Securing investment for your brand can be a challenge because brands are not tangible assets like buildings, offices, equipment and staff. Instead they are intangible which means that, if you want to secure funding, you need to speak your investor’s language.
Over the past few decades we have worked with some of the world’s biggest brands and, interestingly, there are many parallels between the conversations global brand managers have with their boards and the conversations SMEs have with their investors.
Whether you’re trying to secure £10 million to roll out an international rebrand or £20,000 to help you enhance your brand’s digital footprint, you always have to prove that your brand is worth investing in… and that’s not always easy. My tips would be as follows.
1. Understand why your brand is valuable
It’s easy for us to say that brands are important, but it’s also a demonstrable fact. According to Brand Finance, a brand is an organisation’s largest intangible asset, making up around 20% of the value of a company. More traditional tangible assets actually contribute 45% less to a company’s value than they did 25 years ago.
The good news is, according to Reuters, that 82% of investors believe brand strength and name recognition are becoming more important in guiding them in their investment decisions. But obviously you cannot rely on that alone.
2. Present the facts
Your brand may be intangible, but you can still collect factual data to prove its worth. Whether you have teams of people looking after your digital marketing, advertising and HR, or if you’re doing everything yourself, you will have access to hard-hitting data that will provide concrete evidence of your brand’s impact.
A great way to gain insights from the data your company holds is through a brand dashboard. This will simplify your company data and help you to identify trends, which in turn will enable you to monitor changes and take action to improve your brand’s performance.
3. Be clear about what you need investment for
When it comes to your brand there are several key areas that may require investment to allow for company growth. You need to ensure that the investment is spread across those key areas to maximise impact: external communications, internal engagement, and physical and digital branded assets.
4. Streamline, manage and organise brand assets
Everyone loves a deal – and often if you better organise and manage your brand assets you will find cost savings that will allow you to enhance your brand’s performance. For example, a carefully considered and organised sourcing strategy for your high-spend 3D assets will save you time and money by creating a central point of control to manage the flow of information.
In your growth strategy you should also consider how you are going to future-proof your brand. There are tools and technology, like a brand dashboard, which will help you do this. You may not feel like this technology will be useful right now, but it’s great to plan ahead as you protect and grow this valuable asset.
5. Benchmark your brand
When putting together your business proposal, provide a comparison of your brand value against competitors. Investors needs to understand how your brand can help grow the business, and to do this you need to understand, and help them understand, where it stands in the marketplace.
You will also need to keep up to date with tools, technology, news and competitor activity insights. Financial statistics associated with these will help you validate your business case.
6. Emphasise the importance of company culture
A strong brand attracts the best talent and decreases recruitment costs, with research showing that organisations which have an incorporated brand strategy have seen a 28% decrease in overall employee turnover (Forbes 2017).
Making small changes in your business can have a ripple effect that goes on to create big changes. Here, eight businesses demonstrate just that.
If you are able to demonstrate this with examples of how your brand has brought in talent and united employees under a shared company culture, that process will stand you in good stead for the future.
When putting together your business case, ensure you keep it short, to the point, evidence-based and not emotional. Investors have limited time and essentially want to know what benefit investing in the brand will have for them.
A lot has changed in the past 25 years, so it’s your job to ensure that your investor realises the increasing importance of your brand’s intangible value to total company value. Preparing a proposition that is focused on finance and data can help you do just that.
Jo Davies is the managing director of VIM Group, a leading global brand management and brand implementation company. It helps manage brand change and enhances performance across local and international markets – both on the ground and digitally.
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