Managing brands in recession: a CEO responsibility

Chris Halliburton

Unfortunately, the value of brands, both in the consumer's mind as well as on the balance sheet, is not always reflected in the time and attention given by many companies' top management. In a recent EIU study, 'Guarding the Brand', the senior executives ranked the corporate brand as the third most important corporate asset after human capital and an established customer base. However, worryingly, only 40% of the sample felt that senior executives 'paid only lip service to brand considerations'

Brands are arguably the key assets that a company possesses and they should therefore be a top-priority for senior management and not seen as something left solely to the marketing department. They represent the embodiment of a company's differentiation and positioning. For service businesses, the organisation and its people are the brand. So in a downturn it is even more crucial to maintain, and if possible to build, brand equity – as President Obama's Chief of Staff put it: 'You never let a serious crisis go to waste … It's an opportunity to do things that you could not do before'.