Should consulting firms be directing a greater proportion of their time and money towards building up the profiles of individual consultants within the firm? This question has been infiltrating our conversations for a while now. Back in July 2013, when we carried out our analysis of how consulting firms are using Twitter, we noticed that it was the accounts of high profile individuals that typically generated the most engagement. And this didn’t surprise us: individuals are innately more interesting to engage with than organisations. Individuals also tend to be focused – on a sector or a key issue – meaning that most of the material they post is relevant to the audience that has chosen to follow them.
But the issue is much broader than Twitter. For example, should individuals be prominently associated with specific pieces of thought leadership? And if I really enjoy a piece by Josephine Bloggs, should I be able to view her entire catalogue? (Please note: we’re not suggesting that the individual should be solely responsible for creating the report in its entirety, but rather that they be identified as the key driving force and personality associated with the piece of thought leadership bearing their name.)
Our view on this is “Yes” and “Yes”. Individuals relate to individuals, and unless you’re hoping to sell your services to a robot, then it’s well worth investing in promoting individuals within your firm. Of course, there are risks: the individual is free to leave your firm, and potential clients may only wish to speak to the ‘star player’. We’re confident, however, that when managed well, this is a risk worth taking.