I attended a talk at Sea Containers House on Tuesday evening entitled BrandZ ‘Spotlight on Myanmar’ (formerly Burma). The event, attended by the Myanmarese Foreign Ambassador, was promoting the country by providing a better understanding of Myanmar and specifically, the scale of the opportunities available to brands which have the necessary desire, resources and reach. The whole event also acted as a wonderful showcase for all things WPP, who happened to be hosting the event, there was no part of the group that didn’t get a moment of glory – and rightly so. It was interesting, impactful and informative.

A fascinating keynote was delivered by Martin Guerrieria, Global BrandZ Research Director at MillwardBrown who, amongst great insight, reiterated the vital nature of having a robust brand proposition and how those brands with a strong, relevant brand proposition consistently out-perform those that do not in hard financial terms year on year – research proves it. Those brands with a weak proposition consistently perform poorly. It’s a long time since I worked in mainstream advertising where research budgets are, quite frankly, enormous but this was a bit like coming home! A strong brand proposition is absolutely key to business success. Who says so? The balance sheet of practically every successful brand in the history of the world ever 🙂 .

Why then is this such a difficult message to sell to small and medium sized b2b organisations? I believe it’s because SMEs are focussed on ‘doing business’ and all the things that are required technically and legally to stay in business. And, as it is in our nature to employ people like ourselves, businesses often end up with lots of remarkable people who are very good at their specialist subject but, understandably, know little about marketing – its power, many facets and nuances. Here, we often see a secretary, a graduate, a young marketer or someone equally inexperienced being put in charge of ‘marketing’ without the experience or authority to really make the impact that strong marketing can deliver. As a result, we often see marketing being put firmly in the back seat and never having the chance to fully fledge. The opportunity to formulate and develop a powerful brand proposition is not understood, so why would it be a priority? A strong brand proposition has got to be the priority of your business leaders or it simply won’t happen. This, in turn, means your business will never achieve its full potential.

The question I pose then is: what is your brand proposition? If you can’t articulate it without hesitation – it’s weak. So call me