'Unlived' brands create cynicism, buyers warned

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
7 November 2015

Authenticity is “really, really important” for procurement professionals when building a brand, an event was told.

Paul Bakstad, partner at EY, told a CIPS Fellows of the Future event at the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising in London that without authenticity, organisations were at risk of a cynical reaction.

“Your brand has to be authentic,” he said. “Espoused but unlived brands create cynicism.”

Bakstad, who runs the EY procurement practice in the UK, said EY had managed to move from “third or fourth” to first place in the UK and Ireland in a 2015 brand awareness survey by focusing on its brand.

“You have to put it on your priority list and think how you can use your brand all the time in how you act,” he said.

“It’s very important for us to build a brand. We don’t have any assets: we are our people and our brand.”

Bakstad said it was important to consider the impact you wanted to have with your brand on customers, investors, employees and the organisation as a whole.

“The characteristics of a brand are always the same,” he said. “It’s the combined impact of everything you do and everything you say.”

Bakstad suggested that to decide “what to be known for” people should pick six “descriptive attributes” and then turn these into three phrases to “define your identity”.

A brand should then be tested he said by asking if it creates value in the eyes of the organisation, does it represent “who I am and what I do”, what risks are there in exhibiting the brand and “can I live this brand”?

Bakstad urged people to not just think about what a business does and how it does it. “When you are building your brand it’s great to start with ‘why’,” he said.

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