a great deal more. There is one reviewer who has posted the identical, negative review in all of Dr. Weiss's books: they are "repeats" of his classic "Million Dollar Consulting." There is no way this lengthy explanation of branding receives more than cursory mention in "Million Dollar Consulting," as good as that book may be. I doubt the negative review is based on actual reading of the book. For consultants who are rushing from "fire to fire," this is a great resource to slow us down and tackle the longer-term marketing which will result in business pursuing us rather than the other way around. There is nothing revolutionary here, just solid, pragmatic advice to use tomorrow.
As a full-time practicing consultant to FDA-regulated industries for the past 5+ years, I enjoy and benefit from all of Weiss' books. 'Tho much of the information is repeated, it still serves to motivate. And, if each reading causes me to initiate only one more new (to me) technique, it is money and time well spent. Consulting tends to be a somewhat lonely profession, and part of my support group are books such as this. If you agree w/ such benefits, then I recommend this (and his others) heartily.
This book was written for independent consultants and small consulting practices, and Alan Weiss effectively focuses on the core subject of branding. While the content that the author provides is written for those new to branding, Weiss also mentions that his discussion is targeted at successful consulting entities, although in the opinion of this reviewer the material can also be applied by those who have relatively less experience and who wish to start positioning themselves. In the introduction to this work, the author mentions that he did not write for those consultants who position themselves in a way which does not explain what is in it for potential clients, but for successful professionals who understand that "acquiring business is about convincing the prospect that a partnership will improve the latter's condition by a huge multiple of whatever investment is required" and "want others to seek them out because they have created a great interest in who they are and what they do". This book slowly walks through the reasons why consultants need brands to thrive, why experienced consultants already have the makings of a brand at hand, how to use brands to attract buyers, the branding power behind writing a book and hitting the lecture circuit, myths of branding, publicizing brands and creating products to boost brands, and other related branding topics. The introductory chapters are written especially well. For example, the explanation provided on "positioning a brand so that the brand positions you" depicts a Venn diagram that shows very clearly how the three converging paths to establish brands (market need, competency, and passion) are "as much about passion as customer's needs. But both are needed. Too many consultants have a beloved methodology that has one drawback: No one else is interested in it". Weiss also shares some of the same insights that McKenna provides in "The World's Newest Profession: Management Consulting in the Twentieth Century" (see my review for that book). For example, the author notes that "this is not a profession that carries a great deal of endemic respect, and it's made worse by the fact that it's totally unregulated. Hence, good consultants need to separate themselves from those between jobs, those who are just dabbling, moonlighting college professors, and the generally inept" and shares his rule of thumb that "about 50 percent of the people claiming to be consultants actually do not know what they're doing and have no methodology or even operating philosophy". Some of the thoughts which Weiss shares are reminiscent of Gerald M. Weinberg's "The Secrets of Consulting" (see my review for that book, also written by a consultant's consultant), always practical though void of some of the humor in that other work, such as: "You have to wield the branding iron. You can't wait for the world to brand you. It's too slow, too erratic, and always quite painful" and "Branding must be built on repetitive and distinctive abilities and accomplishments that can be replicated. If you can't duplicate it, or it isn't sufficiently distinguishing, it's an isolated incident and not a brand, no matter how successful at the time". The chapter on writing a book, "How to Write a Book, Even if You've Never Written Your Mother" is a book in itself, concisely written and packed with insightful advice from the author's own experiences in writing, including a simple step-by-step approach to effectively writing and publishing a business book. Another especially well received chapter by this reviewer is "The Twelve Myths of 21st Century Branding" that explores the following myths: "a tight intellectual argument is sufficient", "you must analyze the environment for need", "clever catch phrases and adages are sufficient", "brands are developed over a long period of time", "brands must be honed for specific, defined targets", "advertising is the be all and end all in branding", "you can only brand a tangible product", "brands require active, aggressive management", "brands need to be specific and focused", "brands must continually grow toward universal recognition", "the brand is external to the customer", and "brands in and of themselves have little value without substance". In the concluding pages of the book, Weiss notes that "one of the dangers in these intense examinations of specific techniques is that, conceptually, the entire scheme makes sense and, tactically, nothing happens!" The solution that the author provides is improving one percent per day. "The problem, of course, is that most people (and most organizations) don't even manage that modest improvement. Or, worse, they await the ephiphany, where everything is supposed to change overnight. But the truth is that we don't normally advance through the invention of fax machines or breakthroughs in new methods to exploit the Internet. We advance by accretion, a little bit at a time, but steadily, every single day. The great organizations are the beneficiaries of tens of thousands of employees trying to work a little smarter and a little better every day, and the poor ones merely house legions of people who can't wait to go home at five".