How consultants helped a client steal Christmas

Dave Machin, Partner at The Berkeley Partnership, spoke to the MCA about his recent work in changing the image of a difficult client.

How did you come to work for The Grinch?

Well that was the odd thing. The ITT we received was incomprehensible, largely consisting of some groans and moans daubed on a piece of old newspaper. We understood quickly however that the client had some image and process problems, and would benefit from some help with change management. So we decided to pay him an initial visit and, owing to our unrivalled capabilities, but mostly because one of our team presented the bid entirely in rhyming couplets, we got the job.

What problems did you find?

Mobilisation was very difficult. It would be fair to say that the Old Grinchiclaus was not the most collaborative client. The client site, a cave above the town of Whoville, was ill-adapted to our needs. No wifi, no whiteboards, no decent coffee. And there were some rough moments. Early on, instead of welcoming us or outlining the requirement, Mr Grinch simply threw rubbish at us, as well as snowballs, blocks of ice and on one occasion his dog Max.

What did you do?

Initially we focused on logistics, supply chains and sourcing. The Grinch’s BAU approach to getting hold of products and raw materials was to ride down the Whoville mountainside on one day of the year, Christmas Eve in fact, and take what he needed from the Whoville residents’ houses. It was clear that The Grinch didn’t really see the Whos as in any way customers or even stakeholders, and certainly wasn’t in a position to partner with them. Indeed, one of our brighter consultants pointed out that his methods had a possible reputational downside and potential regulatory risk as this could be seen as illegal.

It was real hands on stuff. Our team climbed down chimneys. We helped The Grinch stockpile a range of goods and later sorted into a more systematised inventory than The Grinch’s “big heap” approach. Critically, we improved gather, collect and transport efficiency in getting back up the mountain by a staggering 3%.

Was there anything good about his approach?

Well, what we found surprised us. The Grinch was at once a classic disruptor and a catalyst for change.

What do you mean?
Well, far from being angry and upset, the Whos turned out to be willing collaborators. On discovering that The Grinch had their stuff, they started to sing and dance. This optimisation of utility was hard to ignore. So rather than challenge The Grinch about legality or image, we decided to help him reach bigger markets.



Well communities outside the Whoville area can now access Grinch services through a range of digital options, from video conferencing, webinars and other forms of virtualisation. Indeed, much of the value people purchase now is digital – music downloads, for example. We’re helping develop the Grinch app, so the Whos (and indeed anyone else) can ensure that all their music libraries, the memory on their smartphone, and all the contents of their hard discs can be made over to The Grinch at the push of a button.

Sounds great. Any plans for the future?

It seems The Grinch is very excited about going global. He’s hoping to move into sustainability, exploiting his green credentials and the potential for product recycling built into his business model. And next year we will launch Grinch Cloud, giving our client unlimited storage potential. This will allow him to take and archive virtually everything from everyone, allowing everyone to sing, and dance and remind themselves of the true meaning of Christmas.

Which is?

Erm, I’m not close to the detail on this, but it’s something about comfort and joy.