BackBay Communications has published a white paper on the importance of branding for private equity firms, which found that 93% of respondents believed it is important for PE firms to have a strong brand. Respondents also felt that, in general, brand was critical for fundraising (83%) and deal flow (76%) above all else. With respect to players in the PE arena, having a healthy brand image was viewed as most important for limited partners (76%), CEOs of target companies (66%) and lenders (60%). In order to build strong brands, the survey found that PE firms should focus on achieving consistently strong returns (82%), have investment discipline (54%) and build a cohesive firm culture (47%).
Of all PE firms in the survey, 16 were subjectively felt to have the strongest brands according to the survey's 320 respondents. Included in the Sweet 16 were many of the mega-buyout firms, such as Blackstone and Carlyle, as well as other firms like The Riverside Company, Berkshire Partners, Summit Partners and the Audax Group. According to PitchBook, these 16 firms out-performed the industry as a whole in nine out of the ten vintage years from 1996-2005 by an average of 5%.