How Your Private Equity Brand Could Win Your Next Deal
An intentional brand strategy can truly set your fund apart from the competition
Intentional brand analysis and marketing strategies have been high areas of focus for many industries to ensure that their presentations, product packaging and direct marketing efforts have been accomplishing the goals envisioned.
Over the past few years, alternative investment firms, including private equity firms, have begun to dip their toes into focused marketing strategies. Private equity firms are beginning to understand the importance of having a strong brand as it enables firms to stand out in a crowded market place and ultimately attract investors as well as investment banks and business brokers that can refer business opportunities.
With the $749bn private equity capital overhang near all-time highs, the industry has grown increasingly competitive and traditional levers of differentiation have weakened. Proprietary deal-sourcing methods pioneered a decade ago have been widely adopted. Superior information and diligence have been neutralized by improved research and databases. Previously unique operational approaches have become well known to more investors and management teams. Today, more than ever, having and communicating a strong brand identity can be the key to coming out on top.
According to Sutton Place Strategies, private equity firms miss approximately 82% of deal flow with a sell-side advisor in relevant deal size and sectors, as compared to approximately 58% with funds that are in the top quartile (relating to the same data set). The difference can be partially attributed to brand building business development and marketing initiatives that keep these firms top-of-mind.
A differentiated brand will set your firm apart from the competition during the entire deal process – from sourcing, to courting an entrepreneur, to getting the deal done. Entrepreneurs will come to your firm first if they’re already aware of your firm’s reputation – whether directly via your thought pieces and industry keynotes, or indirectly through references from trusted sources and features in industry publications. They’ll be primed for investment if they already need and respect your specialization in their specific industry, geography, type of deal or operational strategy. All else being equal, entrepreneurs will choose the firm they trust – and nothing is more trustworthy than a strong brand.
When competitive deal terms and conditions are not a major differentiator, a private equity firm with a strong and trustworthy brand presence can easily tip the scales in its favor by having built its brand through thoughtful and differentiating marketing efforts.
Carolon Capital has leveraged over 60 years of combined marketing experience to crystallize and communicate a strong brand strategy for numerous financial services clients through intentional brand messaging, content marketing, social media and public relations strategies.
 Source: Pitchbook, 2015 in North American and Europe