|By Business Wire||
|February 11, 2014 07:03 AM EST||
Private equity professionals say developing a strong brand is increasingly important when it comes to investing in companies and hiring employees, according to a new study by BackBay Communications, a strategic financial services branding, marketing and public relations firm, and PitchBook, an independent research firm providing premium data and analysis to the private equity industry.
“For fundraising, deal sourcing and attracting employees, a recognized and trusted private equity brand makes it easier for firms to succeed in a very competitive market,” said Bill Haynes, president, BackBay Communications. “Private equity firms are increasingly coming to recognize how important it is to build a strong brand and actively manage their firm’s reputation.”
The study, Private Equity Brand Equity III, surveyed 290 private equity general partners, limited partners, fund of funds, placement agents, investment bankers, intermediaries, lawyers and consultants serving the private equity industry in the U.S. and Europe concerning their attitude and approach to branding. It found that there was near unanimity (98%) about the importance for private equity firms to have a strong brand. 92% said a strong brand helps private equity firms source deals, with a similar proportion saying it helps them raise new funds. Four in five (81%) also said a strong private equity brand helps attract and retain talent.
“The industry is much more sophisticated now than it was even just ten years ago and a strong brand is a critical differentiator,” said Graham Hearns, Managing Director of Global Marketing/Communications and Talent Management at The Riverside Company. “Sellers are extremely sophisticated these days. They understand the asset class and have lots of great choices. As they thoroughly evaluate their options, having a strong brand that keeps popping up in a positive way that has real teeth and attributes is critical.”
Building the brand
While performance (81%) remains the single most effective way to build a strong brand, respondents are increasingly recognising the importance of investing in active brand management. The proportion of respondents citing the importance of investing in IR to building a strong brand has more than doubled to 33% in this year’s study, while PR (up 86%), marketing (up 69%) and advertising (up 154%) have also seen dramatic increases.
“Brand is important – no doubt about it,” said Lee Gardella, Managing Director of Adveq. “Institutions are more comfortable buying brand. Firms need to develop a brand they want to be remembered for. You should be out there marketing the firm in between fundraising cycles. It makes the fundraising less painful and can be the difference in shortening the fundraising cycle. It won’t cover for bad performance, but if you set the right tone with the right information and talk to the right people it could help beyond the numbers. When you are deciding which funds to include in your commitment plan, you may say that all things being generally equal I find this group more comfortable to work with and I’ve been talking to them for the last two years.”
A growing recognition of the value of a strong brand is being reflected in the budgets of private equity firms and others working within the industry. In the next 12 months, 56% are planning to invest more in their marketing materials and website, 44% to invest more in investor relations, and 34% to invest more in public relations.
In keeping with this focus on brand management, many private equity firms regularly revisit their brand identity, messaging and website with 35% updating it annually and another 35% updating their brand every 2-3 years. New fund raising and change in firm leadership are the main precipitators for brand re-examination.
Survey respondents say conference speaking (67%), personal meetings (67%), websites (55%) and news releases (50%) are the main areas of focus for brand building.
Social media usage up
The private equity community is starting to embrace social media. Regular social media activity by PE firms increased from under 7% on 2011 to 12% this year. One-in-three firms now has a social media presence to enhance their brand, with the most frequently used tools including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or a company blog. Another 20% said their firm currently does not use social media, but they would like to start.
“Social platforms such as Twitter and YouTube are on the cusp of becoming a recognised part of the private equity communications tool kit,” said Toby Mitchenall, London-based director of BackBay Communications. “One-in-five of the world’s largest private equity firms is now actively tweeting, for example. A further one-in-five have registered their profiles but have yet to start tweeting. We estimate a good many more are using Twitter and other social media platforms in a passive way: as a listening post to gauge opinions of them, their portfolio companies and the industry in general.”
Across the board, survey participants see private equity firm brand strength as increasingly important with all of their audiences. CEOs of target portfolio companies and employees notched noteworthy double-digit gains reflecting a competitive deal sourcing and hiring environment. According to the survey, the key audiences for a strong brand are:
- Limited Partners: 86% (vs. 78% in 2011)
- CEOs of target companies: 84% (vs. 68% in 2011)
- Current and potential employees: 68% (vs. 40% in 2011)
- Investment bankers: 65% (vs. 62% in 2011)
- Lenders: 65% (vs. 50% in 2011)
- The media: 31% (vs. 19% in 2011)
"We have seen many PE firms focusing on specialization when it comes to branding, emphasizing specific sectors, operational expertise or a particular way they source and structure transactions,” said PitchBook Founder and CEO John Gabbert.” Recent regulatory changes around general solicitation should only lead to more active brand-building in the future."
The online survey was answered by 290 professionals involved with private equity, including 146 private equity/venture capital firm representatives, 50 investment bankers/intermediaries, 64 service providers (lawyers, accountants, consultants, lenders), 15 placement agents, eight fund of funds and seven limited partners.
Private Equity Brand Equity III white paper
For a white paper examining this private equity branding research in detail, please go to: http://www.backbaycommunications.com, and click on “Private Equity Brand Equity III white paper,” or click Here.
About BackBay Communications
BackBay Communications is an independent strategic branding, marketing and public relations firm focused on the financial services and professional services sectors. BackBay has represented more than 30 private equity firms in addition to leading private equity associations ACG and SBIA. BackBay offers a unique combination of content and creativity. BackBay’s services include public relations, branding, website development, marketing materials, videos, advertising and social media. BackBay is highly regarded for its thought leadership initiatives and relationships with the major business media. With offices in Boston, London and New York, and international agency partnerships, BackBay serves companies around the world. For more information, please visit: www.backbaycommunications.com
PitchBook Data, Inc. is an independent research firm providing superior intelligence on the private equity industry. As a specialty-focused resource, PitchBook's core strength is its ability to meticulously collect, organize and analyze hard to find private deal data. PitchBook's mission is to provide its clients with the highest quality information on the entire private equity lifecycle, including the LPs, investors, strategic buyers, IRRs/fund returns, private deal valuations, exit analysis, advisors and people involved - plus fundamental data for doing comps analysis - all in a state of the art online platform that is powerful and easy to use. For more information, please visit: www.PitchBook.com.
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" ...
Mar. 28, 2017 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 8,899
As businesses adopt functionalities in cloud computing, it’s imperative that IT operations consistently ensure cloud systems work correctly – all of the time, and to their best capabilities. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Bernd Harzog, CEO and founder of OpsDataStore, will present an industry answer to the common question, “Are you running IT operations as efficiently and as cost effectively as you need to?” He will expound on the industry issues he frequently came up against as an analyst, and...
Mar. 28, 2017 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,284
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
Mar. 28, 2017 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,953
After more than five years of DevOps, definitions are evolving, boundaries are expanding, ‘unicorns’ are no longer rare, enterprises are on board, and pundits are moving on. Can we now look at an evolution of DevOps? Should we? Is the foundation of DevOps ‘done’, or is there still too much left to do? What is mature, and what is still missing? What does the next 5 years of DevOps look like? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by DevOps Summit Conference Chair Andi Mann, panelists l...
Mar. 28, 2017 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 9,889
In their Live Hack” presentation at 17th Cloud Expo, Stephen Coty and Paul Fletcher, Chief Security Evangelists at Alert Logic, provided the audience with a chance to see a live demonstration of the common tools cyber attackers use to attack cloud and traditional IT systems. This “Live Hack” used open source attack tools that are free and available for download by anybody. Attendees learned where to find and how to operate these tools for the purpose of testing their own IT infrastructure. The...
Mar. 28, 2017 04:45 AM EDT Reads: 7,472
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor - all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
Mar. 28, 2017 02:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,024
My team embarked on building a data lake for our sales and marketing data to better understand customer journeys. This required building a hybrid data pipeline to connect our cloud CRM with the new Hadoop Data Lake. One challenge is that IT was not in a position to provide support until we proved value and marketing did not have the experience, so we embarked on the journey ourselves within the product marketing team for our line of business within Progress. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Sum...
Mar. 28, 2017 02:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,107
The modern software development landscape consists of best practices and tools that allow teams to deliver software in a near-continuous manner. By adopting a culture of automation, measurement and sharing, the time to ship code has been greatly reduced, allowing for shorter release cycles and quicker feedback from customers and users. Still, with all of these tools and methods, how can teams stay on top of what is taking place across their infrastructure and codebase? Hopping between services a...
Mar. 28, 2017 02:15 AM EDT Reads: 9,905
Virtualization over the past years has become a key strategy for IT to acquire multi-tenancy, increase utilization, develop elasticity and improve security. And virtual machines (VMs) are quickly becoming a main vehicle for developing and deploying applications. The introduction of containers seems to be bringing another and perhaps overlapped solution for achieving the same above-mentioned benefits. Are a container and a virtual machine fundamentally the same or different? And how? Is one techn...
Mar. 28, 2017 02:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,115
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex softw...
Mar. 28, 2017 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,897
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
Mar. 28, 2017 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,355
What sort of WebRTC based applications can we expect to see over the next year and beyond? One way to predict development trends is to see what sorts of applications startups are building. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arin Sime, founder of WebRTC.ventures, will discuss the current and likely future trends in WebRTC application development based on real requests for custom applications from real customers, as well as other public sources of information,
Mar. 28, 2017 12:45 AM EDT Reads: 989
Interoute has announced the integration of its Global Cloud Infrastructure platform with Rancher Labs’ container management platform, Rancher. This approach enables enterprises to accelerate their digital transformation and infrastructure investments. Matthew Finnie, Interoute CTO commented “Enterprises developing and building apps in the cloud and those on a path to Digital Transformation need Digital ICT Infrastructure that allows them to build, test and deploy faster than ever before. The int...
Mar. 28, 2017 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,252
Whether you like it or not, DevOps is on track for a remarkable alliance with security. The SEC didn’t approve the merger. And your boss hasn’t heard anything about it. Yet, this unruly triumvirate will soon dominate and deliver DevSecOps faster, cheaper, better, and on an unprecedented scale. In his session at DevOps Summit, Frank Bunger, VP of Customer Success at ScriptRock, discussed how this cathartic moment will propel the DevOps movement from such stuff as dreams are made on to a practic...
Mar. 28, 2017 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 8,384
ChatOps is an emerging topic that has led to the wide availability of integrations between group chat and various other tools/platforms. Currently, HipChat is an extremely powerful collaboration platform due to the various ChatOps integrations that are available. However, DevOps automation can involve orchestration and complex workflows. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Himanshu Chhetri, CTO at Addteq, will cover practical examples and use cases such as self-provisioning infra...
Mar. 27, 2017 11:30 PM EDT Reads: 3,066