Corporate Eye

Raising the Importance of Brand to Corporate Executives

In a recent study by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and Interbrand, 118 marketing officers and senior marketing executives were surveyed about brand value in their organizations.  The results are quite disappointing in that 55% of senior marketing executives do not have a quantitative understanding of brand value within their companies.  That’s a brand gap that needs to be closed!

Since executives don’t understand the importance of branding and don’t know how to quantify it, 64% of the surveyed marketers stated that brands have no influence over decision-making within their companies.  That’s a huge missed opportunity for these companies!

Despite the brand gap, senior management at 80% of these companies are demanding that marketers prove that branding investments boost company profits.  It’s amazing to me that in this day and age anyone can not understand how developing a strong brand can take a business to the next level.  Look at Apple!

Why do respondents to the survey believe that brands don’t have an impact on corporate decision-making?  Check out the reasons below (and the percentage of respondents who cited each reason) adapted from an article on

  • 51% – incentives that don’t support brand importance
  • 49% – inability to prove the brand’s financial benefit
  • 40% – existing brand expertise is not widely accepted
  • 39% – metrics don’t support the brand’s importance
  • 32% – budgets are focused on communications activities
  • 28% – brand is not included in the “sphere of influence”
  • 15% – branding expertise does not yet exist

What can we learn from this study?  Of course, finding a way to quantify the return on investment for branding initiatives would help, but so much of branding is about creating intrinsic value and an intangible awareness and loyalty that it will never be a perfect science.  Perhaps analyzing companies that have grown and thrived thanks to developing a strong brand and benchmarking the strategies of those companies is the key.  Can anyone argue against the fact that much of Apple’s success has come from its branding initiatives? 

How do you convince senior management at your organization that branding is a critical part of a company’s long-term success?  What has worked for you?  Leave a comment and share your suggestions.

Image: Flickr

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.