CASE STORY / Summit Executive Resources
Helping Top Executives Reach New Heights
When Summit Executive Resources came to us, they believed they had an idea that could revolutionize executive search. Retained search is broken — it costs companies too much, takes too long and produces an uneven pool of candidates. Worse, traditional search removes the executives from the process entirely, putting all control and influence in the hands of the search firms and hiring companies.
Melissa Henderson, Summit’s CEO and President, had a better idea. Why not represent C-level executives directly, much like a high-end sports agent? Executives in the technology would pay Summit a flat fee to receive high-touch service, personal introductions to technology companies and venture firms around the world, and coaching. Hiring companies would get access to fully vetted, perfectly-suited candidates — at no cost! And the executives would receive the personalized service they deserve and direct access to companies they want to work for.
But Summit needed a brand strategy, identity and messaging platform that would support their new model — one that would provide credibility and momentum in the marketplace. They needed to tell their story in a compelling way. And they needed to know with certainty that they were providing a service that executives and technology companies wanted.
To better understand the opportunities and challenges in the marketplace, Hinge conducted a detailed competitive landscape review and interviews with key audiences. A primary objective of this research was make sure the market was ready for this radical change.
Once we had validation, we then formulated a positioning and messaging platform that would present the firm most advantageously in the marketplace. The messaging included a carefully worded positioning platform that would support all subsequent messages and content; a detailed messaging architecture consisting of objections, responses and proof points targeted at their various audiences; and a new tagline.
Next we tackled the firm’s brand identity, creating a new logo and stationery package that fit their image as a high-end service provider. We also designed, developed and wrote Summit’s new website, which explains the executive agent model to three specific audiences: C-level executives, hiring technology firms and venture & private equity firms.
Since launching its executive agent model, Summit Executive Resources has experienced phenomenal success, placing top C-level executives in major technology firms across the nation and in India. The average time to placement is three months — a fraction of the time it takes to place an executive through traditional retained search.
“We would not be here today, pioneering this new business, without having that strategy right,” says Henderson. “We’ve seen a dramatic growth in our business.” Hinge continues to work closely with this up-and-coming firm as it refines its go-to-market strategy and grows.