We have all been there – the classic project scenario- fantastic visions, excitement, creativity, great expectations before the seemingly inevitable disillusion and pain of cost realities, politics and reactionary forces frustrating any attempt at changing the world. With experience you try to manage expectations and introduce realistic thinking to anticipate possible road blocks but how often have you heard ‘we want blue sky thinking’ but you know they really need you to keep your feet firmly on the ground.
Trading issues – image and appearance must always be balanced with operational cost and performance criteria but selling dreams and cost benefit analysis rarely happens in the same room with the right people.
People talk about innovation and creativity but this means change and this is not a comfortable concept for vested interests who feel threatened by new challenges and practices. It is unfortunate but perhaps inevitable that companies still often treat costs for individual exercises in isolation rather than reviewing in a company context the real costs to the company rather than an individual department budget.
A typical brand development initiative should involve people, selling channels, processes, technology and communications but how often is it measured and truly assessed as a cross departmental company initiative?
Marketing and real estate can be costed conventionally in anything that can be measured in terms of quality, time and finance criteria, but placing a value on happy staff/ happy customers is not such a direct and obvious measure but potentially the biggest cost benefit whether measured in minimal staff churn or growing customer loyalty and spend.
A new concept may need less staff but an investment in training – who calculates the costs/savings short and long term? Protectionism is a natural human trait and we all know figures can be manipulated with the appropriate ‘spin’ to say virtually anything. People inside the organisation need to constantly review strategies for change in a company-wide context to identify and achieve real value. The value of objective external advice and resource is part of that matrix- outsource or do it yourself – another balancing act !