12. Red Flag: The name game

Losing money isn't child's play. Mattel, which considers itself a leading authority on fun, should know.

Mattel Losing money isn't child's play. Mattel, which considers itself a leading authority on fun, should know. The company wanted a spiffy new brand identity for its online store, Shopmattel.com. "I knew that if we didn't have a name, we had nothing," says Marc Rhatigan, marketing director for Mattel. Partly to please upper management, the company hired a leading international branding consultant with a widespread reputation. Unfortunately, the reputation was more promising than the result. "It felt very canned, a dog-and-pony-show," says Rhatigan. Despite an elaborate branding process, nothing resonated with the company and Mattel ended up calling Idiom, a regional two-person name-consulting firm, to salvage the project.

Lessons Learned: Bigger isn't always better. After tossing out $30,000, Mattel went to a smaller consultant that cost it a fraction of what the big-name firm charged.


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11. Technology consultants

13. Top technology consultants

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