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ON THE 16TH AUGUST 2018, PULL HOSTED THE FIRST OF IT’S THOUGHT-PROVOKING BUSINESS OF BRAND SERIES INTO THE IMPORTANCE OF BRAND. THIS INTIMATE ROUNDTABLE FOR SENIOR MARKETERS AND BUSINESS LEADERS DISCUSSED THIS ‘SECRET WEAPON’ IN THE BATTLE FOR BUSINESS PERFORMANCE.

We’ve seen over the years, time and again, companies abandon this tool for other marketing activities without addressing what we consider to be their most important marketing asset – their brand! Inspired by an article written by Tom Roach, Managing Partner at BBH, we decided to see if we could get to the bottom of why. Tom’s article ‘Fwd to CEO: The Most Valuable Business Tool Ever Invented’, addressed the need to consider brand as a key driver for success – the ‘secret weapon’ in the battle for business performance. But therein lies the challenge, and the reason Tom wrote so eloquently in addressing his frustration.

Business of Brand

The Business of Brand round table allowed us to contemplate key themes around brand purpose, creating an experience with brand, the role of consumers as brand advocates and if brand really matter in the B2B environment?

This got us fired up. With the benefit of more years’ experience that I care to admit, I am totally convinced that the work we are doing on a day-to-day basis, expanding upon the brand strategies that our fantastic team at Pull develop, and refreshing or reimagining visual identities, absolutely makes a difference both internally and externally for our clients. We’ve seen first-hand how it can transform business and deliver success, changing minds, winning new fans and reinvigorating the workforce to name just a few benefits. Indeed, I’ve lectured to students about the power of design to make or break business and effect opinion! But it’s not enough that we believe that. We of course want businesses to recognise and value the power of their brand.

The sad truth is that many business and financial leaders don’t appreciate brand or the benefits it can bring. Not CMO’s though! A report by the Chartered Institute of Marketing stated that ‘67% of marketers thought their senior leaders didn’t get brand’. And the Journal of Brand Management went a step further by suggesting that ‘together in about 86% of firms there is some form of resistance to placing brand at the centre of their strategy’. Why is that? Well for one thing it can be challenging to prove.

Tom’s answer was to drop the ‘creative language’ and talk facts and figures, sighting some clear statistics that draw parallels between business success and brand investment. But many of his examples focussed on large corporations quoted on the stock exchange.

Marketers are up against a huge challenge in the face of leaders who are obsessed with performance marketing and a short-termist approach. It’s understandable. Pressure is huge across the board to deliver results fast and validate the business model, and as such the appetite to play the long game seems to be waning.

It starts with defining what success looks like. Is it as simple as sales? Ultimately, it must play a part – let’s be honest, that’s the end game for any investment or activity undertaken by an organisation and certainly the ROI that the CFO is looking for. But then there are many more challenging concepts to consider; reputation, sentiment, awareness, recall etc. Digital activities are of course easier to reflect through analytics, but they don’t tell the whole story and it’s clear these other concepts are drivers to purchase and ultimately business performance.

One thing is clear though, as reported by Willie Shoeman from North-West University, ‘until accountants reflect brand value on the balance sheet, CFO’s won’t take it seriously’. What if you could you measure ‘brand purpose equity’? If you could you’d be measuring something that’s immensely powerful. As an agency, when we’re trying to convince a client to architect a meaningful brand, yet they don’t believe in it, where can you go? Imagine being able to prove to them they have a negative purpose equity!

Ultimately, we need to find a way to show business leaders that a long-term strategy and investment in brand is where the wise money is spent. Not in short term goals that are difficult to sustain, but in discovering and communicating authentic, believable purpose through a brand that customers are enthused by and can believe in. That’s where long-term growth lies, and where the promise of big rewards wait to be uncovered.

GET YOUR COPY OF THE REPORT

 

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