Deciphering the Role of “The Trusted Advisor”
Big 4 Professional Services Firm
The Financial Advisory Services (FAS) practice of a Big 4 professional services firm engaged FullSurge to help it develop a comprehensive and cohesive value proposition for targeting one of its most important stakeholder groups—Chief Legal Officers (CLOs). The role of the CLO was in transition at the time. CLOs and their departments were increasingly being asked to do more than merely run an internal law firm that represents the Corporation. Additionally, they were typically underserved by a lack of resources to help them operate effectively in their roles. As such, our client was seeking our help in positioning it as the pre-eminent advisor to this embattled function head, which was a key client and important stakeholder in most, if not all, of the solutions it sold.
Instrumental to our work—and the eventual value proposition that resulted from it—was a highly targeted body of market research that included over two dozen one-on-one in-depth interviews with Fortune 500 CLOs. These rich discussions helped us gain a deeper appreciation of the landscape within which they were operating. The discussions also helped shed light on the underlying causes of a number of challenges, including increasing regulatory scrutiny, technological innovation, and the global nature of business. Perhaps most importantly, the research revealed the key to developing solutions for addressing these challenges. Namely, a potential trusted advisor needs to more deeply understand the industries within which CLOs operate—and even the unique nuances of their specific companies—and personalize solutions that account for these subtle, yet important nuances.
These insights led to the development of a highly compelling and differentiated value proposition for the professional services firm—one based on a high-touch, personalized approach to relationship-building. Importantly, the new value proposition was then brought to life in very tangible ways. These included talent and skill development—for example, a Next-Generation CLO Academy (i.e., succession planning) and a Transition Lab for newly minted CLOs. It also included information and knowledge sharing—for example, the creation of new intellectual capital and research, and the formation of new conferences and forums to support CLOs.
Namely, a potential trusted advisor needs to more deeply understand the industries within which CLOs operate—and even the unique nuances of their specific companies—and personalize solutions that account for these subtle, yet important nuances.
Following the adoption of the value proposition, the FullSurge team worked closely with our client’s cross-functional leadership team to identify additional ways it could add immediate value to—and strengthen relationships with—CLOs. These included establishing a set of best practices and benchmarking for CLOs, the development of a “mini-MBA” program to help build their business acumen, value stewarding, and process innovation. Collectively, these efforts helped our client deepen its existing relationships with this important constituency, and to increase the range of service offerings it could provide to client organizations.
"I've worked with Mitch and his team on several projects and have valued their ability to understand both business strategy (logic) and the emotional quotient of branding (magic) to help apply them to solve strategic business issues, both in positioning and architecture for brands. FullSurge has delivered some very high-quality work for us and integrates well with our team, with a commitment to ensuring our end product is both valuable and implementable."