Q: If I ask for Andy’s help, WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?
A: Great question. Simple answer… clearer and more compelling messages in all your communications?
Q: When should a client company call on my services?
A: Companies rarely re-examine their value proposition once a brand, product or service is established. However, demand, markets and competition change over the years - and companies often respond opportunistically to the market - which means their original value propositions may no longer apply. It is quite common for a value proposition review to identify that a business is no longer offering value in the way it used to, or to find that there is confusion within the business about what exactly their value proposition is today. A quick test is to get five managers or directors to independently write down the value proposition as they see it and compare the answers. If less than three are clearly aligned, then there is a need for my services - especially as a clear and common understanding of value proposition is fundamental to ensuring brand engagement internally and externally.
Q: When might an agency benefit from my services?
A: If you always get a clear brief from the client and you always feel the client knows exactly what he should be saying to his customers and how to articulate it... then that’s brilliant! But, when they don’t, call me.
It is surprisingly common for companies or marketing teams to get so deep into the corporate forest that they can’t see the wood for the trees - or more importantly can’t see it from the customers point of view. On established accounts this can sometimes rub off onto creative teams who can also find it difficult to challenge established thinking.
Agencies often call on me when they are having a problem getting to the core of what the client needs to communicate, or their client has been unable to provide clear benefits, competitive advantages or differentiators. This can often indicate confused thinking at the client and they need some way to encourage the client to step back and look at their offer more objectively. It is easier to bring in fresh expertise from outside the agency’s normal team to make the client feel comfortable about doing this and to extrapolate a clear brief or identify the clear value proposition.
An agency might also need help if a creative team are failing to find a solution to a complex challenge (or even a pitch) and need some fresh objective insight to help guide the search for the creative message/solution.
Q: What’s the difference between you and a copywriter?
A: What I do is far more fundamental. It is helping to establish exactly what messages need to be communicated. Once you know that, copywriters can craft the messages to suit each individual piece of communication and apply different creative concepts and treatments. But the fundamental messages can only be understood when the value proposition has been established; and sometimes that needs to be drawn out or extrapolated from somewhere deep in the client’s brain - or the client might need help to develop a value proposition when there appears to be nothing unique or compelling about their offer. Once I have worked my magic, the copywriters job becomes much more straightforward.
Q: Where am I based / what area do I cover?
A: I am based in Hertfordshire and work mostly with clients and agencies in London and across the South, East and Midlands. However, I have also undertaken projects for clients and agencies in other parts of the UK and across Europe when appropriate.
Q: How do I work?
A: I am happy to quote for my involvement on any project and this will be based on the value I can bring to the project. I am also realistic about the needs, expectations and differences between different clients; so, I am happy, within reason, to adapt my working methodology to suit the project, client and/or agency situation.
I can work on one-off projects (which can include being called in to help facilitate or contribute a key meeting or workshop) or on long term involvement for brand development or management of sales and marketing messaging. However, my most common involvement is for Value Proposition reviews which can incorporate researching the market/competition, interviewing key client personnel, devising and running value proposition workshop/s, and crafting conclusions into agreed sales messaging toolsets - which can then be used to guide and benchmark ongoing communication activity and strategy.
I am happy to discuss how I can help on a project without obligation and obviously work in the strictest confidence at all times.
Q: What is my Value Proposition?
A: I help companies and their agencies to craft and deliver clear and compelling business messages that improve the effectiveness of their communication.
I do this by creating clear value propositions for businesses, brands, products, services, sales tools, marketing campaigns and employee communications
My evidence to support this claim is in my experience and understanding of…
• value propositions (with proven facilitated processes to identify, define and articulate them)
• communication (with a track record of crafting and delivering effective messages that engage recipients and elicit the required response)
• marketing and branding (with 30 years widespread experience, client side and in agencies, and the portfolio and grey hair to prove it).
Q: What size/type of companies and agencies do I work for?
A: Any type of company - from SMEs to corporates, B2B and B2C, in any markets. Most of the agencies I work for tend to be medium sized (traditional and digital) who are strong creatively but happy to form long term partnerships that can expand their offer in terms of strategic and marketing expertise.
NB. I find that, most of the time, it is Company Directors and Business Owners who seem to value objectivity and who are more likely to feel stimulated, rather than threatened, by challenges to established thinking.