We've been doing quite a lot of benchmarking work here recently on behalf of a couple of clients. And the question that keeps coming up is how should a global IC function manage itself?
There are two aspects to the question;
- what are the things that we should take into account when thinking about the shape of the function?
- what models do people use to manage the global function?
The factors that shape a global function are probably fairly obvious but are worth drawing out. The questions to ask include:
- Where should Control rest? are we an organisation that is highly centralised or is there a lot of local autonomy? And what does that mean for how communications should be run?
- How much interpretation do our Messages need? Are we a simple business, like an FMCG brand, where no one really needs the brand explaining to them or a more complex B2B operation where local market context has to be added?
- How complicated do our Channels need to be? Are we a simple business that can get away with just a few reliable tools or are there big differences between markets and work patterns requiring lots of customisation?
- What is the Leadership mindset - are they globally minded or is it all a bit parochial?
- What is the local Execution capability? Do we need a central production team, or a world-wide events management operation to save costs or to ensure that things happen.
Clearly these all lie on top of fundamental questions about cultural diversity or the range of languages spoken inside the business.
So what models do people use?
In our desk research I uncovered some material we used to use when we set up the original Black belt course. One great document identified nearly a dozen different models explaining how people managed the function -it suggested a continuum from centralised control to complete outsourcing.
I won't describe these models in detail - I'll save that to inflict on you another day. But a few features are worth mentioning as challenges to think about:
- Where's the cost?
- Where's the value being added?
- What are the capabilities of local comms people?
- What are the capabilities of local leaders?
- Can some of the work be outsourced or centralised?
- Is there any scope for a centre of excellence or two?
- Will one size fit all (or do you need a two-speed model)?
Food for thought?