Howard Partners, a portfolio of expertise in response to major business issues.
Our positioning as a partner in the transformation of organizations teaches us that the most successful players shape their operational model and engage their forward-looking thinking around 16 differentiating axes.


Sustainable development

An avalanche of regulations placing social, environmental and societal responsibility at the heart of corporate communication.

The Decree of August 9th 2017 corresponds to the European Directive of October 22nd 2014 relating to the publication of non-financial information. A first approach to its implementation has been undertaken by those companies subject to this regulation, in terms of the environment, social-societal issues, the fight against corruption, and human rights.

In view of the very low eligibility thresholds (total balance sheet, turnover, and workforce), most large and middle-market companies are concerned.

Considerable in-depth work has already been initiated by a number of European regulators to enable companies to implement a holistic approach driven by corporate strategy, as well as surveillance by means of monitoring indicators ensuring corporate transparency in terms of non-financial communication.

Such in-depth work carried out by the various European authorities and work groups makes it possible to identify the Environmental, Societal and Governance (ESG) impacts and thus control the related risks by means of specific systems (Model, Governance and Reporting):

  • The European Commission, ESMA or EIOPA, on products and modeling of ESG risks;
  • The CRD and IFD Directives of the Basel Committee, on incorporation of ESG risks in risk modeling;
  • The European Banking Authority (EBA), on the risk steering and governance system;
  • The European Supervisory Authority (ESA), on pre-contractual communication;
  • The CRR and IFR Directives of the Basel Committee, on communication of risk assessment and prudential treatment.

The companies targeted by these new regulations and in-depth work have the opportunity to adapt their strategy and governance in order to build their own vision of their societal and environmental impacts.

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Operational efficiency

Corporate operational efficiency must be the source of improvement of quality of services to customers and of mobilization of collaborators.

Optimization of all operational components throughout the value chain has become the ultimate continuous improvement activity.

The panoply of means available to achieve this has expanded considerably as a result of technological innovations.

While, in the past, Lean Management was the methodology used for process review, today we also offer our clients the opportunities available using digital technologies such as RPA, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchains and their resulting applications (Voice-Chatbots, marketing automation, etc.).

To achieve this goal, we direct our steps towards the systematic search for value and quality of services for end-customers, and for gains, financial or FTE, for the stakeholders we support, while respecting the human-tool balance and the concentration of higher added-value actions on collaborators.

Operational efficiency projects often lead to cuts in staffing levels and to contractual termination. However, they do not take sufficient account of those collaborators who remain in the company and, in particular, of how their loyalty can be guaranteed in such conditions. Moreover, today, there continue to be too few investigations into the impacts on the ecosystem (customer satisfaction, collaborator environment, partner interface, performance commitment, etc.) in the transformations carried out.

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Simplification of the product offer

Responding to current economic, social and societal issues is also to respond to customers’ expectations in terms of simplification of the product offer.

Current economic, social and societal issues tend to impact the behavior of consumers, more cautious budget-wise in their consumption choices, but also, far more aware of the wrongdoings of today’s consumer society, driving an increasing number of them towards a search for simplicity and authenticity.

Moreover, this trend has accelerated in recent years due to the flood of information, increasing not only consumers’ feelings of frustration and anxiety with respect to the offer, but also their ability to decipher corporate marketing strategy.

More intelligent, informed and independent, aided in particular by digital technologies, consumers increasingly wish to take back control by giving value to simplicity and humility, experience, and the fair price of the products/services offered them, without however consuming any less. This “back to basics” conveys positive values and meaning for consumers, but also for companies seeking for opportunities for sustainable repositioning of their brands and for operational efficiency of their organization.

To respond to these new consumer demands and remain as objective as possible in identification of consumer expectations, companies need to implement:

  • In-depth reflection on the valorization of their core offer and not only an isolated part of it, as is still only too often the case today as a result of several decades of marketing based on over-equipping, 
  • A declared willingness to simplify and rethink all their offers, taking into account all the corporate components involved in this reflection, in view of the change in culture that this elicits.
  • A project approach and a governance allowing transparent decision-making processes to propose an offer focused on the basics such as they are perceived by the company’s customers, but also by consumers in the broad sense,
  • An open-minded search for personalization with the customer, in order to define more focused ranges and a well-segmented offer, clearly highlighting that the brand places its expertise at the service of customers, their issues and their needs.

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Corporate Management

In terms of group governance, there is no ideal organization. It is all a matter of matching with strategy and culture.

There are many reasons for rethinking the role of the Headquarters of companies, particularly during economic downturns: regulatory issues, search for new growth drivers, cost cutting, company mergers, etc.

Many models can be considered and there is no one solution. Most importantly, the chosen solution must serve corporate strategy. The Headquarters transformation approach must both be long-term and part of a perspective of agility and resilience of the organization as a whole.

The Headquarters must be able to identify and share opportunities at the Group’s service and avoid inappropriate influences that could generate loss of value.

The Headquarters must be careful not to assume a purely administrative Group role without any real contribution of added-value for entities and subsidiaries.

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