The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) has been awarded "Superbrand" status.
What exactly is a Superbrand?
According to the definition it "aims to identify brands that perform above and beyond other brands within their respective markets."
The critera are "market dominance, longevity, goodwill, customer loyalty and market acceptancy."
It seems to be a system of ranking brands, a beauty contest if you like of brands. So far so good.
The problem is that the exercise does not come cheap. According to estimates I have received (please correct me if I am wrong) it costs a million rupees in Sri Lanka. Not very big, perhaps, but big enough to pose the question : what value does this exercise bring about to the owner of the brand?
There is no question that a brand has value, but what does the awarding of Superbrand status do to a brand?
Does a brand, divorced from the product or service that it sells, have any value?
And how does the assignment of Superbrand status generate a return to the brand owner?
The winner of a beauty pageant, even a minor one (eg Miss Working Girl) can reasonably expect to get some offers for advertising, film or modeling work. The award thus brings some value to the holder. There is also a certain prestige that may go with the award.
Is this the case with Superbrands?
Given that all manner of brands have exactly the same award and that any one invited can get it there seems very little in the way of prestige that can be attached to the award. Conceivably if the award was limited to a very small stated number (say a dozen or a score), evaluated in a transparent manner and revised annually it might, over time create the necessary aura.
The brands thus awarded are allowed to place the Superbrands logo on advertisements but this to my mind at least is at best a distraction from the principal brand. The Superbrands logo does not blend in well and one is never sure of what exactly is being advertised. Superbrands or the product in question.
CIMA's Council have doubtless satisfied themselves as to the benefits of the exercise, it remains to be seen if members consider it reasonable use of membership fees. I for one am glad that I am no longer paying subscriptions.