If any business is still in any doubt that their real value lies in their brand, two major rescue deals struck in as many days should ring as a loud warning bell.
In just the last few hours, Boohoo has announced it will take over the 242 year old Debenhams brand, and website, but that it has no interest in their workforce or any of their 118 prime site high street stores which will now close. Just one day earlier, Asos.com announced it is in exclusive talks to buy the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridges and HIIT brands out of administration stating “it only wanted the brands, not their shops.”
Sure, these deals are major blows for the British High Street after decades of decline, but they also signal something more important: It’s your brand that matters most.
I bet if we looked at the balance sheet of any of these major retailers, the properties they own would be sitting proudly as assets against which they will have borrowed millions. Their brands? Probably not even a factor on the balance sheet. Yet, when push comes to shove, that’s where the value in their business lies.
So what should we learn from this? And why does it matter?
Well, put simply, whatever kind of business you are growing, your brand should be your priority investment because the brand is what will endure. The bricks and mortar will change, your model will change, the people will change. Heck, even what you make will change (recent history tells us that’s very likely!). But your brand will endure.
And by brand, we don’t mean “logo”. We mean everything that consumers think of when they think of your brand – how you look, how you behave, how you respond, what you stand for, how you talk.
In the digital media space right now, and particularly on digital channels, we are seeing an enormous amount of tactical marketing taking place, brought about by the pandemic and an understandably high level of desperation to replace lost revenues through different channels. The sheer volume and quality of communications (with sometimes little thought other than to sell, sell, sell, again and again, and again) from companies who have otherwise never behaved that way before is, potentially, doing untold damage to their brand and its reputation. And that’s probably the last thing they want to do.