Business growth starts with boosting brand’s boardroom status, say UK CEOs
Despite 90 per cent of UK-based CEOs insisting that ‘brand’ is key to business growth, research into the mid-sized business (MSB) sector shows that it regularly fails to make the boardroom agenda.
We’ve travelled the length and breadth of the UK to interview leaders at 42 major MSBs on their perception of brand. Some nine out of 10 business leaders insisted their brand identity is fundamental to the operation of their business.
However, with 78 per cent of interviewees agreeing that business strategy and brand strategy are interdependent, the importance of brand is loud and clear.
When asked how often brand appeared on the boardroom agenda, an alarming 61 per cent replied ‘never’, with only 11 per cent citing ‘every time’. This was in spite of 58 per cent of CEOs stating their brand was managed internally by the board.
Meanwhile, only 28 per cent of CEOs believed that a brand should impact every department, with 69 per cent saying brand only needed to impact the sales and marketing divisions.
Yet perceptions of brand’s function within a business remains unclear, with many leaders still misinterpreting brand as a ‘project’ rather than the lifeblood of the organisation. For example, 50 per cent of the MSBs surveyed admitted that they have never tracked the performance of their brand.
Commenting on the findings, Giles Redmayne, Business Director at Purpose, said: “While the vast majority of CEOs understand brand to be one of the most important aspects of their business, the culture of brand is clearly lacking within organisations. A renewed focus on brand can only come from the top down and CEOs need to ensure that they align their board to this vision.
“Placing the issue of brand at the heart of the management team, simply by making it a boardroom discussion point, allows leaders to ensure the business has direction and give consistent clarity to customers, markets, investors and talent. A brand strategy which is driven from the boardroom will also provide a sharp focus for behaviours, processes, products and priorities, which will in turn drive efficiency.”
He added: “Brand isn’t something that is ‘nice to have’, it’s integral to the success of any business of any size. Though there is an understanding among the UK’s CEO community of how important brand is, there’s a clear disconnect between how they perceive their business to be and how it is actually being perceived in their marketplace. For brand to work to its full potential, CEOs should be immersing themselves at every step of the way, understand how the organisation is being seen through the eyes of their customers, and ensure that it is high on the corporate agenda.”
The respondents were CEOs of companies with turnovers ranging from £20m to £450m, spanning multiple sectors including transport, healthcare, insurance, finance, recruitment, software, charity, education, retail and leisure.