Wednesday 5 October 2016 2:30 pm

How to stop your business from getting a soggy bottom

Tony Manwaring is executive director of external affairs at CIMA

Great British Bake Off (GBBO) is unquestionably one of the most popular shows on television.

It attracts 13m viewers and appeals to the whole family and has done this more successfully than anyone else for six years. In fact, I’d even go as far to wager that a considerable number of you reading this now might be planning to sneak off early tonight to tune in. The secret is out.

But due to recent events, the icing may no longer be on the cake.

GBBO was recently sold to Channel 4 by Love Productions in a £75m deal over three years. But there are now claims that the BBC wants the acquisition to be probed by a committee of MPs, revealing the considerable ill feeling that has been generated by the switch.

From the outside, it appears Love Productions have only taken a very narrow and short term view of success into account when determining the future of the show and its business while ignoring many of the assets that have made GBBO such a triumph over the years. Failing to hold on to Mel, Sue and Mary Berry – for instance – has created significant disharmony among members of the public, which could ultimately jeopardise the interest of many of GBBO’s current viewership.

At CIMA, we refer to such things as ‘intangibles’. These are assets not recorded on the balance sheet that, if lost, could damage brand reputation and threaten longevity. Could this logic therefore spell the end of GBBO’s reign as the most watched TV show in the UK?

Read more: Here's how much more dough Paul Hollywood has than Mary Berry

Our recent work with Brand Finance on the Global Intangible Financial Tracker report showed that many businesses recognise that value is not fully captured on the balance sheet. In other words, non-financial factors such as intellectual, human, social and relationships were found to contribute more to long term success.

The message here is clear.

For long term success, it’s essential to understand all value drivers to ensure the right ingredients to take good decisions – in business and in life. Integrated reporting is an approach we advise businesses to use to assess and preserve this value, a method that helps them weigh up both financial and non-financial assets to make the best decisions for the short, medium and long term.

Love Productions’ decision to opt for money and ignore the brand value of the BBC may ultimately hurt GBBO’s long term success, particularly if the current ‘boycott’ pledge among upset viewers holds firm next year. Knowing how fickle we all can be, as a fan, I hope this isn’t the case.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.