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A Consulting Fluid

Page history last edited by happyseaurchin 15 years, 2 months ago

Social Consulting


We have a strong and diverse network of talented people - many of whom are looking for paid gigs.  Other people probably recognise this even more than we do.  How do we realise some of the value by creating something like a consulting firm, but not so firm.... more kind of fluid?


I've had conversations recently with clients or prospective clients about work that would benefit from a large number of brains.  I'd like to work out here what we might be able to offer people and how much we might charge.


Here's an example:


Client X has a physical, tangible product (ie not "yet another web-service") that they want to promote.  We could offer to put it through the Tuttle Club labs - ie a group of us use and play with said product and create some silly and serious social media around it, part of which is actively drawing other people in who are potential customers for the product. So it's a bit more formal and organised than the current blogger outreach programmes.  It's also a bit less formal than a traditional agency play for a campaign, using our open network rather than a closed firm and sub-contractors.


What would the benefits of this approach be?



How does this beat what people get from traditional pr, marketing & advertising?


What sorts of products would be suitable?


How many people would need to be involved?



How much would/should a client pay for this kind of help?


Pippa:  The benefits are leading-edge thinking at a lower charge than traditional agencies. Where else would potential clients find such a concentration of social media expertise for example? But there are risks for the client - not least that project management is more difficult if the concept's participants don't work together face to face.


The important thing is to come together as a group, work out what's possible and agree an approach everyone can sign up to - type of clients and charging structures will come out of the discussions. Even if the intention is to be fluid, with changing members and a variety of projects, the concept still needs some agreed ways of working.  How well it functions will be as vital to its success as the expertise of its members, who need to agree on why they've come together and the division of labour and fees. They also need compatible working styles.  Be realistic: someone I know compared these sorts of arrangements to a marriage; it's easy to get caught up in the passion of starting out together; staying together requires discipline and sustained effort.  Don't want to get too HRy but have you thought about introducing a facilitator to the process? I know some good ones if you go down this route. Apparently getting a group off the ground is easiest when there are less than 14 founders. It gets harder to gel if the numbers are bigger. 


Luke Razzell made the following contribution under sponsorship.  I think it deserves consideration here too.



Paying for meetups




SMC attendees who work as consultants may be able to persuade their social-media friendly clients to sponsor a SMC, in exchange for which they get to use the 2nd floor space with the consultant as appropriate. The unique value proposition to the client is that they get to lure other SMC people upstairs for their nefarious ends. Then if we're excited by what they're up to, we'll probably shoot our mouths on and, whoops, free PR for said company.




We could put a calendar up on the wiki, or link to one, and individual consultants could book in clients directly. So Lloyd doesn't have to do all the work, as he does at the moment. We need to think about responsibility for making sure client follows through and pays up, though—would the client deal directly with Alastair, or would it go through the consultant.



Lloyd: I think this is a great idea.  I'd like to take it out of the current context and see how it might apply more generally.  The sponsorship currently is £300 per week.  It also seems to me that the sort of feedback and free PR from us might be more valuable than £300.  Also, I'd like to move away from clients dealing directly with Alastair - it's only like that at the moment because we don't have a way of handling money for ourselves (See the incorporation page)



Pitching Forum (from Richard Stacy)


As per Pippa's comment above - these things both need and can get difficult when you try and make them formal and provide a structure.  Following is therefore a suggestion for something we could do that remains very informal / fluid, but might get the ball rolling in terms of proving the need / opportunity.


The idea is that we use the Tuttle network essentially as a pitching forum.


Clients (or their Tuttle consultant if they have one) publish a brief - which could be placed on the wiki


Any Tuttler is then free to respond to it with ideas / thoughts (free as in anyone can do it, but also free as in they give their ideas / thoughts for free at this stage). 


Client - (or their Tuttle representative) can either just take these and say thanks - or choose to talk directly and commercially / privately  to those whose ideas / approaches they liked best


If this leads to an actual commercial engagement - a precentage or one-off fee is paid into the Tuttle pot. 


This has the advantage that, for the time and effort of producing a brief, a client or their appointed Tuttler, gets a response (although the volume and quality of this response has no guarantee), Tuttlers have an opportunity to parade the knowledge and creativity in front of potential clients (and each other), and Tuttle gets a brokerage fee that can be used to pay for weekly meeting or other activities. 


Provided the whole thing is kept transparent, it should be relatively self-regulating - i.e. clients who have a genuine commitment to paying some money for assistance should receive a matching quality of response.  It also keeps things simple in that we don't at this stage have to establish a "value proposition" for what collectively Tuttle delivers - it is not assuming responsibility for the quality or price of its output - all it has responsibility for is managing a very basic process. 


Possible refinements would be a need for Tuttlers or clients who wish to be involve to register / sign-up in some way - just so we would have an ability to regulate or police behaviour if it is felt the process is being abused in any way.  The payment of the brokerage fee would also need some formalising - perhaps initially it could be a basic finders fee (i.e. paid by the client, perhaps as an undertaking to sponsor a Friday meeting)  but might evolve into a percentage paid by the consultant (thought this starts to become more complicated).


As with most things social media - if it works, great and it will probaly assume a life and direction of its own and if it doesn't, never mind it didn't really cost much to give it a go.


Confluence Consultancy

These were my words for it. Strangely, been forming it since the beginning of the year. Need to manifest major social change by summer if anything sustainable is to come out of eg tuttle within the new economic paradigm. See happyseaurchin.



Comments (1)

happyseaurchin said

at 12:21 pm on Apr 27, 2009

nice idea about pitching forum
is it happening?

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