EDITOR’S LETTER Brand beaters

A global public relations and communication survey back in 2001 revealed that almost half an organisation’s reputation is, at least in the minds of its various publics, the direct result of the chief executive’s leadership and management. The rest of an organisation’s reputation is, to one degree or another, directly linked to its brand. Good leadership and great brand together spell success for every enterprise. Some CEOs are brands in their own right; like Virgin’s Richard Branson or The Body Shop’s Anita Roddick. Closer to home consider jeweller Michael Hill, the Warehouse’s Stephen Tindall and cereal maker Dick Hubbard. Less extroverted but often equally successful CEOs see themselves as extensions of their organisation’s brand – and so they should.
A strong brand is critical to competitive edge and commercial success in today’s tough marketplace. No one can protect or promote brand as successfully as committed CEO. Our cover story writer Jim Robinson found that while it is impossible to “quantify the exact dollars”, there is consensus out there that whatever the leadership style, CEOs who embrace their brand, directly enhance their company’s financial performance. Mark Weldon, CEO of NZX, the New Zealand stock exchange, told Robinson that: “… about 85 percent of the value of [listed] company is not based on its book value, it’s based on its intangible assets.” And that is about brand reputation. core job of any CEO worth his or her salt is to be “steward of the brand and reputation” and to grow the value of the intangible asset.
Robinson identifies the issues and the approaches CEOs must take to fulfil the role of brand leader. His advice is invaluable given that recent online survey conducted by this magazine and DNA Design found that while CEOs might be aware of the value of their brand, they aren’t necessarily good at, or consistent about, delivering on their understanding. CEOs are “weak”, according to their senior managers, when it comes to embedding the brand into the business operations and the culture of the organisation. Too many CEOs find the day-to-day business of brand leadership “challenging”. For an appreciation of just what is involved and how important it is, read this month’s cover story.
And on the subject of leadership, take in business thinker and writer Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s insightful interview on the role of “confidence” in turning out winners and losers. “Failure and success are not episodes, they are trajectories,” says Kanter. “They are tendencies, directions and pathways.” And Kanter has looked at the defining influence confidence can have both on leaders in business and in sport. compelling read and you can find it on page 42 of this issue of Management magazine.

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