CBI MSB summit 1st December 2014 – Helping the UK’s mid-market firms realise their potential.

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CBI MSB summit 1st December 2014 – Helping the UK’s mid-market firms realise their potential.

This was the inaugural event hosted by the CBI with the aim of helping the UK’s mid-market firms reach their potential. One of the speakers was Rita Clifton CBE, Chair, Populus. She is a brand practitioner and covers all aspects of branding, including personal and nation branding, branding in the digital age and how to build a world class brand. Her topic on Monday was:

The importance of brands in the digital age

Rita started by saying that a brand is a living business asset, it is also an organising principle informing every decision and interaction to build a consistent set of ideas to deliver business. People die, buildings fall down but the brand continues.

The role of the brand is just as important for B2B as B2C, to help grow and deliver sustainable business. There is no distinction between all the functional areas of business and brand. For example, Glassdoor.com exposes what your employees think of your brand from their interaction across the whole business.

Nokia was a product company when it should have been about connecting people. It was a top ten brand but they did not think sufficiently broadly about their brand.

Apple is about humanising technology and making it stylish, they have made nerds into genius’ in Apple stores and now has the highest profitability of any store world-wide.

The premise of brands using social media messaging; is all about connecting with the people who love you and sharing and promoting their positive word. But people can also just as easily share negative experiences, through sites such as glassdoor.com. You have to be in the social media to respond and manage your brand.

BMW brand academies are huge dealerships where everything is lined up, precise and white. They engineer not just cars but the whole experience for staff and customers, it is coherent and consistent. Of course, you have to have a great car but the brand permeates the whole way they do business and the people, that make the cars great.

Extraordinary ambition, clarity of vision and efficiencies will build and future proof business. Take Google who went from bedroom technology, to world’s leading business in only 15 years.

Make your people, ambassadors – if they trust what is going on they will tell a great story. Toyota did this when they had fatal problems with their cars. The staff went out and said what was going on to change things and make them better.

But remember the logo is not the substance of the brand, businesses have to have great products and people behind them in order to stand the test of time.


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