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Operationalizing bravery through brand strength

Interbrand’s Best Global Brands are enduring proof that investment in long-term brand-building enables businesses to thrive over time and survive market volatility. Year after year, Interbrand’s brand valuation analysis has shown that strong brands are powerful business assets that deliver a sustainable competitive advantage, enabling companies to outperform the competition and accelerate growth.

In fact, an index of the businesses behind the Best Global Brands (the ‘Best Global Brands Index’) consistently outperforms leading benchmarks such as MSCI World, S&P 500, and Nasdaq.

Closer inspection of the Best Global Brands Index performance shows it falling by less than these benchmarks in the two big downturns since 2000 (when we first launched our study), as well as significantly outperforming them during the upturns, which is evidence that strong brands act as accelerators for businesses in periods of recovery and growth.

Despite this, the rise of digital channels and data-driven marketing, with its immediate feedback loops, has undoubtedly resulted in an increased tendency to focus on short-term marketing KPIs (likes, follows, clicks, retweets, views, etc.) and sales impacts of marketing activities. It has also raised expectations among the C-Suite that all investments, including brand-building, should have a quantifiable ROI. Yet, research shows that businesses that have a longer-term mindset perform better financially than their short-term focused peers.

Short-term ROI doesn’t always lead to long-term brand and business value creation. The key is to balance the activities that will deliver short-term results, with brand-building that cultivates higher recall and stronger relationships with customers, leading to more choice, loyalty, and profitability. Companies must not lose sight of their long-term goals, their ‘north star,’ while at the same time navigating short-term complexity and volatility.

Therefore, it is more important than ever to be able to construct a compelling and robust business case for investment. A thorough economic analysis of the business and brand enables marketers to quantify the anticipated behavioral and commercial impact of brand initiatives and investments. CMOs can combat the prevailing focus on tactical short-termism by presenting a convincing case for brand-building, one that attracts the attention—and buy-in—of their CFOs.

Pioneered and evolved over decades as an integral component of our industry-leading brand valuation methodology, Interbrand’s 10 Brand Strength factors are the key to the sustainable growth and systematic management of brands. Each factor represents a potential lever of growth. A Brand Strength evaluation uncovers the biggest brand opportunities and risks within a business, as well as generating the required consensus internally on the quick-wins and longer-term initiatives necessary to move forward.

The resulting insights, roadmap, and case for change provide the foundation that enables bold and brave decisions to be taken and activated, helping companies to grow faster than the market over the long-term.

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