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#1 Boutique
10/05/2010 09:15


Which are the Firms that the term 'Boutique Strategy' applies to most accurately? Which are the most prestigious boutiques?


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#2 RE: Boutique
10/05/2010 10:27

Mars A Day to B (#1)

B you need to get a life.

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#3 RE: Boutique
10/05/2010 13:20

B to Mars A Day (#2)


did I or my straightforward question offend you in any way?

I am not in Consulting but researching strat firms and keep hearing the term banded about a lot, which prompted my question.

A 2 sentence answer would have been helpful and appreciated.

Isn't that what the Forum is for?

You have changed.

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#4 RE: Boutique
10/05/2010 14:09

Mars A Day to B (#3)

You can apply the term 'boutique' as freely as 'small car'. If you are looking at strat houses MBB are not themselves boutiques, stand them next to Accenture or IBM and they suddenly look rather like boutiques.

The problem is that you can freely apply this term to tier 2 (so called) strat firms like LEK, Monitor, Wyman, Roland Berger etc and none are actually 'boutiques'. A real boutique in the strict sense would be small operations with a strict definition of their expertise - and they are hard to identify - so I would point to firms like Cairneagle or Cairnforth, State of Flux, Efficio, Inzenka, Capco etc as being 'boutiques' at the larger end of the scale.

Essentially you will hear this term bandied about but it really only applies - technically - to firm which are first and foremost 'lifestyle' businesses, which none of the above are - or small organisations (which many are).

I.e. is the new BMW Mini a small car? Looks larger than the old mini, bigger than a Fiat 500, but smaller than a BMW 3 series (and is THAT a small car? Compare to 5 series? ad nauseum).

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#5 RE: Boutique
10/05/2010 15:40

Tony Restell ( to Mars A Day (#4)

Building on the points Mars has made, I would say the major strategy brands can all be characterised as serving all major geographical markets and serving all major sectors. They are likely to be well-known brand names to businesspeople across the world and across sectors.

I would characterise boutique firms as having restricted themselves to serving only a small subset of sectors or a small subset of geographies (or both). As such they are unlikely to be known by businesspeople outside of those geographies or sectors. Equally they will not be able to offer a consultant the scope to work globally across a set of client accounts in varied industries; but they will be able to offer a focus on an industry or geography that you probably wouldn't enjoy with one of the major global strategy brands.

By definition - at least by my definition above - a boutique cannot be "prestigious" outside of the small population of businesspeople that you could expect to know such a firm; and as such comparisons or rankings are very hard to make.

Say you have a retail strategy boutique in Paris and a new media strategy boutique in London. Which is the more prestigious? Well none of the clients of one firm will have heard of the other firm; and none of the employees of one firm will have heard of the other firm; and the two firms will never go head to head in trying to win work. So which is the more prestigious?!

The only criteria I can think of to assess such firms would be: 1) what is the academic calibre of people that the firm is attracting as hires (are the people on a par with a McKinsey or Bain?); 2) how prestigious is the client list of the firm and is it genuinely advising on the most critical strategic projects; and 3) are the billing rates and average annual fees per consultant on a par with top strategy firms in that geography?

Hope this helps

Tony Restell

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#6 RE: Boutique
10/05/2010 16:30

B to Tony Restell ( (#5)

Definitely does.

Thanks very much, both Mars and Tony for such a detailed and helpful response.

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