Monday Mornings with Madison

Monthly Archives:
August 2012

What Drives A Brand’s Value?

Given the global marketplace and the pervasive impact of technology on reputation, a company’s brand is increasingly becoming a major factor in its success. While most business owners and managers understand the general importance of a company’s brand, they are a little less clear on what can increase or decrease a brand’s value. Most business owners don’t know how to go about increasing and leveraging the worth of its company’s brand.

To better understand brands, let’s consider what factors are used to evaluate the biggest mega-brands. There are now a number of brand consultants that conduct surveys to identify and rank how the top brands are doing and how those brands are impacting corporate bottom lines. For example, Interbrand conducts an annual survey entitled 100 Best Global Brands. Milward, Brown also puts out an annual ranking of brand value entitled BrandZ’s Top 100 most Valuable Global Brands. Credit Suisse also issues an annual report called Great Brands. There are many other such reports.

Each of the rankings looks to monetize the value of a company’s brand. The factors assessed vary from survey to survey. They are also weighted differently according to industry or category. That said, the major surveys are based on hundreds of thousands of interviews examining tens of thousands of brands globally. They parse billions of pieces of data that are then calculated to generate a brand value score for each company. They examine the point where a company’s sales, marketing, operations and financials collide with public perception. So what factors do these brand experts consider in calculating a brand’s value? Continue reading

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Brand Reputation: Ruins, Revivals and Damage-Resistant Part 2: Brand Redemption vs. Teflon Brand

A company’s brand is the class of goods or services identified by name as belonging to that particular company. Like an invisible branding iron, a company’s brand is the personification of its reputation and public cache. A positive brand can be leveraged — much like cash reserves — to take a company to new heights. A negative brand is like a ball and chain around the company’s every move.

Sometimes, when a company’s reputation takes a beating – usually due to their own mistakes or wrongdoing – they opt to dump their brand and start fresh. As we saw last week, sometimes it works. But if the problems that caused the brand to tarnish continue, then rebranding is futile. That is why some companies choose to stick with their brand – troubles and all – and work to restore the brand’s reputation and image. It is usually not an easy task.

Interestingly, not all corporate wrongdoing causes brand damage. There are companies that do wrong or cause harm and yet their reputations and brands continue practically untouched. For marketers, it can be puzzling to grasp why some brands are more easily damaged than others. To get a better picture of how brands can rise from the ashes or manage to go through a firestorm unscathed requires analysis. Let’s take a look at two companies that were caught doing wrong. For one company, its reputation plummeted and it took a lot of time and effort for the reputation to be restored. For the other company, its reputation was hardly affected. Continue reading

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Brand Reputation: Ruins, Revivals and Damage-Resistant Part 1: Rebranding Strategy

It used to be that a company’s reputation was based on the overall quality of the products or services it delivered, the value it provided, and the customer service it conveyed. Gaffs were generally forgotten over time. Sometimes, customers never even heard about minor issues in quality or service.

That is no longer the case. Television and radio made it easier for customers to become aware of any major company defects in quality, value or performance. Computers, the Internet and social media added to the public scrutiny of most any company’s brand and reputation. Today, companies must be exceedingly careful in protecting their reputation and brand.

Brand reputation is an integral part of a company’s strength or weakness. In some cases, a badly dinged reputation can add the final ‘f’ that turns an ailing brand into a failing brand. But a bad reputation does not always lead to brand death. Some companies have succeeded in redeeming badly damaged brands while other companies are able to sail through major corporate blunders with barely a scratch to its Teflon reputation. What makes a company’s brand either vulnerable or impermeable to reputation problems? Why do some corporate reputations end in ruin while others can be revived and still others are simply impervious? Continue reading

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Sometimes All That Is Needed Is A Fresh Start

Recently, the IRS rolled out a new “Fresh Start’ program offering to wave failure-to-pay tax penalties for those who have been unemployed. The idea was to give people who have fallen behind on their taxes the chance to get their financial house in order and start fresh. To qualify, the person must have:
• been an employee who was unemployed for at least 30 consecutive days between January 1, 2011 and April 17, 2012,
• been self-employed with a 25% or higher reduction in business income in 2011
• had income that did not exceed $200,000 if filing jointly, or $100,000 for single or head of household, or
• had 2011 taxes due not exceeding $50,000.

With this program, the IRS understood that a ‘fresh start’ can be an empowering, uplifting and engaging force in life. The opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start again can give those who are tired and forlorn a renewed sense of hope and energy. Moving to a new town. Going to a new school. Beginning a new job. These events all inspire a feeling of ‘starting anew’ that can be invigorating. Underlying it all is the chance to do more… the possibility to be better… the prospect of improving in areas where one fell short in the past. But the concept of a ‘fresh start’ is not limited to people, programs and time. Companies also understand the power of a ‘fresh start.’ Embracing the concept, businesses have used the notion of a ‘fresh start’ to jumpstart areas of business that have lost focus, pep, or luster. Continue reading

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