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Advisory Boards

Leveraging Many Minds to Create Bright Work

Put 'em together and what have you got?  Advisory boards, if you're following the link to this page!

Advisory boards bring together stakeholders who can make a contribution to your brand. While some digital technologies have been enabling advisory boards to meet virtually, advisory boards typically convene in person, and take advantage of face to face to claim insight and answers. Most often, an advisory board is enduring - that is, participants (aka advisors) have been contracted to participate in more than one meeting or activity, and usually over a fixed duration of time (e.g., one year).

What Does an Advisory Board Do?

While every advisory board meeting should be developed with a specific purpose, there are some usual purposes that are well addressed by an advisory board:

  • Foster the development and nurturing of relationships between the brand (brand team, research & development, clinical, legal departments) and advisors
  • Serve as a vehicle for two-way communication about marketing and operations information associated with the brand(s) under consideration
  • Collect information and perceptions related to market issues and trends
  • Collect information and perceptions related to the brand(s) under consideration
  • Establish and/or build corporate presence in a category
  • Generate goodwill among advisors, who have opportunity to expand their networks and renew acquaintances

We have found that advisory boards can actually prove very creative, architecting potential value for the advisory board sponsor. Some of the notable experiences we've had with advisory boards have led to results like:

  • Providing insight into product development or refinement
  • Developing action items to strengthen bond with brand (and push out competitors)
  • Identify future research needs or product opportunities
  • Generate frameworks/criteria for new products/solutions
  • Develop guidelines and algorithms
  • Position brand vs competition
  • Evaluate marketing plans
  • Understand/assess competition
  • Identify regional issues/differences
  • Evaluate potential tactics/programs
  • Evaluate marketing materials

Aren't Advisory Boards Just Focus Groups?

The Guiding Star team differentiates between advisory boards and focus groups as follows:

  • Advisory boards are either recurring in nature (i.e., they happen with a frequency), or they have a membership that persists over more than one interaction with the sponsor
  • Sponsors can be actively involved in activities with advisory boards, which isn't commonly the case with focus groups
  • Typical meeting duration of an advisory board is half-day minimum (and we've run some as working groups that have last 3 days)

What Services Can Guiding Star Provide for Advisory Board Management?

We offer complete advisory board (and focus group) service platforms, including:

Meeting Strategy

Our team has conducted more than 100 advisory boards and focus groups in the last 5 years - and a big part of what we do that differentiates us from our competition is layering each meeting, each interaction, with strategy.  Every advisor interaction will have objectives or outcomes.  We'll craft intelligent agendas from the briefing that you provide, and more importantly, we'll show you how you can achieve your goals through the interaction methods we'll craft.  They'll talk, they'll walk (around the room, that is), they'll stalk (your competitors), they'll balk (giving the real story), and they'll have fun doing it.  Our methods routinely are evaluated by participants, who provide top marks to our friendly and all-engaging approaches to insight gathering and sharing.

Meeting Logistics

Guiding Star has the capabilities to handle all logistical aspects of your advisory board and focus group meetings. We can work with your facility, or find a suitable and memorable one for your group. We can handle pre-work distribution, invitations, travel arrangements, banquet/catering services and ground transportation.  We've got you fully covered.

Meeting Facilitation

Guiding Star Lead Guide Todd Kasenberg and talented members of his facilitation chorus of champions can directly support your needs for compassionate, energetic, and humble facilitators.  We've provided facilitation services for hundreds of meetings amongst our team. And we have the toys and technologies to make the experience memorable for your advisors. We are facilitators by intent and design.

Meeting Reporting

Exceptional meeting reporting is an absolute must - and it is routinely overlooked by most advisory board services providers.  Guiding Star will provide you with reporting that helps you make sense of the advisory board interactions that you are sponsoring.  We'll crunch data (because we do believe in a little bit of "quant"), we'll provide verbatims, we'll synthesize our famous custom flipchart interactions, and we'll give you our recommendations based on what we heard and leveraging against our experience.  Your meeting report will be meaningful and actionable.

Meeting Follow-up

We believe that an advisory board meeting is just part of the journey of an enduring advisory panel.  We have a host of interesting approaches to keeping them engaged - so that you can have deep relationships and ever-growing insight.

If you've never enjoyed the experience of having a group of your stakeholders - from physicians to farmers, from vehicle-detailers to volunteers - brought together, normed (or abnormed, given some of our antics!), and performed, then you owe it to yourself to find out how you can add this powerful tool to your marketing and operations toolbox.  Insight. Gained. Shared.