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GE's brand set for 'golden age'

News, 12 August 2015

NEW YORK: General Electric, the conglomerate, is on the cusp of entering a "golden age" from a branding perspective, according to a leading executive at the company.

Linda Boff, GE's executive director/global brand marketing, discussed this topic at the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands Round Table event in New York.

"It is truly a 'golden moment' for our brand, because we have to align as a branded house, as GE, everywhere we go," she said. (For more, including why social media will be a vital outlet for the firm, read Warc's exclusive report: GE's brand approaches a "golden moment".)

A central driver supporting this trend, she further suggested, is the recalibration of the organisation's portfolio – which has long encompassed business units trading in an extremely diverse range of industries.

In the recent past, however, the firm has sold the NBC television network to Comcast, announced plans to divest the bulk of the assets associated with its GE Capital finance arm and set about selling GE Appliances.

The Fairfield, Connecticut-based enterprise is also seeking approval to buy Alston, the French energy group, for $13.5bn.

Should it succeed, GE could soon be "much simpler than … it has been in any recent time" from an internal standpoint, Boff asserted, as its activities will centre around health, transport and energy.

"That's pretty cohesive," she said. "What that will mean is the company, the GE of the very near future, will be nearly 90% industrial.

"So we are, in many ways, returning to our roots – the roots of an industrial company."

From the marketing angle, this clearly allows for a heightened level of coherence – something that was hard to achieve when its product stable spanned everything from refrigerators to real-estate finance packages.

"Brand is more important than ever," Boff said. "So that's the conversation we're having inside [GE]. It's not just a simpler portfolio … It's a single brand going to market."

Data sourced from Warc