Companies that tie brand development to top-level corporate goals deliver better shareholder value and build stronger brands, according to a report published by Cutting Edge Information.
The report asserts that brand management should look beyond marketing to include a variety of business functions, including product development, customer management and human resources administration.
The world's top ten brands are all worth more than US$20 billion, according to Cutting Edge. Companies such as Coca-Cola, Southwest Airlines, Ford, IBM, Budweiser, Nokia, Wal-Mart and McDonald's all treat their brands as major corporate assets, with influence beyond just the usual marketing concerns.
The report, Maximizing Your Brand Value, details brand management practices from 45 companies across 14 industries, and describes 50 different metrics that show how companies are marrying strong branding strategy with effective execution.
"Companies from every sector embrace the simple concept that their reputations for service and quality - a good approximation of brand - are critical for attracting and keeping customers," said Cutting Edge Information CEO Jason Richardson. "Managing service and quality, as shown in this report, becomes the focus of all functions across the entire organisation."
According to the report, one financial services company built up its reputation for first-rate service in order to gain attention from suitors interested in a merger, while a popular beverage manufacturer linked itself to civic branding efforts to improve both city and company brand value.
Learning by example
The report profiles the brand management strategies from many of the world's best-known companies, and aims to help businesses to:
· Design a brand management plan
· Execute that plan with discipline
· Incorporate brand management throughout the business
· Build brand management into the corporate culture
· Align brand management with company strategies