Today marks the beginning of something that's been nearly six years in the making. Before I get to the announcement, I need to share a story with you to help frame the opportunity.
On December 8, 2010, I was out with Christopher Barger, my then counterpart at General Motors (I was at Ford). We were having a friendly drink when I proposed an idea to him.
"What if," I began, "we decided to leave our corporate jobs and start a group of former brand executives?"
He seemed a little skeptical at first, but as I started listing colleagues and the wide variety of business functions and vertical markets they represented, Christopher got more excited. I jotted down some names on an index card, dated it and invited him to sign it with me. I still have that card.
|[The names spanned the front and back of the card, and I redacted some, as they haven't been party to this conversation, and spliced the front and back images together.]|
Well, the arrangement never got off the ground, for a variety of reasons. We couldn't figure out the structure, the world didn't need another digital agency, the major players were never available at the same time, no one had the entrepreneurial bug...
And this summer, all of that changed.
Christopher and I were still in touch and collaborating on a few consulting projects when we got word that three other individuals in our network were also running their own solo consulting businesses. When I discovered that one of them was Frank Eliason, the renowned customer service and customer experience leader from Comcast and Citi, my excitement grew; his is the other visible name on that index card from six years ago!
A Meeting of the Minds
My former Zignal Labs client Tim Hayden was one of those individuals. Knowing that he has 20 years of experience leading high growth technology firms, marketing agencies and business strategies, including at Edelman Digital and for many Fortune 50 brands, I was sold. And the other name was Angus Nelson, whom I knew as a key member of the Crowd Companies team when I represented Ford on that council. His knowledge of the future of work and executive coaching is strong.
Clockwise, from top L - Tim Hayden, Frank Eliason, Angus Nelson, Christopher Barger.
The five of us assembled and quickly began to realize that we shared a similar philosophy of business: that the human touch and empathy are often missing, which in turn erodes trust; that customer-centricity tends to be a platitude; and that chasing the latest digital platform or craze isn't strategic at all.
Moreover, we are all futurists of some sort, we believe in what's possible, and we believe in using historic and time-honored lessons and behaviors to guide common-sense decisions. Our vision for the future of business goes beyond our desire for digital transformation, transparency, executive involvement and the need for trust in business — we also share a desire to see good done in the world and are very much committed to our families.
So we knew that if we came together, we'd form something meaningful to the marketplace as well as to each other.
Introducing Brain+TrustAfter much consternation, we landed on the name of Brain+Trust Partners for our organization. It's a name traditionally given to an advisory group, plus it's a play on our thought leadership and the central tenet of trust.
We're an executive consultancy that helps busy leaders manage an evolving marketplace with common sense and strategic guidance. Brain+Trust Partners counsels companies and organizations on:
- Strategic communications and marketing
- Management consulting
- Digital transformation
- Innovation planning
- Advanced technology strategy
Each of us individually has a great deal of experience with some of the world's biggest brands. But when combined, our skills are complementary, with only a small bit of overlap. We feel that this is one of our core strengths.
Brain+Trust Advisors Network
The one challenge that kept us from doing something six years ago was the top-heavy structure. We couldn't figure out how to assemble a formidable team without bankrupting the system. We think we have the answer now.
In our inaugural blog post Five Things Shaping Your Future, we highlight people as one of those things. More specifically, the gig economy and how the combination of advanced technology and desire more more flexibility has led to a freelancer culture (or a 1099 culture, for you tax fiends).
We simply applied that thinking to our own business model and developed Brain+Trust Advisors, a network made up of executives with significant brand experience, who can join us for project based work on an ad hoc basis. Our Brain+Trust Advisors will range from strategists to project leads who'll be working directly with our clients as advisor-representatives of Brain+Trust Partners, alongside our partners.
Our goal is to fill out business functions and industry verticals so we can offer the best advice, counsel and execution for our clients. If you've worked for a Fortune 500 brand and would like to join the network, just head over to braintrust.partners/network and submit your information.
So there you have it. Brain+Trust Partners is here, after only six years of waiting. Sometimes we're not ready for the future. Until we are.
If you'd like to get in touch to discuss an opportunity, or if you have a question, please feel free to get in touch.