The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2013-03-19T00:14:11Z Vodafone loses ground and Australian Telcos pick up speed 2013-03-19T00:14:11Z vodafone-loses-ground-and-australian-telcos-pick-up-speed-1 Brand Finance, the leading brand valuation and marketing experts have today released their annual Telecoms 500 study. The report, which lists the world’s most valuable telecom brands, shows that several network operators have faced a very challenging year whilst Australian Telcos have weathered the economic instability affecting their counterparts in other parts of the world.Australian Telco Telstra has dropped two places to become the world’s 27th most valuable Telecoms Brand, with a total brand value of US$6.1b. However, while it fell two places it actually increased its brand value by US$777m after recently posting profits of more than $1.6 billion.Optus has also much to cheer about, gaining ground with a growth in brand value of $US446m. This saw it rise five places to 51st on the list of most valuable Telecoms Brands. Other significant upward movement saw Sensis and TPG Telecom increase their brand values by US$107m and US$67m respectively.Commenting on the results, Brand Finance Australia Managing Director, Xander Bird said: “Telstra’s brand has performed well, which is important given the potential breakup of the business in the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN). As the market changes it is imperative for Telstra to keep its brand fresh, to ensure that it can still capitalise on its brand going forward”.Australia’s Most Valuable Telco BrandsAustralian Rank 2013Global Rank 2013Global Rank 2012BrandDomicileBrand Value 2013 (US$m)Brand Value 2012 (US$m)Change (US$m)Brand Rating 2013Brand Rating 201212725TelstraAUSTRALIA6,0605,283777AA+AA25156OptusAUSTRALIA2,9742,528446AAAA3136145SensisAUSTRALIA683576107A+AA-4242290TPG TelecomAUSTRALIA21314667AA5348404M2AUSTRALIA786414AA6393500Amcom TelecomAUSTRALIA533123AA7424489Service StreamAUSTRALIA433211AA8434N/AMacquarie TelecomAUSTRALIA40N/AN/AAN/A9445444CodanAUSTRALIA3747(10)AA+Source: The BrandFinance® Telecoms 500 (2013), figures to 1 decimal place Whilst overseas, European providers in particular have suffered significant losses. Spain’s Telefónica has taken a double hit; its Movistar brand’s value has been cut by $3.3bn, making it this year’s biggest faller, while the UK’s O2 has also lost brand value, though a more modest $85m. France’s Orange has fallen from 5th to 7th in the table following a 12% brand value fall of $2.2bn. Overall, global mobile phone sales fell 3% in 2012 with consumers in struggling Eurozone economies with high unemployment rates, cutting back. Most dramatically the UK’s Vodafone, which has ranked number 1 in the BrandFinance® Telecoms 500 since its inception in 2010, has fallen to 4th. Over US$3bn of lost brand value means its brand is now worth just over US$27bn while its brand strength has been downgraded from a near-perfect AAA+ to AAA.Verizon of the USA, in which Vodafone owns a 45% stake, was once a minor player but has now leapfrogged the UK giant to become the world’s most valuable operator and second most valuable telecommunications brand. Its brand value of US$30.7bn illustrates the impressive growth of Verizon Wireless in particular, now the America’s 2nd biggest mobile operator. Vodafone’s share price has risen sharply in recent weeks following rumours that Verizon are keen to take full control of Wireless and are willing to pay over the odds to do so. Managing the sale carefully could prove crucial to Vodafone’s future as the windfall could help it cover outstanding tax liabilities and more importantly invest in developing a ‘quad-play’ offering to counter the challenge from integrated rivals such as BT (British Telecom) and Virgin Media.The World's Most Valuable Telecoms BrandsRank 2013Rank 2012BrandDomicileBrand Value 2013 (US$bn)Brand Value 2012 (US$bn)Change (US$bn)Brand Rating 2013Brand Rating 201214AppleUS48.427.421.0AAA+AAA23VerizonUS30.727.63.1AA+AA32AT&TUS30.428.32.1AA+AA+41VodafoneUK27.030.0-3.0AAAAAA+512SamsungSouth Korea23.710.812.9AAA-AAA66China MobileHong Kong23.118.05.1AAAA75OrangeFrance16.318.6-2.3AA+AA+88CiscoUS15.512.92.6AAA-AAA-915NTTJapan14.313.21.1AAAA-109ComcastUS12.812.50.3AA+AA+Source: The BrandFinance® Telecoms 500 (2013), figures to 1 decimal placePower Shifts from Operator Brands as Handsets Control Consumer ChoiceThe most striking change of all however is illustrated by 2013’s most valuable Telecoms brand. The handsets segment of the Apple brand* has surged to the top of the table following brand value growth of US$21bn. As smartphone uptake continues and smaller rivals such as HTC, Blackberry and Nokia struggle, Apple has gained market share and grown its brand value by 77% in the face of its volatile share price. Samsung too has had a successful year. The segment of its brand* derived from handsets has more than doubled this year, growing 121% to US$23.7bn, making it this year’s fastest riser.The rise of Apple and Samsung represents a shift in the power balance between mobile operators and handset manufactures. For operators, voice and even data are no longer enough, with threats from all sides they must act quickly to embrace quadruple-play or face falling sales and eroding margins.For the full results of the BrandFinance® Telecoms 500 please click here and for further insight and analysis please read the latest edition of Total Telecom.ENDS*The brand values for Apple and Samsung in the BrandFinance® Telecoms 500 include only the contribution from handsets. The total brand values for Apple and Samsung, as reported in the BrandFinance® Global 500 are US$87.3bn and US$57.8bn respectively.Media Contact:Maree SchneidersStrategyCoT: +61 (0)411 446 484E: maree@strategyco.netW: www.strategyco.netMethodology:The methodology used in calculating the brand values uses a discounted cash flow (DCF) technique to discount estimated future royalties at an appropriate discount rate and to arrive at a new present value (NPV) of the trademark and associated intellectual property rights in order to compute brand value.Royalty Relief ApproachThe royalty relief methodology determines the value of the brand in relation to the royalty rate that would be payable for its use if it were owned by a third party. The royalty rate is applied to future revenue to determine an earnings stream that is attributable to the brand. The brand earnings stream is then discounted back to a net present value.There is a six-step process involved in making the brand value calculations:Obtain specific financial and revenue data.Model the market to identify market demand and the position of individual brands in the context of all other market competitors. There are three forecast periods used:historical financial results up to 2012. Where these are not available using Institutional Brokers Estimate System (IBES), consensus forecasts are used;a five-year forecast period (2012-2016), based on three data sources (IBES, historic growth and GDP growth); andperpetuity growth, based on a combination of growth expectations (GDP and IBES).Calculate the royalty rate for each brand by:calculating brand strength – on a scale of 0-100, according to the number of attributes such as financial, brand equity, market share and profitability, among others;using brand strength to determine βrandβeta® index score; andapplying Brand Strength Score to the royalty rate range to determine the royalty rate for the brand. The royalty rate is determined by a combination of the sector of operations, historic royalties paid in that sector and profitability of the company.Calculate the future post-tax royalty income stream.Calculate the discount rate specific to each brand, taking account of its size, geographical presence, reputation, gearing and brand rating.Discount future royalty stream (explicit forecast and perpetuity periods) to a net present value – ie. the brand valueBrand RatingsThese are calculated using Brand Strength analysis, which benchmarks the strength, risk and future potential of a brand relative to its competitors on a scale ranging from AAA to D. It is conceptually similar to a credit rating. The data used to calculate the ratings is taken from a variety of sources including Bloomberg, annual reports and proprietary research by Brand Finance. Note: The AAA to A ratings can be altered by including a plus (+) or minus (-) sign to show their more detailed positioningValuation DateAll brand values in the Telecoms 500 are for the end of the year, 31 December 2012.www.brandfinance.com www.brandirectory.com www.brandfinanceforum.com STELLAR YEAR FOR AUSTRALIAN RETAIL, BANKING AND TELECOMMUNICATION BRANDS 2013-02-28T06:02:30Z stellar-year-for-australian-retail-banking-and-telecommunication-brands  Brand Finance, the leading global brand valuation and marketing experts have released their annual study of the top 500 most valuable global brands. The study shows that Australia’s continuing economic boom has allowed its brands to flourish. Eight Australian brands across the Retail, Banking and Telecommunication sectors feature in the BrandFinance® Global 500 and all have achieved double digit brand value growth and improved their global rankings this year. Australian Retail sector brands included in the Brand Finance league table have posted significantly larger gains than their overseas counterparts with an average increase in brand value of 21% compared to the Global Retail sector achieving just 9% growth. At the top of the Australian retail list is Woolworths holding its position as Australia’s most valuable brand. Woolworth’s achieved brand value growth of US$1.5bn, a 20% improvement on last year. It has also strengthened its brand rating, which has been upgraded to AA+. ANZ is this year’s standout performer overall and has assisted the Australian Banking sector’s growth to outperform the Global Banking sector.  Following reported profits of AUS$5.7bn in the year to September 30th, ANZ achieved a 6% increase on the previous year, and increased its brand value by 70%: US$2.4bn of brand value growth takes its total to US$5.8bn, moving the bank 137 places higher in the global rankings at 183rd overall. With an overall achievement of 32% increase in the Australian Banking sector’s brand values, Australian Banks have displayed their strength and stability since the GFC, compared to the slow recovery of banks overseas which averaged just 15%.  In Telecommunications, Telstra and Optus achieved an average brand growth of 16%; double that of the Global Telecommunications sector at 8%. Table 1: Most Valuable Australian Brands Global Brand Value Rank 2013 Global Brand Value Rank 2012 Brand Sector Brand Value 2013 (US$bn) Brand Value 2012 (US$bn) Brand Rating 2013 Brand Rating 2012 113 130 Woolworths Retail 8,754 7,299 AA+ AA 173 183 Telstra Telecoms 6,060 5,283 AA+ AA 178 207 Coles Retail 5,907 4,873 AA AA 183 320 ANZ Banks 5,832 3,433 AA+ AA+ 212 243 Commonwealth Bank of Australia Banks 5,296 4,244 AA+ AA+ 222 247 NAB Banks 4,982 4,160 AA+ AA 283 303 Westpac Banks 4,108 3,570 AA+ AA 420 468 Optus Telecoms 2,974 2,528 AA AA   Commenting on the results, Brand Finance Australia Managing Director, Xander Bird said: “The continuing relative strength of the Australian economy is allowing Australian brands to show the world what they’re really made of. Management must continue to nurture their brands even when times are good as a strong brand helps to sustain a company’s long-term health.” Globally, Apple is world’s most valuable brand for a second consecutive year with a value US$87.3bn. Apple’s battles with rival Samsung both in the marketplace and in the courtroom are well documented but in terms of brand value, Samsung has made significant inroads into Apple’s formidable lead this year. The Korean conglomerate has shown the biggest brand value growth of any brand this year, increasing by US$20.6bn and, in the process, jumping from 6th to 2nd in the rankings and biting nearly US$4bn out of Apple’s lead. Table 2: Top 5 most valuable brands in the world Brand Value Rank 2013 Brand Domicile Brand Value 2013 (US$ bn) Brand Value 2012 (US$ bn) Change (US$ bn) Change (%) 1 Apple US 87.3 70.6 16.7 24% 2 Samsung South Korea 58.8 38.2 20.6 54% 3 Google US 52.1 47.5 4.7 10% 4 Microsoft US 45.5 45.8 -0.3 -1% 5 Walmart US 42.3 38.3 4 10%   Note to EditorsThe full results of the BrandFinance® Global 500 and further analysis are published in the latest edition of Review and on our website. The methodology used in compiling the Global 500 uses a discounted cash flow (DCF) technique to discount estimated future royalties at an appropriate discount rate and to arrive at a new present value (NPV) of the trademark and associated intellectual property rights in order to compute brand value.Royalty Relief ApproachThe royalty relief methodology determines the value of the brand in relation to the royalty rate that would be payable for its use if it were owned by a third party. The royalty rate is applied to future revenue to determine an earnings stream that is attributable to the brand. The brand earnings stream is then discounted back to a net present value.There is a six-step process involved in making the brand value calculations:1.        Obtain specific financial and revenue data.2.        Model the market to identify market demand and the position of individual brands in the context of            all other market competitors. There are three forecast periods used: ·          historical financial results up to 2012. Where these are not available using Institutional Brokers            Estimate System (IBES), consensus forecasts are used;·          a five-year forecast period (2012-2016), based on three data sources (IBES, historic growth and            GDP growth); and ·          perpetuity growth, based on a combination of growth expectations (GDP and IBES).3.        Calculate the royalty rate for each brand by:·          calculating brand strength – on a scale of 0-100, according to the number of attributes such as             financial, brand equity, market share and profitability, among others;·          using brand strength to determine βrandβeta® index score; and ·          applying Brand Strength Score to the royalty rate range to determine the royalty rate for the brand.            The royalty rate is determined by a combination of the sector of operations, historic royalties paid            in that sector and profitability of the company.4.        Calculate the future post-tax royalty income stream.5.        Calculate the discount rate specific to each brand, taking account of its size, geographical presence,           reputation, gearing and brand rating.6.        Discount future royalty stream (explicit forecast and perpetuity periods) to a net present value –            ie. the brand valueBrand RatingsThese are calculated using Brand Strength analysis, which benchmarks the strength, risk and future potential of a brand relative to its competitors on a scale ranging from AAA to D. It is conceptually similar to a credit rating. The data used to calculate the ratings is taken from a variety of sources including Bloomberg, annual reports and proprietary research by Brand Finance. Note: The AAA to A ratings can be altered by including a plus (+) or minus (-) sign to show their more detailed positioning.Valuation DateAll brand values in the Global 500 are for the end of the year, 31 December 2012. For all media enquiries please contact:Maree SchneidersStrategyCoT: +61 (0)411 446 484E:  maree@strategyco.netW: www.strategyco.net  www.brandfinance.com www.brandirectory.com www.brandfinanceforum.com APPLE PIPS SAMSUNG BUT FERRARI WORLD’S MOST POWERFUL BRAND 2013-02-18T21:41:37Z apple-pips-samsung-but-ferrari-world-s-most-powerful-brand LONDON, UK: Apple (US$87 billion) pips Samsung (US$58 billion) as the world’s most valuable brand but Ferrari is the world’s most powerful brand, according to leading brand valuation and marketing experts Brand Finance. Table 1: Top 5 most valuable brands in the world Brand Value Rank 2013 Brand Domicile Brand Value 2013 (US$ bn) Brand Value 2012 (US$ bn) Change (US$ bn) Change (%) 1 Apple US 87.3 70.6 16.7 24% 2 Samsung South Korea 58.8 38.2 20.6 54% 3 Google US 52.1 47.5 4.7 10% 4 Microsoft US 45.5 45.8 -0.3 -1% 5 Walmart US 42.3 38.3 4 10% Source: BrandFinance® Global 500 (2013)   The Global 500 analyses financial and brand performance of leading brands across all major business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) sectors, making it the most extensive brand valuation study of its kind in the world.Apple pips SamsungElectronics giant Apple had a roller coaster year in 2012 – its enterprise value rocketed from US$350 billion to US$600 billion only to dip to US$400 billion in the space of 12 months. Despite a raft of new product launches such as the new iPhone and iPad the company continued to lose ground to Samsung and it was only its sheer size that helped Apple maintain its lead position over its smaller but more nimble South Korean rival.The net result for Apple’s brand value was a rise from $70 billion to $87 billion but a slight weakening of its brand rating from AAA+ to AAA. The mighty Apple brand is supporting the company as it arguably loses its competitive edge to Samsung in the wake of the launch of Galaxy S3, the most pre-ordered smart phone of all time. Samsung’s brand value leaped by a staggering 54 per cent (US$20.6 billion) and more new digital consumer products are expected to be launched during 2013.Commenting on the findings, Brand Finance CEO David Haigh said: “Brand is one of many intangible assets which drive profitable growth. Technology, contractual, human capital and customer intangibles as well as general goodwill all drive overall corporate value. With revenues in the tens of billions, Apple and Samsung are slugging it out for global brand supremacy and are vying with each other to create strong ‘customer love’ for their brands. However, there are other brands in the Global 500 that though they may never challenge the brand value giants, are nonetheless extremely powerful and well-loved.” Italian BeautyA case in point is Ferrari, owned by Italian car giant Fiat, that achieved the highest brand rating in the Global 500 despite being a niche sports car manufacturer with a much smaller enterprise value than many of the other global brands in the Top 500.“I often think that the Italian genius for car design is based in the language of craft,” comments world renowned design critic Stephen Bayley. “Theirs is a workshop vocabulary with words for a car’s features and contours many of which simply don’t exist in English. If you have a word for it you can draw it. That word is beauty,” he says.  Table 2: Top 5 strongest brands in the world according to brand rating Brand Rating Rank 2013 Brand Domicile Brand Value 2013 (US$ bn) Brand Value 2012 (US$ bn) 1 Ferrari Italy 3.6 3.3* 2 Google US 52.1 47.5 3 Coca-Cola US 34.2 31.1 4 PwC US 16.4 14.3 5 Hermes France 4.5 3.4 Source: BrandFinance® Global 500 (2013) *Ferrari brand value restated for 2012, according to 2013 methodology   A key driver of brand value is revenue. Clearly Ferrari cannot compete in terms of the size of the multi-national brands. However its brand rating takes into account other financial metrics such as net margins, average revenue per customer, marketing and advertising spend as well as qualitative measures such as brand affection and loyalty. Taken together, Ferrari outperforms not only rival auto manufacturers BMW, VW, Mercedes Benz, Lexus and Audi but all brands worldwide.Ferrari today announced record results for the first nine months of 2012, recording an increase in net profits by 7.6 per cent to €152.4m on a turnover of €1.76 billion."It is always a pleasure to top any list and still more so when the competition includes some of the world's most famous companies. This achievement proves that even in very tough economic times, Italy can still offer the world businesses of excellence," commented Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo. "Behind this acknowledgement are exceptional products made by equally exceptional men and women. They made it possible and for that I thank them."David Haigh concludes: “As the Global 500 powerfully demonstrates, customer expectations of brands are much higher than ever as trust becomes a critical business issue in a time of increased economic uncertainty. To fulfil such expectations, brand owners must continue to innovate whilst at the same time deliver quality with value, choice with social responsibility and sustainability with growth.”Australian BrandsEight Australian brands have featured in the Global 500, with Woolworths inching closer to joining the Top 100 Global 500 Brands.  For more information on the Australian contingent, contact us.ENDSFor more information, please contact:Maree SchneidersStrategyCo Pty Ltd+61 (0) 411 446 484maree@strategyco.netNote to EditorsThe methodology used in compiling the Global 500 uses a discounted cash flow (DCF) technique to discount estimated future royalties at an appropriate discount rate and to arrive at a new present value (NPV) of the trademark and associated intellectual property rights in order to compute brand value.Royalty Relief ApproachThe royalty relief methodology determines the value of the brand in relation to the royalty rate that would be payable for its use if it were owned by a third party. The royalty rate is applied to future revenue to determine an earnings stream that is attributable to the brand. The brand earnings stream is then discounted back to a net present value.There is a six-step process involved in making the brand value calculations:1.        Obtain specific financial and revenue data.2.        Model the market to identify market demand and the position of individual brands in the context of all other market competitors. There are three forecast periods used: ·          historical financial results up to 2012. Where these are not available using Institutional Brokers Estimate System (IBES), consensus forecasts are used;·          a five-year forecast period (2012-2016), based on three data sources (IBES, historic growth and GDP growth); and ·          perpetuity growth, based on a combination of growth expectations (GDP and IBES).3.        Calculate the royalty rate for each brand by:·          calculating brand strength – on a scale of 0-100, according to the number of attributes such as financial, brand equity, market share and profitability, among others;·          using brand strength to determine βrandβeta® index score; and ·          applying Brand Strength Score to the royalty rate range to determine the royalty rate for the brand. The royalty rate is determined by a combination of the sector of operations, historic royalties paid in that sector and profitability of the company.4.        Calculate the future post-tax royalty income stream.5.        Calculate the discount rate specific to each brand, taking account of its size, geographical presence, reputation, gearing and brand rating.6.        Discount future royalty stream (explicit forecast and perpetuity periods) to a net present value – ie. the brand valueBrand RatingsThese are calculated using Brand Strength analysis, which benchmarks the strength, risk and future potential of a brand relative to its competitors on a scale ranging from AAA to D. It is conceptually similar to a credit rating. The data used to calculate the ratings is taken from a variety of sources including Bloomberg, annual reports and proprietary research by Brand Finance.Note: The AAA to A ratings can be altered by including a plus (+) or minus (-) sign to show their more detailed positioning.Valuation DateAll brand values in the Global 500 are for the end of the year, 31 December 2012. ANZ becomes Australia’s Most Valuable Banking Brand 2013-02-01T01:10:42Z anz-becomes-australia-s-most-valuable-banking-brand ·   ANZ has been named Australia’s most valuable banking brand by the world’s leading independent brand valuation consultancy firm, Brand Finance plc·   ANZ has seen a 72% increase in total brand value and risen 11 positions to 39th in The Banker / BrandFinance® Banking 500, published by The Banker magazine·  14 Australian banks are placed among the most valuable banking brands in the report, three of which are positioned within the top 50; ANZ, Commonwealth Bank and Nab·   At the top of the table, Wells Fargo has replaced HSBC as the world’s strongest bank brand. HSBC has slipped to third after being overtaken by another US giant, ChaseANZ becomes Australia’s most valuable banking brand with a 72% increase in total brand value according to the The Banker / BrandFinance® Banking 500. Australia has shown signs of economic growth as total banking brand values are up 27.3% compared to 2012. The top position is a further accolade for ANZ which was ranked the most sustainable bank globally in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index in September 2012 in addition to a host of other industry awards. ANZ has focused on being a regional bank and has begun successfully rebranding its New Zealand branches.Wells Fargo has overtaken HSBC to become the world’s most valuable bank brand in 2013 whilst Chase has risen from fifth to second, also overtaking HSBC. European banks are struggling to emerge strongly from the economic uncertainty of the past four years and the ongoing troubles of the Eurozone hinder any progress. Today’s table shows this, there are only five European banks in the top 20 banking brands with North American and Far Eastern making up 10.Commenting on the results, Brand Finance Chief Executive, David Haigh said: “This year’s results suggest that globally the banking crisis is nearly over as both brand ratings and values are rising. While UK banks continue to lag the global recovery in both reputation and brand value, Australian banks are increasing their brand values.”The Banker / BrandFinance® Banking 500 Most Valuable Australian Banking Brands World Rank 2013 World Rank 2012 Australia Rank 2013 Brand Brand Value 2013 (USD millions) Brand Rating 2013 39 50 1 ANZ 5,832 AA+ 44 42 2 Commonwealth Bank of Australia 5,296 AA+ 45 43 3 NAB 4,982 AA+ 53 49 4 Westpac 4,108 AA+ 83 79 5 Macquarie 2,273 AA 108 101 6 St.George 1,603 AA+ 205 186 7 MLC 575 AA- 220 193 8 Colonial First State 535 AA 222 220 9 Bankwest 529 AA- 296 276 10 BT Financial Group 322 AA+ 300  NA 11  Suncorp 316 AA- 320 365 12 Bendigo Bank 277 AA- 424 408 13 Bank Of Queensland 196 AA 469 445 14 IOOF 161 A+ The Banker / BrandFinance®Banking 500 Top 10 Most Valuable Banking Brands Rank 2013 Rank 2012 Brand Domicile Brand Value 2013 (USD millions) Brand Rating 2013 1 2 Wells Fargo US 26,044 AA+ 2 5 Chase US 23,408 AAA- 3 1 HSBC UK 22,865 AAA- 4 3 Bank of America US 22,397 AA+ 5 6 Citi US 21,677 AA+ 6 4 Santander Spain 20,119 AAA- 7 11 ICBC China 19,820 AA+ 8 7 American Express US 19,004 AAA- 9 8 BNP Paribas France 18,573 AAA- 10 10 China Construction Bank China 16,949 AA For the complete The Banker / BrandFinance® Banking 500 report and further information, go to www.brandfinance.comNotes for EditorsFirst published in 2006, the Brand Finance Banking 500 in association with The Banker was the first publicly available study analysing the financial value of the world’s top banking brands. It is published annually and incorporates data from all listed companies globally. Each brand is accorded a brand rating: a benchmarking study of the strength, risk and future potential of a brand relative to its competitor set as well as a brand value: a summary measure of the financial strength of the brand. The report analyses the market values of brands as intangible financial assets that drive demand and build business relationships. Brand Finance uses the Royalty Relief method to analyse the royalties that a corporation would have to pay to license its brand if it did not own it, thus establishing the cost from which a bank is relieved through owning its brand. For all media enquiries please contact:Maree SchneidersStrategyCo(+61) 411 446 484maree@strategyco.net  About Brand FinanceBrand Finance plc, the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy, advises strongly branded organisations on maximising their brand value through effective management of their brands and intangible assets.  Founded in 1996, Brand Finance has performed thousands of branded business, brand and intangible asset valuations worth trillions of dollars.Its clients include international brand owners, tax authorities, Intellectual Property lawyers and investment banks. Its work is frequently peer-reviewed by the big four audit practices and its reports have been accepted by various regulatory bodies, including the UK Takeover Panel.Brand Finance is headquartered in London and has a network of international offices in Amsterdam, Athens, Bangalore, Barcelona, Cape Town, Colombo, Dubai, Geneva, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Lisbon, Madrid, Moscow, New York, Paris, Sao Paulo, Sydney, Singapore, Toronto and Zagreb.For further information, please visit our website: www.brandfinance.comValuation | Analytics | Strategy | Transactions     Business and Marketing Planning surge in readiness for FY2012/13 2012-03-05T07:53:21Z businesses-planning-ahead-for-new-financial-year Planning, Research and Marketing Communications consultancy StrategyCo reported high levels of business confidence among companies with Australian operations - gauged by its appointment book for planning sessions for the new Australian Financial Year, due to commence on 1 July. Speaking on behalf of the company, Planning Director Charles Hornor said that 'with just over 3 months to go until the new financial year, we are being asked to assist an increasing number of businesses with full-day and half-day planning sessions to develop and lock in: revenue budgets (and how to achieve them);Marketing Activity Plans; andCross-functional Implementation Activity Plans.' He added that Marketing Activity Planning is at its highest level for more than three years, indicating companies intend to increase marketing budgets in the 2012/13 financial year. "All of the companies whose Marketing Planning we are engaged in are budgeting for increased annual spend versus the current financial year."The planning methodologies developed by StrategyCo ensure companies receive a finished plan that is easy to track once they move into the implementation phase, with status-reporting, next steps, responsibilities and accountabilities all built-in.The company reported that in addition to strong bookings from large organisations, an unusally large number of small and medium enterprises have scheduled planning days on the specifics of their marketing plans, more than three times the number recorded at the beginning of March 2011. Mr Hornor said: "If planning day bookings are a gauge of business confidence then it appears that business owners have taken a positive view of the coming financial year. They are saying to us 'let’s get to work to ensure our plans are in place so that our team members are ready to hit the ground running in July." Simple half-day planning sessions start at $1250.00 + GST. For more information or to arrange an interview contact Charles Hornor, Planning Director on 03 8399 9511 (Direct Line), 0410 327 122 (mobile) or charles.hornor@strategyco.net. 50% of SMEs say value of dollar ‘makes no difference’ to their businesses 2010-06-18T05:29:13Z 50-of-smes-say-value-of-dollar-makes-no-difference-to-their-businesses In a recent MSI survey involving more than 500 Australian and New Zealand SMEs, 50% of participants said that neither a lower nor a higher dollar makes any real difference to their businesses, while 22% and 28% stated that recent volatility was good and bad for their business respectively. However, almost half of participants (49%) said that the lower exchange rate is good for their local economy. The poll, conducted by MSI Global Alliance in Australia and New Zealand, sought to identify business-owner thinking on the fluctuating dollars of both nations and what impact it has from a business perspective and from a consumer perspective. A higher dollarWhile both the Australian and NZ dollars fell sharply in May, a month prior they had been on a high. And according to respondents surveyed, 63% said that ‘as consumers’ they had not been encouraged to purchase imported products when the dollar was strong. Asked the same questions from a ‘business perspective’, the response was similar, 61% saying they had not been encouraged to purchase imported products while 33% stated they had been encouraged to purchase imported goods. When holding a strong dollar 47% of respondents noted that the prices of imported goods had become ‘a little cheaper’ than usual and 19% had noticed the prices become ‘much cheaper’. More than 70% said that overall, savings had not been passed fully on to either business or individual consumers. Have revenues been affected?Asked if their business revenues had been affected as a result of a high dollar, 60% of SMEs stated that they had not while 25% pointed to a negative impact and 11% said that their revenue has risen. One SME who said revenue was down as a result of the higher dollar stated that “our industry is actually losing sales to the internet, it encourages consumers to buy online and from abroad.” When asked if they wanted to see an increase or decrease in the value of the AUS and NZ dollars 42% of SMEs stated they would like to see the dollars strengthen in value. ‘A strong dollar in the current global market indicates a strong economy’, said one, a sentiment shared by many. Affected industries When asked what industries would be negatively affected by the recent volatility in currency markets, as expected the overwhelming majority referred to importing/exporting, mining, agriculture, manufacturing and tourism. ‘It’s hard to forecast margins and set prices when there are significant jumps either way, and that doesn’t help confidence’ was one comment, echoed by many. Future OutlookRespondents expected both the Australian and New Zealand dollars to increase in value over the next 3 months with higher interest rates comparative to the rest of the developed world being the key reason. When asked to state what value their dollar will have in 3 months time, the average value for the ‘Aussie’ was 0.86 US cents and 72 US cents for the ‘Kiwi’. To arrange an interview with MSI spokesperson, Charles Hornor, please contact:James Officer MSI Marketing Adviser +613 8399 9513 james.officer@strategyco.net About MSI Global Alliance Legal & Accounting group MSI Global Alliance was founded in 1990 in London, and has grown to become the world’s 15th largest professional services grouping, with more than 250 member firms in over 100 countries worldwide. MSI’s representation in Australia and New Zealand currently consists of 12 leading accounting and legal firms in key commercial and financial centres. They survey was conducted within the member firms’ client bases. For further information on the MSI ANZ Group in Australia and New Zealand, please visit www.msi-anz.net. The Liquidation of Storm Financial 2010-05-04T23:46:47Z the-liquidation-of-storm-financial Tucker & Cowen Solicitors have been recently engaged by the liquidators of Storm Financial Limited, one of the largest financial services companies in Australia. In 2008, Storm Financial Limited (“Storm”) was a company with some 14,000 clients under investment advice, well over a billion dollars of funds under management, and as at 30 June 2008 had an audited net profit of approximately $28 million. By 9 January 2009, administrators had been appointed to the company, clients were threatening law suits for substantial losses, over $500 million in equity for clients had been wiped out and the business was insolvent and in ruins. Over $100million in claims have been submitted to the liquidator for consideration at this time, and the assets seem unlikely to discharge the main secured banks’ indebtedness let alone meet any of the claims of unsecured creditors. Tucker & Cowen Solicitors have been engaged by the liquidators, Messrs Khatri and Worrell of Worrells Solvency & Forensic Accountants, to investigate the collapse of the company and to assist in its winding up. As is now well known, throughout 2008, share markets worldwide suffered significant downturns, the greatest seen since the Great Depression of the early 1930s. Storm was a financial advising company, whose principal strategy consisted of “gearing” by borrowing against real estate or other assets to invest in managed index funds, and then defer the gear up against that investment by taking out margin loans. Many Storm clients were therefore geared well in excess of 50% against the total value of their investments, which of course proves catastrophic with an approximate decline in the Australian All Ordinaries Index of 47% throughout calendar 2008. The Regulator - ASIC Given that Storm held a financial services licence to advise clients from the Australian Government regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (“ASIC”), it is unsurprising that the regulator took a considerable interest in the liquidation. Indeed, the regulator’s detailed investigations had begun slightly before the appointment of the administrators on 9 January 2009 by private examinations commenced in December 2008. ASIC provided funding to Tucker & Cowen Solicitors and Worrells for the purpose of investigations, and of conducting a lengthy examination. We conducted an examination that went for well over a month of hearing days in the Federal Court of Australia, examining the directors, officers, bankers, insurers, senior investment advisers, clients and others to determine the cause of the collapse, the consequences of the collapse, and to investigate potential prosecutions under the Corporations Law and other securities laws against any persons who may have contravened those provisions. Those investigations are still at a preliminary stage. We are presently assisting the liquidators to prepare their final reports to ASIC in relation to the nature and causes of the collapse, and in relation to further investigations and any potential prosecutions that may be considered warranted. Those findings are still confidential at this stage. The Lessons Of particular interest was the rapidity of the collapse in this particular case. As noted above, the company had an extensive client base and considerable net profits at 30 June 2008, and yet six months and nine days later was insolvent, in administration with many of its clients financially ruined for the rest of their lives. It was particularly distressing in that a number of the clients of Storm who took financial advice were elderly or retired persons, who quite literally lost all of their life savings, and more in the collapse. The lessons seem to be:- 1. Storm had a consistent model of advice whereby substantially the same advice was given to most of their clients. Storm’s directors argue that this is because the advice was only given to the sort of clients that the advice suited. Nevertheless, the losses suffered by many clients demonstrate that there were serious risks involved with the advice. 2. Although it is perhaps a lesson that has been learned many times before, everyone needs to be aware of the dangers of gearing. Gearing or leverage can certainly rapidly increase returns when times are good and markets are rising. It has an equal and opposite effect when markets are falling. 3. The rate of the fall in stock markets in late 2008 around the world was such that margin calls and stop losses did not operate as they ought to have, and clients who thought they had reserve or protected positions because of stop losses or margin calls, found that they in fact lost everything and those did not work. 4. Terms and conditions need to be read carefully. Most of Storm’s clients had margin loans through the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. The Commonwealth Bank’s terms and conditions provide the bank is not actually obliged to make any margin calls at all, and it is up to clients to monitor their own investments. Therefore, as always, be aware of the fine print. The Unusual Aspects The speed of the collapse also means that many of the usual issues such as insolvent trading or substantial voidable transactions will only arise on a much smaller scale than Storm. However, that will give rise to unusual considerations about breaches of directors’ duties and/or breaches of the financial licensing provisions of the securities legislation. If prosecutions are in fact launched, it is likely that some of these will be novel and it is the first time some of the provisions may have been used for prosecution. The lesson is that directors of companies involved in the financial services industry certainly need to consider worst case scenarios, and thoroughly prepare for what might occur. Of course, that may lead to less spectacular growth in boom times, but that lack of performance will be more than made up by the comfort directors can feel when times go bad that they had adequate provisions for the worst. Tucker & Cowen Solicitors were ideally placed to assist the liquidators with this administration, given not only our strong expertise in insolvency and litigation, but our experience in corporate and commercial matters, all of which were required to form the team to assist the liquidators in relation to the liquidation of Storm. This was particularly the case because of the lack of available assets, and the public funding provided via ASIC, which required a tight team to manage the investigations and reporting under extremely tight time and budgetary guidelines. The liquidators retained the expertise of Tucker and Cowen for this important liquidation, with the team led by Richard Cowen and Senior associate Dan Ryan. What are Focus Groups? 2010-03-04T07:20:50Z what-are-focus-groups What are Focus Groups? Focus groups are in-depth discussion groups held with a small number of carefully selected individuals. They are regarded as a qualitative research method. Qualitative methods are ways of collecting data which are concerned with describing meaning, rather than with drawing statistical inferences. Focus Groups are usually held to discuss one or two predefined topics and provide an excellent way of obtaining feedback on visuals such as new logos or ad campaigns. Examples Examples of Focus Groups we have recently conducted include:- For a major government organisation that issues fine. Focus Groups were held with the objective of improving the form that people fill out when they receive a fine and want to allocate it to someone else.- A major association to identify new products and services that can be introduced to increase their value to members.- A major Victorian University to discuss marketing messages to its target groups. The Value of Focus Groups A key value of focus groups is that they generate information through the give and take of group discussion. With the skill of an experienced facilitator, discussion points are shared, discussed and progressed to a level that cannot be achieved via one or one interviews or online surveys. As ideas are shared, new ideas are generated. They also enable you to see reactions first hand and to understand them through further questioning. Composition The composition of a focus group is usually based on a pre-selected group (e.g. stage of life, interests, gender, members / clients). Bringing people with common interests or experiences together makes it easier for them to carry on a productive discussion. The ideal size for a focus group is between six and twelve people. This size group encourages participants to contribute their ideas. Groups that are too small can be dominated by one or two members, or they may fall flat if too few people have anything to contribute. Too large a group lacks cohesion and may break up into side conversations, or people may become frustrated if they have to wait to have a say. Questions Focus group questions should be clearly formulated so that the question does not influence the answer. The facilitator’s job is to keep the group “focused” and help participants generate a lively and productive discussion. Questions should be as open ended as possible. The quality of information gained from focus groups depends on how effectively the facilitator asks the questions and how well they keep the discussion targeted on the research objectives.A Question Guide should be prepared in advance and approved by the client based on the client’s objectives. Recruitment Participants are generally recruited by telephone and given a brief description of what the group will be about. A follow up email is then sent to provide information about the time and date of the focus group and further information about its objectives. Payment Participants are often offered an “in kind” reward (e.g. $50 cash) for attending as an incentive. How Many Focus Groups Do You Need? The number of Focus Groups you should undertake depends on the project and your objectives. To work out how many Focus Groups to undertake you need to take into account:- Whether the Focus Groups are being undertaken in isolation or form part of a bigger research project that has other components (e.g. plus and Online Survey or telephone research).- The size of the sample you need information from, e.g. State or national? How large is the age range of the people you are seeking feedback from? Etc…- Your budget. Key Benefits Focus Groups are a very effective Market Research tool with many benefits, including:- They provide qualitative data.- Provide immediate data (we provide an Outcomes Report to the client after each Focus Group).- Enable you to understand and explore ideas, thought processes and motivators.- Often generate new ideas an concepts.- Enable you to understand and test reactions to visual messaging. For more information please contact:James Officer+61 (03) 8399 9513james.officer@strategyco.net How to write a press release 2010-03-04T06:50:39Z how-to-write-a-press-release-1 How to write a press release! We often find businesses get in a tangle when attempting to write a press release for circularisation to target media. In this article we touch on some of the key points to consider when constructing a press release. - Is it news? - Is it relevant to the publications’ readers? - Is it written in journalistic style? - Is your information concise and absolutely clear in meaning? - Your media list and availability of nominated spokespeople - Use of photographs - Following up To give yourself the best possible chance of being published, it’s important to present your press release clearly and concisely and ensure that the information contained within the release is fine-tuned per publication – this will make sure it is relevant to the readers of those publications. The following takes a practical look at how companies should construct press releases to give them the best chance of gaining coverage and building relationships with editors and journalists. When writing a press release, there are a number of simple rules to follow. Make sure you can answer the following questions about your subject matter, in the affirmative:- Is it news? The most important rule is that the any press release you issue must be newsworthy and interesting to the editor you have targeted - otherwise it will be ‘filed’ and you will not have made best use of your time. Is it relevant to the publications' readers? An editor will only publish your press release, or run a story based upon it, if he or she feels it is relevant to the publication's hard won readership. With this in mind, always write your press release to an audience of one - the editor, or news editor, of the publication (or program) you are targeting. If you think that an editor of a specific publication has a different view as to what is relevant in comparison with other publications, adapt the press release to fit the style of the publication concerned. A tailored press release is more likely to be published - it shows you have thought about the readership and the sort of slant the publication usually puts on its news items. Is it written in journalistic style? Could your press release be justifiably printed exactly as you have scripted it? If you believe it could be transferred directly onto the page of your target publications, you have a good chance of being published. Check the news pages of the publications on your media list and follow the style if you want the best results! Is your information concise and absolutely clear in meaning? As you will see when you read any published news item, you need to get to the facts early and you need to cover the essentials of the story: - Who - What - When - Where - Why These can be covered in any order but, as a general rule, they do need to be covered if you can be certain to have recorded all the facts. The example press release linked to this instalment is based entirely on the basic information set out below: - who - Acme Products - what - Two new products launched - when - 1st March 2010 - where - Alice Springs - why - Servicing customer demand Your media list and availability of nominated spokespeople Always include a contact name at the end of your press release, so that more information, or a different comment, can be requested by the editor or journalist the editor has asked to take up the story. Remember to make it easy for journalists to get in touch with you at all times. Use of photographs A photograph can help your press release to be published, if it is relevant to your story. If you do have a photograph, always include a copy with each emailed copy of your press release for viewing purposes – that way editors can see if the shot aids the story. Following up Many firms do all the work to produce a well-written press release, invest in quality photography and prepare a well-researched media list and wonder why nothing is published. It is important to call all journalists that you have sent the press release to in order to gauge their level of interest. Very often this is the key to having your news published. The journalist you speak to may have a question or two that you can answer on the spot – or he or she may have misunderstood some of the contents – either way, the follow up call completes the cycle and assists you with getting to know the journalist/s better. If you don’t get published this time, next time around you will have learned something in terms of what journalist A or journalist B is looking for in a news piece. Most importantly, persist and persevere because your ongoing media relations campaigning will ultimately produce results – and will show journalists that you and your firm can be relied upon to supply information, commentary and articles when required. In a Nutshell: Press Release Tips Is your story newsworthy? Tailor your press releases to different publications to ensure they are relevant Record the facts in a single sheet whenever possible Always chase up your press releases with a telephone call to ensure they have been received Invest in quality accompanying photography Well written, newsworthy Press Releases are welcomed by editors; they can lead to considerable objective exposure for businesses within trade, local and national media. Formore information please contact James Officer at StrategyCo on +61 (03) 8399 9513 or alternatively james.officer@strategyco.net Johnston Withers High Court Win 2010-03-04T05:24:29Z johnston-withers-high-court-win Former State MP Ralph Clarke, represented by Johnston Withers (Richard Bradshaw, ably assisted by Mark Jappe and law clerk Ben Hancock), had a big win in the High Court in September. Mr Clarke challenged the constitutional validity of a superannuation contributions surcharge that applied to South Australian MPs and senior public servants. After losing in the Federal Court, Mr Clarke was successful on appeal, with the High Court deciding, six judges to nil, that the special Federal laws imposing this surcharge were invalid as they applied to Mr Clarke and other State MPs. South Australian barristers Paul Heywood-Smith QC and Andrew Tokley (briefed by Johnston Withers) argued in the High Court that the surcharge was invalid as it placed an impermissible burden on the capacity of SA to function as an independent government. This ability is required by the federal nature of the Constitution of Australia. They were supported in this argument by the Attorneys-General of all the mainland States. The ATO and the Commonwealth Attorney General argued that the laws did not affect the States enough to be invalid. After almost six months of deliberation, the High Court concluded that the method and amount of remuneration of State Parliamentarians formed such an important part of the constitutional functioning of the States that any Federal statute which singles out people at the highest levels of State Government for different treatment from that applicable to the rest of the population will likely be invalid.For more information contact James Officer at MSI Global Alliance on (03) 8399 9513 or james.officer@strategyco.net SMEs ask Santa for ‘less debt’, ‘more business’ and ‘better cash flow’ 2009-12-17T02:20:14Z smes-ask-santa-for-less-debt-more-business-and-better-cash-flow-1 Christmas Spending Survey 2009 Results of MSI Global Alliance’s 2009 Annual SME Christmas Spending survey in Australia and New Zealand show that 66% of participating companies will hold a Christmas function this year. In 2008 72% of the same companies held a Christmas function. More than 600 SMEs participated in the poll. It’s interesting to note that even though fewer companies are holding a staff Christmas function this year, those having a function are spending more than they did in 2008 - with 30% of companies spending more this year then last and 17% spending less this year. Some key findings were: The majority (54%) of SME businesses will be spending between $1001 - $5,000 on their Christmas function. Only 6% of employees will need to contribute to the Christmas party personally, which is down from last years 11%. 61% of businesses will allow company employees to bring partners to this years Christmas party, which is fractionally up on last years 60%. Although businesses hosting Christmas parties are not cutting the cost of their festivities, Christmas gift spending on their employees has fallen since last year. While 45% of employers will be giving gifts to their team members this year, in 2008 more than 50% of employers presented gifts. Economic Situation - and gifts from Santa The survey results also showed that despite the economic situation seemingly improving over the last six months of 2009, 78% of businesses have not freed up spending, while 20% have. Comments received from survey participants indicated this is due to a lack of genuine confidence that the economy is actually improving, particularly for SMEs. One business owner commented “Who says the economic situation has improved?” So, despite an array of economic indicators pointing to an upturn, many SMEs are continuing to contain their expenditure. When MSI posed the question to the businesses of what they wanted Santa Claus to bring them for Christmas, popular responses were “better cash flow”, “More business”, “Stability”, “More clients and work”, “Lots of contracts” and “Less debt”. When asked what industries would continue to suffer the most from the recent economic down turn, the responses were mainly directed at the Construction/Property Development and Finance and Banking industries – despite bumper profits for the big banks. Consumer Christmas Spending In terms of consumer spending on Christmas gifts, 64% of males and 60% of females said they would be spending the same as they did last year. While 12% of men and 13% of women said they would spend more and 24% of men and 26% of women will be spending less this year than last year. Some key findings on how much consumers are spending on gifts this year: Amount ($) Female (%) Male (%) Don’t Know 5.3 4.2 0 - 50 2.6 2.1 51 - 100 2.6 3.2 101 - 200 5.3 6.3 201 - 300 13.2 5.3 301 – 400 7.9 4.2 401 – 500 18.4 10.5 501 – 600 2.6 11.6 601 – 700 5.3 3.2 701 – 800 2.6 3.2 801 – 900 0.0 0.0 901 – 1000 10.5 12.6 1001 – 2000 10.5 20.0 2001 + 13.2 13.7 According to the results, without question clothes will be the most popular Christmas gift item, with 47% of respondents stating they would be buying them as gifts this Christmas. Other popular items included toys (41%), gift cards (37%), books (35%), jewellery (33%) and home wares (27%). ENDS _______________________________________________________________________________ To arrange an interview with MSI spokesperson, Charles Hornor, contact: James Officer (03) 8399 9513 james.officer@strategyco.net About MSI Global Alliance Legal & Accounting group MSI Global Alliance was founded in 1990 in London, and has grown to become the world’s 15th largest professional services grouping, with more than 250 member firms in over 100 countries worldwide. MSI’s representation in Australia and New Zealand currently consists of 13 leading accounting and legal firms in key commercial and financial centres. For information on the MSI ANZ Group in Australia and New Zealand, please visit www.msi-anz.net.