CASE STUDY 1
Connecting a Consultancy and a Candidate in the Midst of Transition, and Encouraging a Mutually Beneficial Relationship
Business owners often begin their entrepreneurial ventures by taking on most or all aspects of running a business, including business development, strategy, operations, creativity, and product development. The owner of a boutique, award-winning, West Coast industrial design consultancy had built a solid design and engineering team. After years of overseeing the entire operation, he realized he needed to focus primarily on the strategy of his business. It was time to relinquish a degree of responsibility and address higher-level tasks in order to expand his business to the next level.
Observing that the larger top design consultancies often allocate up to 30% of their resources toward public relations, business development, and marketing, the owner of this elite, mid-sized design consultancy decided to delegate these functions. He sought a dedicated business development candidate who he could entrust with representing the company’s essence and quality, and who would fit in with the incredible and long-cultivated family culture. Someone on the career fast track would not be the right fit.
In this industry, there are two types of business development specialists: those who embody pure business and can sell winter coats to desert dwellers, and those who come from the design and engineering world and learn how to represent businesses as their skills evolve. We educated our client on this distinction, and the benefits that each side could bring their company while introducing both types of candidates.
While screening design candidates for another search, this individual, who had originated as a reference for another candidate, stood out. Our industry insights informed us that his great work was essentially keeping the consultancy that employed him together. Knowing the skill and capability required to cultivate such a reputation, we wanted to get to know him even better.
At Yeh IDeology, we make it our business to research, assess, and vet candidates and companies thoroughly in order to help all parties make the best possible decisions and choices. We got to know this individual who had caught our attention, and found him to be phenomenal at client-facing account management. He possessed an innate gift for business development, even though he considered himself a design manager. Listening to and evaluating this candidate’s drivers, we identified that business development could be an excellent next career path for him.
We educated the design manager that creativity is found in all roles. We Qualified his abilities and growth track, and confirmed he had a strong propensity to excel in this arena. We knew that business development would be a solid career step, and helped him see how gratifying the new position would be, and what a strong addition he would be to the design consultancy’s team.
Together with the firm’s founder and the design manager, Yeh IDeology facilitated this match. The company chose this candidate over the other seasoned business development candidates we introduced. Yeh IDeology helped both sides recognize a mutually beneficial relationship where the design manager, with his initiative and potential, could grow in tandem with the stellar design consultancy, and the founder could entrust the company’s business development to an individual who would accurately champion the firm’s abilities. The connection delivered a win/win.
CASE STUDY 2
Elevating a Company’s Business to the Next Level and Allowing Talent to Excel and Flourish in Management and Leadership
For companies wanting to take their firms in new directions, sometimes the answer is as simple as a great connection. Yeh IDeology showed a company and a creative professional how they could take ideal next steps together.
An exhibit design consultancy located in Washington, DC came to Yeh IDeology seeking to replace a senior designer who had left. While Yeh IDeology introduced designers who met the exhibit design qualifications requested, we delved deeper and discovered that although the consultancy’s immediate needs were to refill a position in order to maintain existing client accounts, the founder’s long-term aspirations were to one day elevate the firm’s clientele to include museum design as well.
Noting this long-term goal, Yeh IDeology began keeping a particular eye open for designers versed in both exhibit and museum design. Exhibit design is a very fast-paced, limited-run form of product development. Often the priority is speed of execution with little time for investment in quality. Museum design, on the other hand, has a life expectancy usually of several years, and the quality and aesthetics are paramount and more sublime. Training for the two design fields is distinctly different, each emphasizing a separate focus, application, and skill sets.
In the meantime, Yeh IDeology was working with a museum/exhibit designer from Florida with a broad portfolio and excellent high-level management skills. She had already lead teams and managed small design firms. This designer sought her next career steps and aspired to return to New York City, gain more management responsibility, and possibly run her own firm. She also wanted to work for one of the two top museum design firms with whom we worked at the time. We knew how top heavy the talent infrastructures of these two firms were, and we realized that while this individual would do well, she would also be one of many top-tiered creatives. The competition would slow her path for management growth. We made the introductions, but we also discussed the possibility of an opportunity with the exhibit design house in Washington, DC.
Yeh IDeology facilitated a mutually beneficial alliance between the exhibit design house and the senior designer through our “iterative matching process.” We taught both parties the wisdom and growth potential of the match. The exhibit design firm hired the senior designer as Design Manager and promoted her to Design Director within the year. She moved the company forward into museum design, and within a few more years, rose to VP of Design.
Neither the candidate nor the company imagined the options available to them. Yeh IDeology opened their eyes to new possibilities. We focused on filling our client’s immediate need while targeting solutions to their long-term, aspirational goals. The result was a working relationship that met the growth needs of both client and creative. Yeh IDeology finds it incredibly gratifying to positively impact the future of both a company and an individual’s career.
CASE STUDY 3
Providing the Due Diligence and Professional Excellence that Promote Carte Blanche Trust and Long-term Relationships
Great business relationships are built on trust, integrity, value, and accountability. Yeh IDeology cultivated a strong, long-term relationship with a corporation, showing them that we understood how to support a variety of talent investment needs. Ultimately, we taught them the value of design, how to invest in it wisely, and how to focus on vision while addressing immediate needs. When Yeh IDeology discerned an opportunity for the company to reposition its brand for the China market, the company gave us carte blanche to identify the strategy and talent to accomplish the goal.
Our client is a world-class manufacturer in the household industries. They understood the value of design and creativity for their U.S. market, and placed a high level of investment in design. Over the years, we placed several design candidates, from management on down to entry-level talent, to help them meet their goals in the U.S.
The global corporation had a small team of creatives in their Asia facilities randomly directed toward supporting various U.S. and European product accounts. They had not previously focused on Asia as a consumer market, but wanted to start. They sought a design manager who could consolidate and redirect the efforts in the China office and who could start targeting the China consumer market. This design manager also had to be “hands-on,” while being able to manage as they gradually invested in this new initiative. Even though there are recruitment firms in Asia, the corporation came to us because they knew we had a global reach, and that we understood their business and how they valued creativity.
The company’s initial specifications for the Design Manager position of the China division were logistical and cookie-cutter: they wanted someone experienced, from their niche industry, of Chinese nationality, who understood the China market, and who could be “hands-on” and manage the design team.
Through our research conversations with human resources, hiring managers, and executive leaders of the China market, we discovered that the company’s brand had not yet been fully developed in China or Asia as a whole. In fact, the company aspired to re-launch and elevate the brand positioning and recognition. Global brands often have different positioning and standing in different countries and continents around the world. This standing depends on a variety of factors including the level of investment in brand marketing and launching, the history of the brand in a particular country, nationality preferences, and the quality of the brand versus their competitors within a country
We analyzed our client’s operational structure in China and noted that their design team needed more than just tactical design management leadership. They also needed strategic brand leadership. They had no concept of the size of this growing market of new, hungry consumers, or how their brand or product category would be received and valued in this new China market. They needed leadership and guidance in strategically launching and positioning their brand in China. Yeh IDeology intuited that the client needed a design leader with raw talent who also understood brand strategy, who knew how to talk about business, and who could also be a hands-on creative as well as a high-level manager. This was not an easy combination of abilities to find in one individual.
Our client’s reasons for wanting talent from their industry who would be familiar with their business and who would be of Chinese descent in order to facilitate relating to the culture were valid. We brought our client talent with these specifications, but we also understood a larger strategic objective which informed our approach to the placement. We convinced our client that we needed to cast a wider net with a more strategic filter if we were to truly identify the design management candidates best qualified to execute the brand’s growth initiatives.
Through our Yeh IDeology methodology, we sought candidates who possessed excellent design management and leadership qualities, and who had exceptional brand strategy expertise. We helped the client select the one who demonstrated the expertise and experience to strategically position, launch and shepherd brands through this level of transition. Ironically, the candidate was neither Asian or from the same industry. But they were the most qualified and possessed the most relevant brand strategy positioning expertise for this pivotal role.
Yeh IDeology’s unique ability to assess clients and identify their needs beyond their immediate awareness enabled us to help our client reach their goals. We understand that our clients don’t always know what they need when they come to us. That’s why we do much more than place candidates. We provide consultation, due diligence, company analysis, and a strategic approach. We take the time to get it right, thereby respecting clients and candidates alike, and benefiting all parties.
CASE STUDY 4
Helping a Company Acknowledge the Value of Talent in Tangible and Advantageous Ways
Yeh IDeology found the exact talent candidates at an optimal stage of career growth who would be ideal for evolving an already successful company, and encouraged the wisdom of commensurate compensation. We applied our deep understanding of the various ways that consultancies grow, and identified appropriate creatives who could enhance and expand the firm’s business while supporting existing service offerings.
Our client is one of the world’s top industrial design consultancies, and is internationally known for consumer product specialization. While strong and successful, our client understood the importance of constantly innovating in order to be a top competitor in the ever-changing design industry. They sought to incorporate design research and strategy in a consultancy built on classic industrial design.
When a company’s focused philosophy and methodology are signature to its success, trying something new to promote evolution can cause growing pains. Change can be more challenging for companies than for individuals. So much is at stake, and one element of change often impacts multiple business aspects.
Yeh IDeology understands the subtle planning required to smooth transitions, and the talent types appropriate for effecting this gradual change. We took time to present our client with key candidates who were strongly skilled in various levels of industrial design as well as in design research and strategy. We identified those candidates who could help the company segue from existing to new capabilities, and determined that this connection was an appropriate next career step for them in order to ensure long-term, multiple stage growth opportunities for company and candidate alike.
The top candidates we identified to help this firm branch out into new service offerings had a variety of growth and compensation needs. Most individuals have a basic understanding of their industry value. A few overestimate their value, and some underestimate the value they bring to an employer. Most individuals hope to realize continual growth and development within a company. Our awareness of the client’s budget and the value of change to the company enabled us to ensure that the chosen candidates received a compensation package and growth plan in keeping with their career path goals.