Marketing and business communications
Clear and consistent communication to power success - in sales, marketing, recruiting and client services
Social impact consultancy
The CEO of a social impact consultancy wanted help to emulate McKinsey's PowerPoint charts and presentation style. She wanted her company’s presentations to have the same clarity and impact. The consultancy had plans to scale up a service line, so the timing was right to focus on upgrading client deliverables and codifying processes. The project was scoped in two phases:
Phase 1 Approach
• Kicked off with an assessment of existing reports. Found that their reports lacked structure and a storyline to guide the audience through the thinking. (A typical challenge with PowerPoint is that writers invested time in individual pages rather than focusing on the high-level messages.)
• Recommended a writing framework and rewrote sample reports to reflect best-practice writing strategy, structure, style and page layout and design.
Phase 2 Approach
• Worked closely with the CEO to define and document the service delivery process, including activities and deliverables for each phase
• Built a practitioner toolkit with guidelines, examples and templates to support faster, consistently high-quality service delivery and report writing
• Steered the creation of a branded PPT template for client reporting
The Service Delivery Toolkit, with guidelines, best-practice examples and templates, enabled the client to rapidly onboard new staff and expand service delivery while ensuring consistent and efficient execution
The CEO of a boutique consultancy experienced frustration when she didn’t win a contract after spending hours preparing the proposal. She wanted to strengthen the company’s position for future bids by creating a library of ready-made pages so they could tailor their value proposition efficiently and effectively for RFPs and pitch proposals.
• Defined the library purpose, structure and content categories, e.g., Who we are, What we do, How we work, What makes us distinctive, along with client data, case studies and testimonials
• Gathered the best and latest pages used in past proposals and presentations to populate the library. Created new pages to fill any gaps.
• Created sample page layouts and content combination to reduce design decisions and time to produce pages
• Clarified and refined the company value proposition and wrote boilerplate copy to cut and paste
• Created example proposals and presentations to illustrate ways to tailor documents to address specific proposal requirements and restrictions, e.g., page limits
• Developed a simple excel client project database for consultants to add their project details and make it fast and easy to update data points in proposals.
The credentials and proposal library creates a centralized repository of data and ready-made pages frequently required for bids, proposals and presentations. The library speeds up the proposal development process, improves quality and ensures target messaging.
Analytics services company
A CTO of an analytics services company focused on using technology to scale their services. To achieve his mission, he needed to hire the best engineers. The company was known as a services company, and they needed to strengthen their ability to recruit top engineers by communicating more about the technology team and the work they did. They also wanted a mission statement to help the engineering team clarify its place in the rapidly evolving organization culture.
• Interviewed senior stakeholders to understand the vision and strategy
• Benchmarked competitor messaging
• Reviewed existing product collateral
• Collaborated with product managers to develop product descriptions
Created a message foundation for the product engineering group. The mission statement was mainly clarification of the company strategy. The mission and messaging framework helped the engineering team articulate why they existed and equipped them to talk about their tools and products and link the benefits back to the overall mission.
The Recruiting Director needed help to create a recruiting website for a relatively new, high-profile analytics unit. He had ambitious targets to hire data scientists and data engineers, knowing his group was competing with big tech to recruit top talent. The messaging for analytics had to align with the company's overarching recruitment value proposition, while also clearly signalling why candidates should choose them over big tech.
· Interviewed senior recruiting stakeholders to identify the messages that resonate with candidates
· Defined the positioning statement. "Variety guaranteed. Innovation expected. Impact delivered," aligned with leadership
· Defined content elements, wrote copy, validated the content with subject experts and stakeholders
· For the website look and feel gathered ideas from the recruiting team and sense-checked 'what it takes' to deliver each idea to help the team prioritize
· Prioritized video content, e.g., video interviews with practitioners talking about their experience to show rather than tell what it was like to work there
· Worked with internal design and a technical team to design and build the website
The careers website aims to be a trusted source of information about the company culture and work experience. Video interviews and peer stories show candidates what it's like to work for the company. The first message "Variety guaranteed. Innovation expected. Impact delivered" is both distinctive and authentic as it draws on interviews with existing employees. It's a promise that candidates will hear from many sources throughout the recruiting process.
"Uncommon Communication produces very reliable, excellent deliverables."
Uncommon Communication provided marketing communications services. This involved refining the messaging and structure of a pitch deck and service proposals.
"Uncommon Communication produces very reliable, excellent deliverables."
Nov 6, 2019
Internal stakeholders won 12 projects using a renewed methodology for a service offering. Beyond core deliverables, the solution helps clients better align on strategy. Throughout the timeline, the vendor was responsive and accommodating. Her strategic, critical thinking skills were a highlight.
A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.
Introduce your business and what you do there.
Pro Consulting is a social impact consultancy. We specialize in cross-sector partnerships and B Corp services.
We help multinational organizations set up partnerships with nonprofits and the government to develop and deliver a product, program, or service for an underserved community or demographic.
We also help organizations become B Corp (Benefit Corporation) certified. It’s an independent third-party verification that an organization meets social and environmental standards. We have offices in Sydney, Singapore, and Luxembourg and a bench of about 30 consultants.
What challenge were you trying to address with Uncommon Communication?
We wanted to refine the work we were doing around how we introduce ourselves as an organization. We wanted to better communicate the impacts we’ve achieved, who we are as an entity, and who we are as a consultancy.
What was the scope of their involvement?
There were three different projects. The first project was refining our pitch deck and proposals. This involved demonstrating our work and refining how we speak about ourselves. Uncommon Communication provided marketing communications for this, but not branding services.
Then, we wanted to refine our specific proposals (a lot of our pitch deck content is used in the proposals). We wanted to make sure our proposals clearly articulate what the client has asked us to do, what we are going to deliver, and the IP and insights we bring to the process.
We looked at an existing proposal and worked through what we were trying to achieve, analyzing gaps in its structure and messaging. There were a number of refinements to the way we articulated everything (e.g. the timeline, the deliverables, and the budget page).
What is the team composition?
I was working with Nicola (Principal Consultant, Uncommon Communication).
How did you come to work with Uncommon Communication?
I was looking for someone with a McKinsey way of thinking. Nicola was recommended to me by someone that I really trust. Nicola’s background coupled with the strength of the personal reference was enough for me.
How much have you invested with them?
We invested about £25,000 (Approximately $10,000 to $49,000 USD). This cost is the sum of three distinct projects.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working together in November of 2018 and finished work in August or September of 2019. Through that time, we’d worked through three distinct projects.
What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
We’ve won 12 projects after refining our methodology for one of our service offerings. (We had the IP, but hadn’t properly codified it yet).
The client has been finding the strategy work that’s embedded in the service offering very beneficial. The insight goes beyond the project deliverables to help the client align internally.
Since our service delivery requires research, it forces strategy conversations that often hadn’t been taking place. Our work has enabled those conversations time and time again.
How did Uncommon Communication perform from a project management standpoint?
From a project delivery standpoint, she is excellent. I never waited for anything, and meetings were always kept.
We both could have mitigated scope creep a little bit. From a budgeting perspective, we could have said, “if there’s scope extension, this is going to be the impact on the cost. What are the options if we can’t afford that?”
However, I’m very happy with the end outcome. If we hadn’t agreed to go forward with the changes, I probably wouldn’t have been as happy. Yet, the cost was beyond what we thought it would be in the beginning.
We communicated using VOIP calls. I’m in Sydney and she is in London. She always accommodated my time zone as best as possible. We didn’t use a project board to manage tasks, but we blocked out time from the beginning. We learned how to accommodate my travel schedule as we went along.
What did you find most impressive about them?
Uncommon Communication produces very reliable, excellent deliverables. I would work with her again and highly recommend her. From a differentiator perspective, her critical thinking skills are fantastic. Also, her ability to create and view things from a strategic perspective was excellent.
Are there any areas they could improve?
We got a bit caught up in the process of looking at the content versus the formatting. We went back and forth between the content and formatting, and this wasted time. We could have done a better job of not paying attention to the formatting of the content until the very end.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
Future customers should discuss the content versus formatting issue upfront. I would divide those two pieces separately and just focus on the content to start. If there’s a formatting component, carve that out separately as a second phase once the initial work is done so that you don’t get confused.