Should “culture” organisationally belong to Brand and the CEO rather than be owned as a conduct risk or behavioural flaw, led by Compliance and Risk teams? Can brand lead organisational culture? As recent years have shown, cultural failings can damage financial brands. However, those firms who understand how their cultures affect everything their customers experience and their own corporate behaviour are well-placed to deliver strong brand experiences.
US management Consultants Casey Quirk stated in a recent report that “asset management firms with strong brand recognition attract flows even with subpar performance. Successful brands no longer focus simply on individual products, portfolio managers, or performance, all of which could be highly variable.”
Yet many asset managers do not have strong brands. But with the sector selling a commoditized product and ongoing margin pressure, differentiation by brand identity could become increasingly crucial to success. In a recent white paper, agency Prescient explains the operational challenge though: “Marketing departments often find it hard to communicate what makes their business different. Many CEOs and CIOs see branding as a waste of time, ‘as long as the business is in profit there is no need to do anything different’.” In their view, “these organisations are heading towards extinction.”
Values can also stale through mindless repetition. Agency Fin International believes there may be “a possible new paradigm from the old brand values model” but warns against conformity. Their concern is that through apparent cloning of these values this new brand frontier could ‘possibly become a repeat of the old “me-too” brandscape. Repetition and common use will erode their meaning relevant to each firm.”
Our expert panel debates the issues and the opportunity.
Professor Bill Critchley, Ashridge Management School
Henrietta Jowitt, Director, Rotation Point
Amin Rajan, CEO, Create-Research
Matt King, Partner, PWC