A little while ago, I finished my first remote presentation. Thanks to Opera Consulting screwing Grant and I, we’re still in the hunt for a second year project. Our latest round of applications seem to have done well, including a 30 minute presentation with a potential second year project client.
The turnaround on the interview request and presentation was pretty quick. App was sent on Monday morning (NY time) and by Wednesday morning we’re presenting on our background and methodology for approaching the project. Grant handled the main parts of the presentation with me participating over speaker phone.
I feel we did pretty well with the presentation (does that matter?) but wonder if my distance will be an issue since some of the project work includes interviewing stakeholders and on-the-ground information gathering. It’s hard to tell – the company is looking to make a decision by Monday so by Tuesday the answer will be in hand.
I’m continuously amazed by technology and the communication abilities today. Of course, I’m amazed at most technologies at some level. The fact I can push a button on a piece of plastic and have my TV turn-on is still pretty cool. Or the fact that TV exists at any level is still an amazing feat.
But, uh, anyway – the conversation with potential client was interesting. They produce a commodity product that everyone uses. They, like a lot of commodity companies, face increasing price pressure through the channel. In other words, giant companies are forcing them to lower prices and compete aggressively for all business.
It’s all to familiar story as retailers become larger and start flexing their muscle in negotiations with suppliers and manufacturers. Since the retailers own the end customer (that’s you and me or a business procurement department) it gives them an opportunity to aggressively negotiation with suppliers forcing them to lower prices to keep the business.
Suppliers have very little choice, if they want to keep the business, they often have to to abandon brand and compete on price. The cycle is damn vicious. Good brand, long term thinking erodes into price discounts, price promotion and competition on price just to win the largest customer base.
Once the brand goes but the quality remains – bam! commodity product that can be reproduced globally so your competition increases dramatically. More horizontal competition, oh dear.
So this company wants to figure out how they can build their brand and help create a sustainable advantage to keep more of the value in the channel. To me, this is fascinating. Maybe it’s my desire to work for the underdog, but what could be more fun than working on a strategy to help balance the power in a relationship and bring back balance to the force.