Consulting Chronicles – The Infamous Logo Page
The logo page is one of my favorites. Having worked at both a Big Six and an Acronym, as well as having been a client, I can tell many a story just on this one page alone.
What exactly is the Logo Page?
The logo page, for all who don’t know, is the one page in a typical proposal where the consulting firm can brag and show off their citations - work done to date - via brands and logos that are recognized by all. It is typically the most artistically palatable page of the Power Point presentation, because it does not embody the usual clip art, large-font text, and it is where the color schemes are the result of millions spend by branding and marketing people at the logo’s respective companies.
The more logos you have the more you’ve done, and hence the better and more appropriate you and your firm are for the job. So goes the thinking!
Now having done many dozens of proposals and been privy to much more, I can tell you. The logo page is not worth the paper it’s printed on, for that matter citations and references are hog wash.
Not to say that the citations do not reflect the work done to date, but that they are for the most part, either a bending of the truth or the people who did the work are not in the consulting firm any longer or unavailable for your project. Therefore the listing of relevant citations become doubtful.
It is like saying, “hire me because someone I don’t even know did a somewhat similar job, in some other state, at some other client, two years ago.”
On the subject of citation. Why ask for them? After all, who will ever give you a name of a client that has not already been primed or an ally or friend. It like asking the used car salesman for a reference and he points to his buddy three cars over and asks,” Charlie, isn’t this car perfect? Come one over here and tell this customer how good it is!”
I never forget a visit by a "Big Six" (starts with an "A") entourage of sixteen consultants, partners, senior partners, executives in charge, et al., all presenting their credentials and expertise, and when they quickly turned past the Logo Page, I told myself this is the moment I’ve been waiting for.
“Let’s go back, I wish to ask some questions”, I said smugly. I knew as the client, I had every right to ask any question, so I took charge and perhaps even advantage.
“Let’s visit each and every logo. Please tell me how it’s relevant, and who here actually worked on the relevant pieces.” I continued as I saw the face of fear ascend on every one in that room.
The BixSixers proceeded to talk to each and in short order they realized that it was not a wining situation, at which point a sacrificial lamb volunteered his career by admitting that he just took the page from another proposal.
It was the most fun I've ever had, as a client, with Ac … I mean the "Big Six."
Contributed to Boroumand by A.R.., San Rafael, California, 2004
Take Away Lessons For the Guilty
- Only use logo's or citations where at least one of you, who will be on the project, has first hand useful information to share.
- Don't use the same old reference for every project. The word gets around. You can't have a restaurant with just one main course.
- Don't ask for references and citations. Get off of your lazy asses and do your jobs:
Get to know the people who will be on the project, understand their abilities, ask questions. If you don't know what to ask, find someone in your company who does and let them do the querying.
Get to know the products you are paying for, do your own due diligence.