In Part 1 of this blog series, we took a look at the connection between a strong brand and enhanced company value – particularly when considering private equity investment. We also shared some steps with you that should help you to start considering the ingredients to brand strength within your enterprise.
Why invest the time in fortifying your brand now? We can heed the example of someone who has mastered brand ubiquity, Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. He never overlooked the value of the brand, famously saying, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you're not in the room.” Bezos advocates that a strong brand is what will grow your business – and keep it on a healthy track.
This view is echoed by David Cancel, five-time founder and CEO of Drift, a conversation-driven marketing and sales platform. Cancel shared in a recent article that, when building a SaaS company today, one can’t expect to win on features – it has to be on brand.
According to Brand Finance, there’s a measurable correlation between brand strength and revenue growth. They noted that the creation of a strong brand, for the companies they analyzed, led to a 200 percent rate of return over the S&P average. This is likely why, according to a recent survey from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, B2B companies are growing their brand-building budgets at greater rates than their counterparts at B2C businesses.
I’ve personally observed great brand-building results while engaged with a technology B2B company that had been flying under the radar. Its marketing was limited to a few trade shows – and stale, static content dominated its website. To help grow the business, we developed and implemented a pinpoint strategy to raise brand visibility, while shedding less impactful strategies to ensure we stayed within budget. Targeted outreach and a refreshed website served as a foundation for market expansion. The result? Revenue growth of 3X and eventual acquisition by private equity -- at a 45 percent premium. An extra benefit from a visible brand was improvement in the company’s ability to recruit great talent, particularly in Asia and India, where the company previously had low brand visibility.
During another engagement, I was working with the company leadership to transform its stalled business model. We determined that a brand overhaul which included a clearer definition of the customer value proposition was needed to foster greater competition in the marketplace, and a return to growth. With buy-in from leadership, and by effectively engaging outside marketing partners, we positioned the company as innovative, collaborative, agile, and customer-focused through a new website, new content supported with proof points, and a compelling media engagement strategy. As a result, the company achieved 20 percent CAGR, grew a new business segment from zero to $100M in two years, experienced 3X and 5X growth in new markets, and was acquired by private equity.
There are specific actions you can take to help your brand drive these kinds of results. After you’ve completed the brand definition exercise in Part 1, it’s time to put your findings into action, using the following four steps to amplify your market value:
In a competitive digital age, many of today’s technology organizations have similar products and services. By following this succinct branding plan, your company will gear up for growth by effectively showcasing who you are, what makes you unique, why that matters to customers and why investors, strategic buyers and private equity firms should be interested in your business.