Infamously, on his campaign trail, then candidate for US President Mitt Romney said, on a soapbox in Iowa: ‘Corporations are people, my friend,’ which sounds with context as strange as it does without. It’s not a particularly inspired equivalency, though it proves useful in undertaking the task of defining the importance of having a corporate identity – simply put, a company, however small, must have some sort of personality if it aims for longevity. To that end, I want to go more in depth about what it means to lay out the foundation for the company’s identity before the venture even starts, not straying from those core values and making a continuous effort to maintain that brand; not only that, but I’ll also look at what we, Patrick Morgan, are specifically doing to stay authentic to our core values and express those as our brand.
First, an identifiable ‘personality’ builds trust and market reputation; this is true regardless of industry: clients will want to associate with a company that can deliver results and financial profit as well as an ethos both parties believe in. It’s an intangible asset, a company’s set of values, and difficult to take into consideration as a plus when doing the maths in early-morning meetings, waiting for the first dose of caffeine to kick in, but hindsight proves, time and time again, how effective it is.
At Patrick Morgan, we like to show the working out, rather than just giving an answer to the question – we believe it’s equally important to demonstrate the process as it is to deliver to end product. The client can therefore watch the journey of a Search itself from point A to point B and obtain useful market information along the way, as well as rest assured that the task outsourced to us was completed as meticulously as it was efficiently. It’s all in the interest of transparency – this way of doing things builds a different level of trust with our clients than we would’ve had otherwise, and it thus strengthens our working relationships. Our clients always know they can assign us to a task and be as involved in and aware of the process as they wish to be, which brings a level of comfort to high-level stress situations.
To continue, another important aspect of a successfully branded business is uniqueness – chances are, regardless of industry, your market is full of choices, all eerily similar in philosophy, working method and core purpose. This is the time to establish a unique selling point more than ever before and stay consistent through the years as the company grows; in the age of constant innovation, this is no easy undertaking, of course. Unless it’s part of the initial proposal or business idea, it’s difficult to introduce a spark to make you stand out from the crowd later on, after the metaphorical stenographer has started writing out your track record on a typewriter by dictation and it’s almost impossible to make amendments without starting over.
With this in mind, Patrick Morgan began with and continues to have a niche focus – Transaction and Acquisition Consulting as the principal practice with broader Strategy Consulting as a secondary. Zeroing in on such a small market – ‘small’ in relation to the greater world of ‘Professional Services’ – is often discussed as a bundle of negatives, the most significant of which is the risk of restraining yourself as a business too much; but there’s an invaluable positive in the form of expertise. The limited focus gives the team an opportunity to learn the market extremely well, have expert conversations at the high levels of the industry and reject any work that could dilute our market position. This contributes to the aforementioned trust between us and our clients.
Nothing beats the deep research we do before the start of and during any given project; a Jack of all trades has his measurable value, but isn’t it much smarter to place your trust in the master of one?
Out of Office
The way employees interact within the company is also part of the firm’s identity, as well as the activities they organize to give back to the wider community, to people who have nothing to do with their industry or working hours – team initiatives to participate in activities outside of their usual grind gives the company something to support the piece of paper that states its willingness to engage. Leadership and their juniors must make a conscious decision to put in joint effort towards a bigger goal.
The more we grow our team, the more relevant this is – engagement within the office is leading to plans to get more and more involved in the community that surrounds us, from young adults looking to start a career in associated fields to institutions completely unrelated to our business but for whom we can volunteer our time and energy. The value of activities like these is twofold – they provide a service to a second party and demand nothing in return, and they are exciting opportunities for teambuilding outside of the usual routine of, in our case, office. Externally, these initiatives show we have a sense of perspective – of an outside world that needs us just as much as we need them – and that we’re willing to break the opaque bubble that threatens to limit companies to a one-dimensional existence.
Lastly, a company’s personality hinges on its purpose – what does it want to achieve? What’s the overarching goal? When they join the firm, what vision do new employees aim to drive forward?
Each member of the team wishes to feel like part of something bigger than the process of walking in and out of the office for five days a week; there must be more than that, more to aspire to and work towards every day they’re on the job once again, regardless of industry. A cultural fit between both parties is essential and for that to happen in the first place, the company must know and embrace its own culture and character, if you will.
Specifically, Patrick Morgan is dedicated to maintaining the high standards we’ve always had in the spot within the Consulting niche we established for ourselves very early on, in the creation of the business. We deliver hires at the highest possible level of a corporation, though not exclusively – we pride ourselves on the long-lasting relationships we have with our clients and the expertise we offer them, as well as what that means for our plans for future expansion. The team gathers every morning in the office and knows we cannot drop the ball: our clients expect of us as much as we expect of ourselves, all in the interest of placing the most fitting executives in the top positions of the world’s biggest companies.
Corporations aren’t people, but the concept of ‘personality’ applies to both; in the case of a business, that means a whole lot more than solely their unique selling point – it extends to overall goal, team interaction and engagement, working method and much more, if too vague to pinpoint hypothetically. Specificity may well prove to be the driving force behind a small company taking off – the target audience of a product or service will never opt for the generic rather than the particular, the interesting, the innovatory, which is what we try to keep in mind at every strategy and business development meeting.
No, corporations aren’t people, but there’s no reason why a business should stay in the realm of the neutral for fear of limiting themselves or missing out on a specific section of the market – every company has an inherent brand, and building that out early in the journey can ensure the maximum possible value extraction from the potential that is a company with a purpose.
By Marina Hercka