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BIFM Awards: Putting 'intangibles' on the FM asset list. By Nick Shaw, Lead Judge for BIFM Brand Impact Award

17-03-15, 11:03

BIFM Awards: Putting 'intangibles' on the FM asset list

Nick Shaw, lead judge for BIFM Awards, Brand Impact Award talks about why we all need to think about 'Brand Impact'.

"As any marketing executive will tell you a brand isn't just about the logo. Logos and corporate colours connect organisations to their wider brand and should be an instantly recognisable reminder for what the company stands for. What matters more is the overarching brand, its values and belief systems and how these get represented in business practices. An established brand forms a promise about the service to which it relates. It represents the heart and soul of the business and builds trust. As consumers, we build an emotional attachment to leading brands such as Virgin, PayPal and John Lewis and their brands give us an expectation about the service we will receive.

The widening gap between the book value of many successful organisations and their stock market valuations is evidence of the power of the brand. Such intangible assets are increasingly a significant part of the corporate balance sheet.

FM?s role in extending and protecting the brand

So if brand is the very essence of an organisation it must live within the company and be reflected in the way that it goes about its business. If part of your corporate ethos is to be a good corporate citizen by embracing the living wage or ethical procurement, how does this get reflected at a departmental level or across organisation processes and disciplines such as FM.† We are currently seeing the fallout from HSBC, one of the UK's most respected brands, now trying to mitigate the damage to their reputation from the Swiss tax evasion scandal. Tesco are seeing as similar fate as a result of their financial irregularities. These are just two examples of a major mismatch occurring between brand strategies and operating procedures which devastating results.

What bearing does the world of FM have on reputation and brand? It's not difficult to see where risks may lie. Injuries or fatalities at work may result from compliancy problems or poor understanding of HSE. Badly managed preventative maintenance schedules could cause outages and put revenues and reputation at risk. It's quite some time ago now but Blackberry never really came back from a series of major outages resulting from badly maintained switch gear.

Complex systems

FM is a complex business and relies heavily on intricate supply chains and a network of partners. If suppliers violate your ethical standards or aren't compliant with your values then they are a potential risk. Nike's use of sweat shop workers comes to mind here. FM works at the coalface. We're here to provide safe and effective working environments. It's about keeping the lifts working, the sprinkler systems checked, maintaining compliant systems, conforming to HSE standards in food hygiene and meeting environmental controls. Human error happens and it only takes the improper actions of one supply chain partner or one of your own directly employed team to significantly damage your brand.

Brand ambassadors,† let's hear from you

If you're an in-house FM, what does your company brand mean to you and how are you reflecting it in your working practices. Are you actively extending the brand and adding value? As a service provider, what are you doing to support your client's brand, do you know what they are trying to achieve and how are you aligning your service offer to these objectives?

We want to hear from FM teams both client-side and provider-led who are supporting their brand by living and breathing its values and embodying its principles in the way you operate on a daily basis. You might be a data centre FM responsible for managing a 'zero downtime' environment knowing that any outage will go straight through to the bottom line. You might be the team responsible for maintaining a hospital or leisure centre where customer wellbeing is key. Brand applies regardless of sector, public and private from the largest national conglomerates through to SMEs. If you're firmly aligning FM as part of the fundamental brand strategy for your organisation we want to hear your story. This year's winner just might be you."

> Enter Brand Impact

Entries close May 22.

Nick Shaw, lead judge for Brand Impact award, BIFM Awards

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