A business’s brand is its most important asset but only a third of chairmen and chief executives in the FTSE 100 mention it in their opening statements of their annual reports, research by BrandCap, the new consultancy, has shown.
There is no reason to see why this would not be the case in the food industry, in my experience.
Yet food businesses have a unique set of challenges not faced by other companies, namely the variability and complexity of food supply chains stretching back to farms allied to the emotional connection consumers have with their food and the trust that they place on food brands to get things right.
But the food supply chain is complex and no matter how strong a supplier approval and supplier risk assessment system a food business has in place, it is still reliant on supply chain compliance with agreed food specifications. This can be complemented with rigorous QA checks on intake and supplier monitoring.
But it not feasible to test everything and there is a risk that non-conforming product will slip through the net.
Risk cannot be completely removed.
About 10% of boards discuss branding at every meeting, the same proportion never discuss it and everyone else is somewhere in the middle, according to Brandcaps report. The report goes on to state that their understanding is not always perfect. For instance, some boards conflate branding with reputation, which in essence is dealing with effect rather than cause. “You do not own your reputation but you do own your brand. Reputation is the outcome of whether or not you are doing the right thing with your brand”
Thought provoking stuff.