XT … Brands, Capital and Crises

Rita Clifton CBE, BrandCap, and former Chairman, Interbrand

There have been plenty of crises in recent years, in the financial, food and automobile sectors to name a few. How have branded companies fared and what lessons can be learnt with the benefit of hindsight?

Rita looks at a few of these crises and concludes that the brand element is often overlooked until it is too late. People on the inside may well know that things are going off the rails well before the outside world but do those in the boardroom have the right tools to spot problems early on? By the time the problem shows up in the financial figures it is too late.

Good risk management is good brand management, and vice versa, but few at board level yet see it that way. The very best brand management is about building something that will generate not only sustainable value but also sustainable influence and support. The security of demand and of customer relationships that result help the proactive management of risk.

The very best companies are now seeing branding as the organising idea for the whole business, penetrating everything the company does. Brands are the most sustainable assets of any organisation, worth somewhere between 20% and 30% of the global economy, so it makes sense for them to be the organising idea for all the other assets, making sure they work better and deliver competitive advantage.

The lecture concludes by drawing out some common characteristics from amongst the world’s most valuable brands and passing a critical eye of the UK’s performance as a place to build brands.

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