Discovering the Upside of Intelligent Risk-taking
Big 4 Professional Services Firm
In a world of increasing uncertainty, new technology, information sharing, and other disruptive forces, a global Big 4 professional services firm recognized the need to rethink the concept of “business risk.” Namely, it believed business risk was being elevated to a higher need; one which demanded more integrated, larger solutions that address a broad set of risk advisory needs across the enterprise. As such, it asked FullSurge to identify a new risk consulting positioning that: 1) transcends individual messaging around each of five distinct risk types, 2) fosters and enhances cross-functional executive relationships, and 3) enables premium pricing for its service offerings. Additionally, it wanted help in identifying gaps between the current state and this new aspirational positioning, and a set of strategic imperatives to close those gaps and successfully deliver the new positioning.
Our work began with a comprehensive audit of how management consulting firms, Big 4 professional services firms and specialty risk advisors were identifying and addressing the topic of business risk. We also conducted an extensive set of C-level interviews among Fortune 500 executives who purchase risk advisory services to understand how their needs had been evolving in recent years and the characteristics of an “ideal business risk advisory.”
Our research revealed that strategic leaders had gravitated toward a more enlightened definition of risk—one that acknowledges not only the downsides and perils of business risk but also the upside potential associated with intelligent risk-taking. This prompted us to identify a strategic positioning which embraces intelligent risk-taking in pursuit of enduring business growth, while simultaneously mitigating the undesirable risk that undermines business performance and threatens clients’ ongoing viability.
Strategic leaders gravitated toward a more enlightened definition of risk—acknowledging both downsides and perils of business risk and the upside potential associated with intelligent risk-taking.
The new positioning was enthusiastically adopted. Given the degree of aspiration in the new positioning—and the gap between it and current brand perceptions—a gradual migration to the desired end state was required to bridge the gap and allow for the appropriate capabilities to be developed and/or acquired. The FullSurge team worked closely with our client’s cross-functional leadership team to identify a set of firm-wide strategic imperatives that would ensure gap closure, and that the positioning would be successful. These imperatives resulted in a set of targeted task forces and initiatives, spanning areas as diverse as capabilities and market offerings, human capital and employee engagement, and eminence and marketing. Additionally, the new positioning served as a robust platform for the next generation of the firm’s thought leadership and content strategy initiatives.
"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."