The board and the brand


In many organizations — and agencies — branding is often considered an issue for the marketing or communication department. However, no matter how skilled the professionals who make up these departments are, their potential for driving a positive change is ultimately hampered considerably by thinking of branding as such an isolated concept. Branding is more than a nice logo and a handful of deliberately chosen fonts and colors. It’s about actions and leadership and it requires the strategic effort and the attention of everyone all the way up to the board.

Denmark, among many other countries, has a tradition for family owned businesses and many of our largest corporations and most successful enterprises started, or still operates, that way. Although large mature organizations often have completely capable boards comprised of highly professional members, many SMEs do not. Instead, these boards might be made up of family members or others, who definitely might have the best of intentions, but who also might lack experience or the competencies needed in the exact context that the business is experiencing right now. Not just experience with branding but the general professional and educational experience that is required for providing qualified supervision on how to take the business to the next level.

Research shows, that a very large part of the non-executive boards of mid-size and small Danish companies consist of members who are related to the owner or CEO. It could be family members, the associated lawyer or good friends. Many of these companies would grow and prosper if they appointed professional board members on the basis of qualifications and skills that match the current situation of the business.

Nikolaj Stagis, CEO

Last month our CEO, Nikolaj Stagis, received his diploma for completing CBS Executive’s Board Education with honors. Through the program Nikolaj has developed a deeper understanding of the concerns and dynamics of a professional board, which further enables us all in our mission of putting branding and identity on the agenda of the top-management of corporations, big and small. Bringing the central questions of “Who are we”, “What is our purpose” and “What is our promise to the customers” on the agenda of more board meetings would further sharpen and focus the identity, creativity and growth of many companies.

The questions are not simple and when you combine them with the financial, economic and many other issues that professional corporate boards deal with, it’s not an easy journey at all.

One of the things that has been inspiring at the CBS Executive Board Education is meeting the best professors, board members, attorneys and accountants of the country, giving their newest knowledge and best advice for leading the work in a professional board. Being with 40 other experienced business leaders training the most common dilemmas and problems in board work also helps you sharpen your strategic edge, as you balance many issues, stakeholders and opinions at once.

Nikolaj Stagis, CEO

We want to help build strong thriving brands and these perspectives on the dilemmas that boards of large and growing organizations are struggling with are crucial in that endeavor. Understanding the problems boards are faced with makes it possible for us to provide much stronger strategic guidance on how branding and identity concerns can be integrated in the solutions we create. The strategic direction that the board and executives set should be carried carefully into execution in the visual identity, digital design and corporate communication of the company. With Nikolajs focus on board leadership we are one step closer to bridge the gap that exists in so many companies between the talk at board meetings and the execution of design and communication.