Give analysts insight

They think of it only in simplistic terms/ communications and ad campaigns. They know growth drives shareholder value, but they more naturally default to the primary drivers of their discipline – cutting costs and executing M&A deals – as that’s where quick short-term impact can be felt.

Balance Sheet
Balance sheet: Needs marketing

But marketers appreciate the expert skills needed to drive top-line growth over the short and long term by engaging the whole organisation in delivering superior customer value, which is a far more challenging and rewarding task. Driving this type of growth makes a tangible contribution to shareholder value, but it also enhances the equally important “stakeholder value” of customers, employees and society as a whole.

Some best-in-class companies are already sharing their knowledge of marketing and their brand building initiatives with analysts. Perhaps more should start to do so.

There has been a lot of recent focus on how marketers need to become more financially literate, but it is equally vital that financiers become far more customer and brand aware.

If they looked more closely at companies investing in marketing capabilities to build strong brands and drive top-line, demand-led growth, they might get a different perspective on the true value of what they are buying and selling. It’s been said that if Cadbury had added the combined value of its much-loved brands – about £3.2bn – to its balance sheet, Kraft might have needed to pay a lot more than a glass and a half in every pound.

Andy Bird and Mhairi McEwan, co-founders/joint managing directors, Brand Learning

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