”What is the professional background of your people?”

This is the question that a client has recently asked me.
I asked him: ”What are you referring to when you say background?”
He replied: ”Studies, masters degrees, doctorates and so on…”
For which I replied: ”None that is so special as to be worth mentioning. But most of them, including me, have over 10 years of experience (some even 15) in management, marketing, S&D, sales, design and so on. The vast majority managed both internally and from the position of external consultant very large Romanian and foreign brands, with tangible results. The vast majority of us have created brands from scratch that we have brought together with their owners to a superlative level of recognition and profitability.” I also added that: ”I hope that’s what you meant by ”professional background” the experience that they have in brand development!?”

He frankly says no. What followed after that is not relevant at all.

I emphasize that there are consultants ”with the laptop” and with an impressive pedigree of training, studies, master degree, doctorates and a few positions held successively every three years in companies that have a resounding name. They also have almost zero ”field” experience and the same results. For example: a large corporation operating in Romania NOW spends on average beautiful sums of money promoting their products from the impulse range, to the detriment of the basic, economy or mainstream products that are required. The basic logic and the strategic examination of the current market situation tells me that the consumer focuses his spending budget in this time of crisis on necessary products, not for those he/she has an impulse to buy. Products that are bought impulsively, especially in FMCG, are among the first to be sacrificed when adding to the day-to-day shopping cart. However, the consultant recommends, the director approves, the budget is spent, and the multinational company, from the position of absolute leader on some segments in Romania, ends up, in a year, being dethroned from the rankings by much smaller local brands – which up until now were not even taken into consideration by the giant company. Starting with February 2009, they have also ended up reporting losses. Even after February, the first month with reported losses in the company’s history in Romania (in about 10 years), the televisions kept displaying beautiful ads with pretty products that no one wants anymore. Given the fact that Romania was the only country, globally, in the company, along with an African country, which made significant profits every year, everyone is happy: strategies were approved, budgets were spent and ”significant savings” were made by hiring strategic consulting services at a group level by people with a pedigree full of schools.

In my latest Forbes article, I recommend a movie called ”Idiocracy,” written and directed by Mike Judge, the creator of Beavis & Butthead. I highly recommend it again.