In a recent Forbes article, Russ Alan Prince details how competitive pressures among management consultants has made thought leadership an effective way to secure new clients.

And Braden Kelly explained in a recent article how these competitive pressures are as a result of an abundance of information online.  This abundant online information has created a buyers market for management consulting services. Buyers of management consulting services, he writes, are now seeking out thought leadership to inform their buying decisions.

Russ Allen Prince highlighted how McKinsey & Co pioneered industry thought leadership with McKinsey Quartely, a highly successful journal “replete with descriptions of the firm’s successes”.  The Management Consultancies Association (MCA), the representative body for management consultancy firms in the UK, showcased other leading examples of leading industry thought leadership from firms including PwC, KPMG and Deloitte — at their 2016 MCA Awards.

Challenges to thought leadership development

Braden Kelly detailed how “consulting firms are struggling to identify and provide the content necessary to help them maintain (and possibly extend) their success in this new [competitive] environment.”

Firms are struggling, according to Kelly, because they “tend to under-invest in thought leadership and as a consequence…find themselves vulnerable to new entrants.”

Thought leadership is often not the primary focus inside some consultancies.  Firm partners, focused first on new revenue generation — have limited time for thought leadership, particularly novel initiatives that support “expansionary growth” Kelly explained.  This lack of focus can keep firms treading water or losing ground on new business generation via a sustained thought leadership campaign.

Another challenge to thought leadership development is the importance of social media visibility — in addition to excellent thought leadership content creation.

Looking forward

Well-developed thought leadership can support successful new business generation efforts by management consulting firms, according to Kelly.  But these efforts require a commitment of time and resources to realize their full potential.  

Posted by John Grimley

John Grimley specializes in custom-tailored communications services for companies and professional services firms operating in international markets.

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