What It Takes to Build a Brand in the Private Equity Industry
An Interview with Patrick Floeck, Principal at Valesco Industries, LLC.
“Floeck’s primary responsibilities include business development strategy and investment origination,” reads Floeck’s biography page published on his company’s website. “His athletic background and drive for success help promote Valesco’s brand and mission of Commitment Beyond Capital.”
I recently had the chance to speak with Floeck on Zoom, asking him questions about his views on branding in the age of technology, artificial intelligence (AI), and Big Data. While technology has changed how people are exposed to brands, Floeck believes that it doesn’t change human nature, which he sees as the foundation for building a successful brand.
“What we have really focused on from a branding perspective is tapping into human nature,” he told me in our Zoom interview.
“People do business with people they like.”
Floeck explained how Valesco uses his approach in practice. While on special occasions marketers often send gifts such as mugs and tote bags bearing their logo to customers, Valesco’s customer service team used the most recent Memorial Day holiday to send customers a sleeve of spices and a large wooden cutting board bearing the company’s logo.
“The whole idea was hey here is something you can actually use, and I hope you’re getting out and having a BBQ with friend and family as we come out of this pandemic environment, and maybe next time you use this cutting board or spices, you will think of us,” he said.
Floeck says his philosophy on branding is shaped by a quote that has been attributed to some of America’s most successful entrepreneurs such as Warren Buffet, Keith Ferrazzi, and Barbara Corcoran: “People do business with people they like.”
“You really have to like somebody to want to say yes; I want to do business with this person and partner with them because I know we are going to have more than just a transactional relationship,” he said.
You Can’t Quantify Everything
Valesco invests in small to mid-sized companies specialized in manufacturing, value-added distribution, and service businesses. In this industry, Floeck says branding depends on building close ties, developing trust, and engaging in intangible activities that cannot be quantified in terms of dollars and cents.
“There’s no way to quantify that each individual thing that I do. Whether it’s a phone call, an email, a gift, a dinner, or where along that relationship-building process, what was the defining moment that led to an opportunity coming in the door. I don’t think you can ever quantify that because it’s an amalgamation of all of it,” he said.
“We truly look at it as a friendship. I mean by my close relationships, I know about their families. I know about their Alma Maters, the things that they’re interested in and do on the weekends, and it’s not because I take notes and put those into a CRM system. It’s because I’m truly genuinely interested in it because I’ve developed a friendship with them.”