19 March, 2012 - 10:46 By News Desk


Imagine you’re interviewing a candidate for a job. You usher them to a chair and after the usual formalities you lean forward expectantly and say “So then, tell us about yourself.”

“Well, there’s not much to say really” he replies. “I guess I’m much the same as the next man.”

“So what is your professional background?” you ask with an effort at politeness. “Oh, this and that.” he says.

“So do you actually have any experience in this field?” you ask more pointedly, the first signs of strain beginning to tighten your jaw. “Why exactly are you applying for this post?”

“Well, I thought I ought to put myself on the market,” he replies. “I’m a bit slack at the moment and the extra money would come in useful.”

OK, you’ve heard enough. As a prospective employee you’ve just vaporised and consigned him to oblivion. But suppose he’s not a potential employee but a potential customer, and he’s come to ask you to design his website.

“So, tell me about yourself,” you say, and the conversation follows exactly the same course as above.

Now if you think such a scenario is unusual you should be sitting where I’m sitting and taking the tranquillisers I’m taking. Because there are times when running a marketing consultancy has a lot in common with being a Harley Street psychiatrist – without the consolation of their fees.

Most business people today can trot out an elevator pitch without any trouble at all, and they can communicate specific offers well too! Where they fall down is in the understanding of what role communication in any form should take, to move them on as a business and improve their image.

I suppose part of the problem is that we’re finally rounding up the last of the technophobes who realise they have to have a website to retain any kind of commercial credibility – without realising quite what they need one to do, or how to go about commissioning one.

This is a pity, because the creation of a new website – or the revamp of an existing one – is a great opportunity to review a company’s vision and strategy, and set it on a new, more prosperous footing.

For it to be effective though, it means sitting down and thinking through your company aims and objectives prior to briefing anyone.

It’s not a technical issue. You don’t need to know about the inner workings of the web any more than a car driver needs to be a qualified mechanic (and in any case a good web designer will take care of that side it for you).

It’s about clear thinking and good business sense. There, I’m glad we’ve cleared the air about that. So now then, tell us about yourself …

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