Wednesday, 6 April 2011

When Hash tags go wrong

Just realized that I have made up my own #tag for 30 day blogging challenge - whoops! So I have an audience of ...... 1.  Well I did say i write for myself.

Sorry will re tweet last couple of entries.

The Career Practice

The industry for professional careers advice is similar to the estate agent business, generally people do not have a good word to say about them, even the clients that use their services, so it is nice to be able to sing the praises of one that stands out in its field.

At a senior executive level professional careers support does not come cheap, I have been approached by many firms and received "modest" quotes of five figure fees.  When you are not employed as many are currently, finance is a major issue even when money is in the bank, as the light at the end of the tunnel cannot always be seen or if it can be it cannot be discerned whether this is the end of the tunnel or simply the 07.45 Express to Glasgow.

The Career Practice is not cheap!  I have done cheap and it is nasty!  The Career Practice is value for money and was not, in cost terms, in the league of the services mentioned above.  It is, however, well in the league and at the top of it in terms of understanding of the needs of its clients, whether they are the bright and cocky ones expecting a job round the corner or the battered and bruised ones who have found the market place tough.

As part of its commitment to us, the actively seeking to develop a career, free resources are available, regardless of whether we sign up or not and you can get a free CV review, and yes this a marketing tool to get into an interaction with you, but its not heavy, no hard sell and it is always beneficial to get advice on your CV from people who see CV's and that includes head hunters you speak to.  One point on CV's is get as much advise on it as you can, but only use the advice that you feel comfortable with.  As an extreme example, it was once suggested that I use my middle name on my CV to be more acceptable (removing Kap for Jim).  Even though I am known as Jim to some, my business name is Kap and apart from that, when I turned up at interviews, i would have difficulty hiding my heritage.  Anyway, I digress.

My contact at The Career Practice is Nigel Cowdrey who is an experienced executive.  If you work with Nigel, don't think he will give you an easy ride, he won't, he is hard but fair.  I had met him before he set up The Career Practice, but having thrown off the shackles of other peoples businesses, he displays the ability to help clients mould and develop their careers.  Working alongside him are Denise Mulchrone and Crispin Reed.  Both of whom I have met and are good at their job.

I have known The Career Practice for a year now, although not registered with them and if you are looking for careers development support and advice I would put them at the top of your list to have a discussion with, I can assure you even if you do not decide to register with them it will be time well spent.

The 30 day blogging challenge

First of all it looks like I am not doing brilliantly on #The30daybloggingchallenge and have fallen a few days behind. All I can say is that i have been busy doing nothing and been quite productive at it too.

I will be trying to keep pace over the next few days if not to get on track again - I am sure you do not want three to four posts a day - but to get back on the horse and maintain the pace.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

What is a Brands Value?

I was recently asked by a friend to give him some thoughts on the value of a brand,  he had a client who was potentially merging with a larger organisation and wanted to know what the value of the brand was.

When companies are bought and sold it is very easy to value property, machines and physical assets, but how do you value something that is as subjective as a brand?

It is fine if you are a coca cola, its clear that the brand has value, just take a bottle of Coke and change the label, put it into a generic bottle, call it Kaps Cola, sell it at half the price of coke and see how quickly your brand fly's off the shelf.  Six months go back and wipe the dust off, replace it with a bottle of Coke and then go back and put stock on shelf to replace the stock that has been sold.  The brand has sold the product.
Coca Cola one of the most recognized brands on the planet with a value to match.

If, however, you are a small brand with few people having heard of you, never been invested in then is there any value in the brand?  Well you can guarantee that the value does not match Cokes, but then few brands do.

Brand values are intrinsically intangible as much of their value is based on emotion and perception.  This is particularly in the case of a service brand but true of products too.

The value of the brand is measured by its importance and relevance to  its market.

Every day we see products with brand names, at home, at work, in the shops but just because a product or service has a name does not mean it is a brand or it has any brand value.

Some brands will be aimed at a small niche market and may not have general awareness amongst the market place, but within the small niche market it is well known and to its devotees there is an understanding of what the brand represents and in representing this derives a value to the market.

The key criteria for establishing your brands value relates to its worth to the market it represents.  For instance:-

How well recognized is it?
How many users does it have?
What is its income?
Does its market recognize it?
Would its target choose it against a competitor because they trust it more than the competitor?
What level of marketing support is invested in it?
Does it create an image in the users mind and what sort of image is this?
Can the brand demand a premium price from its users?

A brand is not made over night, it has to be developed and nurtured, its image created and implemented across all forms of recognition to give it presence and stature.

If a brand is just a name on a bottle then it is just a name, but if you can build values in to it as per the questions above, you create competitive saleability products that have USP's and  a value that can be placed on the balance sheet.

If this post has been useful, interesting or just enjoyable to read, please leave a comment.

Kap Varma has over 20 years experience creating and turning around brands, he has managed and developed leading brands in the UK including Ragu, Camel Cigarettes, Fray Bentos, Nivea, Goldshield and Silver Spoon.