Strategic Personal Branding - And How it Pays Off Net Present Value (NPV) / MBA Resources

Introduction to Net Present Value (NPV) - What is Net Present Value (NPV) ? How it impacts financial decisions regarding project management?

NPV solution for Strategic Personal Branding - And How it Pays Off case study

At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. Strategic Personal Branding - And How it Pays Off case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by Deva Rangarajan, Betsy D. Gelb, Amy Vandaveer. The Strategic Personal Branding - And How it Pays Off (referred as “Personal Branding” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Sales & Marketing. It also touches upon business topics such as - Value proposition, Public relations, Social platforms.

The net present value (NPV) of an investment proposal is the present value of the proposal’s net cash flows less the proposal’s initial cash outflow. If a project’s NPV is greater than or equal to zero, the project should be accepted.

NPV = Present Value of Future Cash Flows LESS Project’s Initial Investment

Case Description of Strategic Personal Branding - And How it Pays Off Case Study

Unlike companies or products, individuals possess intrinsic personal branding as a result of personality qualities, past experience and development, and communication with others-whether they know it or not. In this sense, every person already has a personal brand of some kind. The challenge is to manage that brand strategically. We offer a process for doing so, beginning with self-analysis. Then we review published sources and summarize interviews about the personal brands of 33 U.S. and European sales executives and managers, salesforce members, and professionals who sell their own services. The interviews indicate roughly equal emphasis on competence and personal qualities in creating personal brands, as well as significant interest in distinctiveness, and the respondents provide a range of examples of how personal branding pays off. This investigation leads to our basic recommendation: Follow a strategic self-branding process based on one's values and competencies, similar to the branding methods of companies and products, but with the understanding that personal branding will change as one's career advances.

Case Authors : Deva Rangarajan, Betsy D. Gelb, Amy Vandaveer

Topic : Sales & Marketing

Related Areas : Public relations, Social platforms

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for Strategic Personal Branding - And How it Pays Off Case Study

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10014898) -10014898 - -
Year 1 3454011 -6560887 3454011 0.9434 3258501
Year 2 3976613 -2584274 7430624 0.89 3539171
Year 3 3951642 1367368 11382266 0.8396 3317875
Year 4 3227383 4594751 14609649 0.7921 2556390
TOTAL 14609649 12671937

The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2657039

In isolation the NPV number doesn't mean much but put in right context then it is one of the best method to evaluate project returns. In this article we will cover -

Different methods of capital budgeting

What is NPV & Formula of NPV,
How it is calculated,
How to use NPV number for project evaluation, and
Scenario Planning given risks and management priorities.

Capital Budgeting Approaches

Methods of Capital Budgeting

There are four types of capital budgeting techniques that are widely used in the corporate world –

1. Internal Rate of Return
2. Payback Period
3. Net Present Value
4. Profitability Index

Apart from the Payback period method which is an additive method, rest of the methods are based on Discounted Cash Flow technique. Even though cash flow can be calculated based on the nature of the project, for the simplicity of the article we are assuming that all the expected cash flows are realized at the end of the year.

Discounted Cash Flow approaches provide a more objective basis for evaluating and selecting investment projects. They take into consideration both –

1. Magnitude of both incoming and outgoing cash flows – Projects can be capital intensive, time intensive, or both. Personal Branding shareholders have preference for diversified projects investment rather than prospective high income from a single capital intensive project.
2. Timing of the expected cash flows – stockholders of Personal Branding have higher preference for cash returns over 4-5 years rather than 10-15 years given the nature of the volatility in the industry.

Formula and Steps to Calculate Net Present Value (NPV) of Strategic Personal Branding - And How it Pays Off

NPV = Net Cash In Flowt1 / (1+r)t1 + Net Cash In Flowt2 / (1+r)t2 + … Net Cash In Flowtn / (1+r)tn
Less Net Cash Out Flowt0 / (1+r)t0

Where t = time period, in this case year 1, year 2 and so on.
r = discount rate or return that could be earned using other safe proposition such as fixed deposit or treasury bond rate. Net Cash In Flow – What the firm will get each year.
Net Cash Out Flow – What the firm needs to invest initially in the project.

Step 1 – Understand the nature of the project and calculate cash flow for each year.
Step 2 – Discount those cash flow based on the discount rate.
Step 3 – Add all the discounted cash flow.
Step 4 – Selection of the project

Why Sales & Marketing Managers need to know Financial Tools such as Net Present Value (NPV)?

In our daily workplace we often come across people and colleagues who are just focused on their core competency and targets they have to deliver. For example marketing managers at Personal Branding often design programs whose objective is to drive brand awareness and customer reach. But how that 30 point increase in brand awareness or 10 point increase in customer touch points will result into shareholders’ value is not specified.

To overcome such scenarios managers at Personal Branding needs to not only know the financial aspect of project management but also needs to have tools to integrate them into part of the project development and monitoring plan.

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 15%

After working through various assumptions we reached a conclusion that risk is far higher than 6%. In a reasonably stable industry with weak competition - 15% discount rate can be a good benchmark.

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 15 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10014898) -10014898 - -
Year 1 3454011 -6560887 3454011 0.8696 3003488
Year 2 3976613 -2584274 7430624 0.7561 3006891
Year 3 3951642 1367368 11382266 0.6575 2598269
Year 4 3227383 4594751 14609649 0.5718 1845267
TOTAL 10453914

The Net NPV after 4 years is 439016

(10453914 - 10014898 )

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 20%

If the risk component is high in the industry then we should go for a higher hurdle rate / discount rate of 20%.

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 20 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10014898) -10014898 - -
Year 1 3454011 -6560887 3454011 0.8333 2878343
Year 2 3976613 -2584274 7430624 0.6944 2761537
Year 3 3951642 1367368 11382266 0.5787 2286830
Year 4 3227383 4594751 14609649 0.4823 1556415
TOTAL 9483125

The Net NPV after 4 years is -531773

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9483125 - 10014898 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Personal Branding to discount cash flow at lower discount rates such as 15%.

Acceptance Criteria of a Project based on NPV

Simplest Approach – If the investment project of Personal Branding has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Personal Branding can ACCEPT the project, otherwise they can reject the project. This means that project will deliver higher returns over the period of time than any alternate investment strategy.

In theory if the required rate of return or discount rate is chosen correctly by finance managers at Personal Branding, then the stock price of the Personal Branding should change by same amount of the NPV. In real world we know that share price also reflects various other factors that can be related to both macro and micro environment.

In the same vein – accepting the project with zero NPV should result in stagnant share price. Finance managers use discount rates as a measure of risk components in the project execution process.

Sensitivity Analysis

Project selection is often a far more complex decision than just choosing it based on the NPV number. Finance managers at Personal Branding should conduct a sensitivity analysis to better understand not only the inherent risk of the projects but also how those risks can be either factored in or mitigated during the project execution. Sensitivity analysis helps in –

Understanding of risks involved in the project.

What are the key aspects of the projects that need to be monitored, refined, and retuned for continuous delivery of projected cash flows.

What can impact the cash flow of the project.

What will be a multi year spillover effect of various taxation regulations.

What are the uncertainties surrounding the project Initial Cash Outlay (ICO’s). ICO’s often have several different components such as land, machinery, building, and other equipment.

Some of the assumptions while using the Discounted Cash Flow Methods –

Projects are assumed to be Mutually Exclusive – This is seldom the came in modern day giant organizations where projects are often inter-related and rejecting a project solely based on NPV can result in sunk cost from a related project.

Independent projects have independent cash flows – As explained in the marketing project – though the project may look independent but in reality it is not as the brand awareness project can be closely associated with the spending on sales promotions and product specific advertising.

Negotiation Strategy of Strategic Personal Branding - And How it Pays Off

References & Further Readings

Deva Rangarajan, Betsy D. Gelb, Amy Vandaveer (2018), "Strategic Personal Branding - And How it Pays Off Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.

Sapura Resources SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix

Services , Real Estate Operations

Avadh Sugar Energy SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix

Consumer/Non-Cyclical , Food Processing

ShenZhen Yitoa Intelligent Control SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix

Technology , Scientific & Technical Instr.

Lundbeck SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix

Healthcare , Biotechnology & Drugs

AF AB SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix

Capital Goods , Construction Services

Youngbo Chem SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix

Basic Materials , Containers & Packaging

Nitto Kogyo Corp SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix

Technology , Electronic Instr. & Controls

NanoCarrier SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix

Healthcare , Biotechnology & Drugs