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A marketing strategy for a multi-national consultancy

The Client

Charcoalblue designs and creates performance spaces around the world, whether they are theatres, concert halls, school studies or presentation arenas within corporate buildings. They work with the end client, architects and other specialists to realise projects, offer theatrical design, acoustic and digital design as well as unique turnkey scope from vision statement to opening night.

They have grown rapidly over recent years, now with six design studios around the world: Chicago, New York, Glasgow, Bristol and Melbourne, as well as their home in London. Their reputation is clearly enabling their growth – but what is the best way to market their growing portfolio and to the industry sectors they serve?

Their Needs

Andy Hayles, Managing Partner, contacted us  via our website. When we talked, he expressed concerns about their lack of a cohesive marketing plan to support the sales focus and a lack of management capacity to support their existing staff resources to ensure the marketing happens effectively.

What did we do?

With design studios  and staff in four different time zones, our usual three stage process of Measure, Understand & Improve had to be tweaked a little.

The Measure phase went ahead as normal, delivering a picture of what is driving growth in the business and how that has changed over the last two years.

The Focus and Plan phases were split into multiple workshops to cover the range of services they provide and to enable people from all studios  to participate and contribute. Thankfully, Charcoalblue’s excellent video-conferencing facilities  allowed everyone to take part, even if some people were working either very early or very late at night. We tried to share this around so it wasn’t just the US and Australian teams working  out of hours. We had conference calls at 11pm as well as 8am and midday

What the client said

“ Through Nigel’s careful input, delivered with warmth and good humour, we have radically changed our approach to marketing – through one to one sessions and dedicated team workshops orchestrated by SME Needs the studio has focused its energies on marketing and sharpened our message about who we are and how we can help, all geared towards expanding our profile and increased sales. ”

Gavin Green
Senior Partner, Charcoalblue


By the end of the strategic phase, we had developed four key target audiences and an avatar of their Ideal Client(s) within each industry sector. We mapped the issues faced within target audiences and the messages that show how Charcoalblue can help them. Supporting evidence is not in short supply as you can see from their website.

An outbound marketing strategy based around engaging and educating the target audiences was developed. Their audiences are not likely to start using natural search to find potential suppliers, so they need to develop and build relationships throughout the supply chain so that they are invited to participate in the projects they want. A multi-touch marketing plan, both online and offline was developed and rolled out in conjunction with the senior management team across the world.

By the end of the first six months, they are already seeing additional leads coming in; opportunities they wouldn’t have known about had they not implemented the marketing plan that we developed together. Because the team were involved in developing the strategy and the plan, they bought into it and they are all contributing to make it happen.

Stepping Up

The final stage of this project has been the realisation by the senior team that they need additional marketing resource within the business. They are in the process of recruiting a Marketing Manager and will continue to work with SME Needs on matters of strategy and further implementation as it arises. .

What the client said

“ Nigel’s systematic and thorough approach brought real vigour to our conversations.  His insistence that investment in studio-wide buy-in being the best way to ensure success has brought a team approach to what was previously a burden carried by just a few.  It’s not easy being a consultant to another consultancy practise – but Nigel got the balance just right.  Thoroughly recommended. ”

Andy Hayles
Managing Partner, Charcoalblue


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