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Dale Farm profit slump: Most valuable assets can not be easily replaced

By Tony Axon

A former CEO of United Biscuits once famously said: "Buildings age and become dilapidated. Machines wear out. People die. But what live on are brands."

Brands provide a promise of certainty in an uncertain world. They deliver on authenticity and reassurance and a trustworthy promise of performance. And in today's economic and social circumstances these facets are all extremely valuable.

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Dale Farm itself and the company's suite of other brands all meet these criteria and for that reason are very valuable in their own right and of interest to customers and consumers. Dale Farm's brand value goes beyond what it represents on the balance sheet and this value rubs off on events and communities that Dale Farm gets involved in. Dale Farm has the heritage and the stature to support events like the annual Milk Cup and the event itself benefits from the reputation and stature that Dale Farm brings.

And of course, brands endure difficult and challenging times such as its recent profit slump. Dale Farm has done this before and we expect it to continue to do so. Ensuring brand survival is, of course, subject to a number of factors, from consumer tastes and trends to packaging, pricing, distribution and competition.

Northern Ireland needs to value its local brands like Dale Farm and continue to help them grow stronger. They are valuable assets and not easily replaced.

Provided they stay in touch with consumer needs and demands, they will endure the ups and downs of today's hectic marketplace.

Tony Axon is media director at advertising and PR agency Navigator Blue

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