A.T. Kearney launches a new global branding

26 January 2012 Consultancy.uk

A.T. Kearney has renewed its global branding with the aim of further distinguishing its 86-year-old brand in the international consulting marketplace. The updated look follows a year-long initiative to clarify the firm's distinctiveness and further define its brand. The main change to its new look is the logo – the name Kearney is emphasized more as the letters are in bold. The new logo and branding has been implemented in all marketing and recruitment outings of the strategy & operations consulting firm.

ATKearney old and new logo

Out of the independent review of its brand, A.T. Kearney uncovered three fundamental characteristics that define the firm and its culture:

1) Collaborative to the core, easy-to-work with and engaging.

2) Authentic, providing candid, honest and creative approaches that work.

3) Forward-thinking, always practically applying market foresight to produce both immediate results and build lasting, transformational advantage for clients.

To gain some knowledge about this rebranding Consultancy.uk spoke to Nathan Burgers, Managing Director Benelux.

Q: What was the motive for editing A.T. Kearney’s global branding?

A: A.T. Kearney exists over more than 85 years. Five years ago we became a (global) partnership (after the MBO of EDS); a process which released a lot of energy and ambition. In this context the renewing of global branding provides us the opportunity to make clear what A.T. Kearney separates itself from rivals. The branding consists of more than a new logo and visual expressions. In the past years we worked together with customers and external experts to articulate our identity and core values. What we stand for is: immediate impact, growing advantage. These two phenomena are the core of our way of working being consultants. Booking immediate and tangible results for our clients, with our clients. Apart from this, it is necessary to always keep an eye out for structural changes that are required for expanding and securing future success of our clients.

Q: According to Paul Laudicina, CEO at A.T. Kearney, the new logo is “more modern”. What is, according to you, the biggest difference compared to the old branding?

A: In line with the new brand thought the logo has been adapted, also visual expressions that we reflect to the outer world have changed (presentations, white papers, letters, websites). On me the new logo and matching house style make a fresh and elegant impression. At the same time there are still style elements referring to our history (like the autograph of our founder that is printed on our business cards).

Q: What are A.T. Kearney’s plans, as well in the Netherlands as internationally, to roll out the new branding to clients, suppliers, and remaining target groups?

A: When considering our new ‘look and feel’ we think it is important to be globally consistent. Internally we have a powerful model for cooperation which makes us capable of bundling our global expertise and knowledge for the sake of our clients. The fact that we are a real firm-firm makes us also want to express this in our branding.  No matter if you are a customer in Amsterdam, New York or Beijing, our business cards, presentations and reports will all look similar. More important is that we really advertise what we stand for, both in our work as in our communication to our clients and recruitment candidates. Rolling out our branding is mainly about fulfilling promises in everything we do and say.

Q: Conclusively, formally perceiving A.T. Kearney, an ‘.’ After the A and T, why? And why has it been decided not to include this in the logo again?

A: The A and the T are the initials of our founder Andrew Thomas Kearney. These initials form an integral part of our branding name.

Thank you very much for the interview


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Branding the modern consultancy: why reputation hinges on it

03 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

The reputation of firms and brand strength remain a key aspect of business in the management consulting industry. Karla Alexander, Brand Manager at Propero Partners, below reflects on the state of reputation management in the consulting industry.

In a time where public perception is enough to make or break a company, the wise are reminded that when it comes to brand and reputation, the strength of one does not necessarily equate with the quality of the other. Nowhere is this more clearly demonstrated than in the impact a spate of recent issues has had on firms that form the backbone of the industry, including KPMG and Grant Thornton.

Such was the damage to KPMG’s reputation last year, that the Bank of England took the decision to investigate its viability following a string of high-profile corporate scandals. Whether or not the sum total of the firm’s track record is enough to restore its image remains to be seen.

This proves that brand and reputation are not only among the most valuable intangible assets – they are also among the most fragile. And their reach extends into the centre of any firm, regardless of its size or market share.

The lesson here for challenger firms and smaller consultancies is two-fold. As well as learning from the mistakes of their peers, it’s also important not to conflate brand with reputation. While they both share the same objective – to win the hearts, minds, and wallets of clients – brand provides the opportunity to differentiate, whereas reputation provides the opportunity to demonstrate credibility. Far from being the same thing, it’s this very difference that binds them together.

Branding the modern consultancy: why reputation hinges on it

Reputation is the driving force behind a person’s decision to award a firm their business, based on values that align with their own – be it honesty, transparency, integrity, accountability. However, none of these characteristics are particularly compelling or distinctive on their own. To carve out key points of difference, to stand out, and to become known, liked, and trusted among a sea of competitors offering similar services, companies should turn to their brands.

Brand is the culmination of culture, vision, values, and identity, which when used consistently and religiously, can create fresh opportunities for firms. People no longer buy services in isolation but look for a purpose or a lifestyle to buy into. Strong brands create an appetite for themselves and command a higher price tag because people will pay for them. The more pulling power and emotional resonance a brand has, the more successful the firm will be.

Protecting a brand

That’s why, regardless of abundant choice, there is still only one Deloitte, one PwC, one EY – and there’s a reason why the Big Four audit nearly 100% of UK’s top 100 corporations. This relentless focus on building and protecting their brands and reputations on the basis of being the best, has, over time, resulted in a market monopoly. However, problems arise when one is given more weight than the other. This point is particularly relevant in the case of KPMG, and in others where firms have flaunted their reputation for being untouchable in the face of the client.

Brand and reputation working together are directly attributable to significant business outcomes (such as financial performance, loyalty, awareness) and should be treated as such. Focus too much on brand and you risk alienating the people who value credibility, such as prospective and existing clients, shareholders, and the best talent. Focus too much on reputation and you risk stagnating in the market, with a service that no one knows or cares about.

In order to overcome these challenges, the first step for many firms will be to take a step back. Before any meaningful work can begin, consulting firms need to assess the current state of their brand and reputation, and establish key characteristics for both. For brand, this might be relevancy, consistency, positioning, identity, and appeal. For reputation, this might be staff turnover, service quality, growth rate, client relationships, leadership, and diversity and inclusion.

Regardless of the findings, there’s always room for improvement. An uptick in the performance of brand and reputation can be achieved by measuring the impact that one has on the other, integrating business and marketing strategies, and setting strict KPIs.

Guardianship and getting results from this activity isn’t the job of one person or one team. People at all levels of the firm should be thought of as brand ambassadors, and should be willing to do what it takes to protect the reputation of the business no matter the cost. After all, everyone benefits when good things are said about a firm when it’s not in the room.

Related: Why building trust and brand belief is key for consulting firms.