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Good branding drives business performance

Jun 28, 2019

A strong brand can increase the financial value of a company. Gillian Horan outlines how organisations can build a brand that will drive business performance.

Brand drives business performance and this is not only coming from those who love all things branding. Reuters recently released a study that indicated 82% of investors believe brand strength and name recognition are becoming more important in guiding them in their investment decisions. However, brand is not on the agenda in Irish boardrooms.

The financial value of brands is a missed opportunity for CEOs in Ireland. It is now a key decision maker. Companies need to strategically focus on building brand equity if they wish to drive business performance and increase financial value. The research speaks for itself. Strong brands outperform the market by 73% and have accounted for more than 30% of the stock market value of companies on the S&P 500 index. Brands with strong reputations generate 31% more return to shareholders than the MSCI World average, while 82% of investors believe brand strength and name recognition are the most important factors guiding their investment decisions companies. 

High performing CEOs know that a brand is not just a trademark. They understand stakeholder value, consciously decide on brand positioning and then inspire and align their people and operations to deliver. Very simply, they use their brand to fuel growth and financial performance. In these situations, brand has firmly taken its seat in the boardroom and not just from a PR or risk-management perspective. 

Four key steps to building a strong brand

Nail your brand strategy and brand identity

Brand strategy includes fully signing-off on your purpose, positioning, values, brand objectives, brand architecture, personality, vision and mission. These elements must then be reflected in your visual identity. A senior executive needs to own this step.

Involve the organisation

Once a strategy is put in place, do not leave it to gather dust. It must be implemented. The internal brand is as important as the external brand and, more importantly, they should a be true reflection of each other. Brand values are not for interior design. Employer brand is a hot topic right now. LinkedIn conducted a survey with HR managers worldwide and they concluded that 50% of candidates won’t consider a company that does not have a strong brand.

Integrate your brand through marketing and operations

Turn your strategy into actions. The senior executive team needs to work together with the head of the marketing to be clear on budget spend and return on marketing investment. Each marketing campaign should be founded on the core elements of the brand strategy and feed into building a consistent image and message for your brand.

Measurement

What gets measured gets managed. It is crucial that marketing speaks in sales metrics. Digital statistics have added to the proof element of marketing and branding; however, the C-suite team talk in sales numbers. CEOs want to know what they are getting for every euro spent and they want to know if marketing can bring this information into the board room.

Brand needs to be on the agenda in the boardroom. Irish businesses need to purposely build, prioritise and increase their investment in brand if they are to fuel growth and financial performance. Brand drives business performance. Don’t let it be a missed opportunity.

Gillian Horan is CEO of The Pudding.