Is it a case of arrogance or ignorance when companies downplay the benefit of having a prominent brand profile? It may be arrogance in terms of believing your business will succeed without a brand profile. Or it might be ignorance in terms of believing your business doesn’t need a brand profile to succeed. Either way, in the current market environment, one plagued by ongoing uncertainty, it must surely make sense to improve the chances of business success by raising your company’s brand profile.
Another common refrain is that if size is all that counts, why bother with brand building? The answer might be that size alone does not guarantee success. Why, for example, is one of Australia’s largest industry super funds such a strong proponent of the importance of building and maintaining a strong brand profile. Put simply, this Fund appreciates the benefits that come from having a market leading reputation built on more than size.
On the other hand a fund manager winning plenty of institutional mandates may consider building a brand profile to be a low priority. However the counter view would be that the fund manager is underestimating the “intangible” benefits of branding. If you were to ask the institutional clients of a fund manager if it helps for the fund manager to have a strong brand profile, the answer may come as a surprise.
By way of example, if the institutional client operates a multi-manager platform targeting retail investors, the appointment of a high profile fund manager can only assist the client in selling their multi-manager platform to dealer groups. The fund manager may not believe that their brand profile is of any consequence, but that overlooks the sales chain involved. The end users of the multi-manager platform comprise dealer groups housing financial planners, who in turn are advising retail investors. At each link in the chain it helps if the fund manager has a well regarded brand profile. The task of selling the multi-manager platform to dealer groups is made easier if the fund managers on the platform have solid, recognisable names. Likewise, the financial planners’ advisory role is helped if they can they can point to high profile managers on the platform and similarly it must also help the planner if their retail investor recognises the high profile managers being recommended for investment.
This view on the importance of brand profile was reinforced recently by the chief investment officer of a major multi manager platform. Commenting on his approach to manager selection, the CIO indicated that given the choice between two top-performing fund managers – one manager with a high brand profile and the other with no brand profile – the CIO would opt for the high profile manager.
The role that an effective PR strategy can play in improving brand profile can not be over-estimated. Successful companies recognise the value in having a “bank of reputation goodwill”. Building that bank of goodwill does not happen overnight. Clever corporates have invested through PR strategies over the longer term to develop and enhance their reputation. A company’s reputation is constantly evolving in the eyes of investors and consumers alike. For this reason, it is vital for corporates to regularly visit how they are perceived by stakeholders in order to address issues or weaknesses as they arise.