Welcome!

News Feed Item

Brand Strength Becoming Increasingly Important for Sourcing Private Equity Deal Flow

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.

Brand enhancers

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.”

Key audiences

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."

Survey methodology

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

About PitchBook

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.

More Stories By Business Wire

Copyright © 2009 Business Wire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Business Wire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Business Wire. Business Wire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Claude Remillard, Principal Program Manager in Developer Division at Microsoft, contrasted how his team used config as code and immutable patterns for continuous delivery of microservices and apps to the cloud. He showed how the immutable patterns helps developers do away with most of the complexity of config as code-enabling scenarios such as rollback, zero downtime upgrades with far greater simplicity. He also demoed building immutable pipelines in the cloud ...
Using new techniques of information modeling, indexing, and processing, new cloud-based systems can support cloud-based workloads previously not possible for high-throughput insurance, banking, and case-based applications. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, John Newton, CTO, Founder and Chairman of Alfresco, described how to scale cloud-based content management repositories to store, manage, and retrieve billions of documents and related information with fast and linear scalability. He addres...
Hardware virtualization and cloud computing allowed us to increase resource utilization and increase our flexibility to respond to business demand. Docker Containers are the next quantum leap - Are they?! Databases always represented an additional set of challenges unique to running workloads requiring a maximum of I/O, network, CPU resources combined with data locality.
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
Due of the rise of Hadoop, many enterprises are now deploying their first small clusters of 10 to 20 servers. At this small scale, the complexity of operating the cluster looks and feels like general data center servers. It is not until the clusters scale, as they inevitably do, when the pain caused by the exponential complexity becomes apparent. We've seen this problem occur time and time again. In his session at Big Data Expo, Greg Bruno, Vice President of Engineering and co-founder of StackIQ...
Security, data privacy, reliability, and regulatory compliance are critical factors when evaluating whether to move business applications from in-house, client-hosted environments to a cloud platform. Quality assurance plays a vital role in ensuring that the appropriate level of risk assessment, verification, and validation takes place to ensure business continuity during the migration to a new cloud platform.
"Tintri was started in 2008 with the express purpose of building a storage appliance that is ideal for virtualized environments. We support a lot of different hypervisor platforms from VMware to OpenStack to Hyper-V," explained Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Containers have changed the mind of IT in DevOps. They enable developers to work with dev, test, stage and production environments identically. Containers provide the right abstraction for microservices and many cloud platforms have integrated them into deployment pipelines. DevOps and containers together help companies achieve their business goals faster and more effectively. In his session at DevOps Summit, Ruslan Synytsky, CEO and Co-founder of Jelastic, reviewed the current landscape of Dev...
One of the hottest areas in cloud right now is DRaaS and related offerings. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Dale Levesque, Disaster Recovery Product Manager with Windstream's Cloud and Data Center Marketing team, will discuss the benefits of the cloud model, which far outweigh the traditional approach, and how enterprises need to ensure that their needs are properly being met.
The security needs of IoT environments require a strong, proven approach to maintain security, trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vic...
Big Data, cloud, analytics, contextual information, wearable tech, sensors, mobility, and WebRTC: together, these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Erik Perotti, Senior Manager of New Ventures on Plantronics’ Innovation team, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it m...
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
In their general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Michael Piccininni, Global Account Manager - Cloud SP at EMC Corporation, and Mike Dietze, Regional Director at Windstream Hosted Solutions, reviewed next generation cloud services, including the Windstream-EMC Tier Storage solutions, and discussed how to increase efficiencies, improve service delivery and enhance corporate cloud solution development. Michael Piccininni is Global Account Manager – Cloud SP at EMC Corporation. He has been engaged in t...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus o...