Business Issues  



Make A Statement

TRADITIONAL CAPABILITY STATEMENTS TEND TO FACILITATE MORE DELETIONS FROM SUPPLY LISTS THAN THEY WIN BUSINESS. CORPORATE LITERATURE AT LARGE FOCUSES TOO MUCH ON THE BUSINESS ITSELF, RATHER THAN ON THE NEEDS, EXPECTATIONS AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF EXISTING AND PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN TECHNOLOGY AND DIGITAL COMMUNICATION ENABLE COMPANIES TO CUSTOMISE THE KEY MESSAGES. THOSE ARE AMONG THE KEY POINTS OF THE ATTACHED ARTICLE TEXT WHICH SHOULD CONFRONT AND CHALLENGE MANY OF YOUR SUBSCRIBERS AND READERS.

By Barry Urquhart


In competitive circumstances it is important to recognise that business and marketing are not about “me”.

A CAPABILITY STATEMENT IS , to many people in business, an important, if not an essential document.

Some existing and prospective clients demand submission of such literature. However, securing contracts and benefits as a consequence is not guaranteed.

Indeed, on balance, in many instances a capability statement is a disqualifying rather than a qualifying element in the selection process. Assessments are made on the capacity of those making such submissions to fulfil the basic requirements and expectations. Thus, the texts often simply determine whether a company or a professional is eliminated from the shortlist of potential suppliers of products, services and input.

In a disturbingly large percentage of instances it is a just reward. Put simply, many capability statements are crushingly boring.

SELF-CENTRED
Too often the focus is self-centred. Little or no reference is made to the unique circumstances, nature, demands and needs of specific prospective clients, projects or applications. It is difficult to imagine any self-respecting prospective client contemplating the appointment or use of unqualified, or under-resourced, poorly capitalised individuals, teams or entities. In reality, such written overviews contribute to the commodisation in the profiling of the applicants.

Shades of grey, beige and a conga-line of sameness!! Fun can be enjoyed, excitement created, pride injected and business won from a total review of the content, context and focus of capability statements and corporate literature.

CUSTOMER-FOCUS
References about being customer-focused and client-centred assume new perspectives when literature is refined. The rewording of texts can and does articulate invaluable insights, provides peace-of-mind, differentiates products, services, people and entities and, above all, provides scope for the establishment of comprehensive advantage and value.

In competitive circumstances it is important to recognise that business and marketing are not about “me”. Customisation is the currency of the prevailing market place.

MASS CUSTOMISATION
The on-going, rapid and accelerating advancements in technology and digital applications are making profound impacts on business and communications.

Concepts like “now” and “local” have been remoulded. In the latter instance, it is no longer a geographic measure. We are all (and at all times) just a click away.

Likewise, standardised capability statements have been superseded by customised versions of capabilities statements. Corporate brochures and products/services catalogues have been similarly redefined. Reality now extends beyond long print-runs of corporate literature. Image. Short-run productions now in the marketplace are having high impact among recipients.

Book publishers and authors are still coming to grips with the capacity, the need for and the advantages of mass customisation. As a consequence, sales are suffering.

Magazine subscribers regularly receive issues with their names printed on the front cover. Impressive and effective.

Moreover, customised literature addresses the commonly held belief of existing and prospective clients that their needs, wants and circumstances are different and unique. Such real and perceived issues can be, and should be, addressed in customised literature.

Featuring the corporate identification of a prospective client on the front page of a written submission, regardless of format, is not subtle. However, it is effective, in many ways because it is unexpected.

In the words of US retail expert, Peter Glen, “Dare To Be Different”.

In similar vein, non-complying tender documents provide the potential to stand apart from the crowd. Traditional capability statements, when they are oriented and scripted to promote, profile and detail a capacity to establish, sustain, develop and enhance mutually rewarding strategic alliance relationships are valuable. Those attributes are to be lauded.

For those who find comfort in compliance and conformity, the proposition will be difficult to comprehend, accept and implement. To them making “the short-list” is important.

No it is not. The objective is to win the business and to enjoy a long-term effective partnership.

Those who seek success do need to make a statement - not about capabilities but rather about client-relevant outcomes, advantages and of benefits.

THINK DIFFERENTLY
The increasing use of electronic transmissions is an enabling, differentiating and marketing phenomenon. Executed astutely, the results can be phenomenal.

A marginal increase in the allocation of time and resources can, and often does, result in significant rewards, including increased revenue.

Perhaps the first step in the progression to market-leadership, comprehensive advantages and differentiation is a change in thoughts and perspective: the scope of communication needs to be reoriented from broadcasting to narrowcasting. Targeted audience sizes should be reduced from multiplies to singular.

NARROW-FOCUS
Nano- technology has minimised electronics, medical equipment, many aspects of commerce. The advances, consequences and advantages have been quantum in nature, primarily because of such a micro- perspective.

The message is clear and concise; to develop, advance and to grow big, think small and personal.


Barry Urquhart,
Managing Director of Marketing Focus is a consumer behavioural analyst, business strategist and internationally recognised conference keynote speaker. He consults on the formulation, refinement and development of corporate cultures for small, medium and large sized businesses.