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Brand Creation, Valuation and Assessment Unlocking the hidden values - Opportunities ahead

"If this business were split up, I would give you the land and bricks and mortar, and I would take the brands and trademarks, and I would fare better than you." - John Stuart, Chairman of Quaker (ca. 1900)

In the last quarter of the 20th century there was a dramatic shift in the understanding of the creation of shareholder value. For most of the century, tangible assets were regarded as the main source of business value. These included manufacturing assets, land and buildings or financial assets such as receivables and investments. They would be valued at cost or outstanding value as shown in the balance sheet. The market was aware of intangibles, but their specific value remained unclear and was not specifically quantified.

Evidence of brand value

The increasing recognition of the value of intangibles came with the continuous increase in the gap between companies’ book values and their stock market valuations, as well as sharp increases in premiums above the stock market value that were paid in mergers and acquisitions in the late 1980s.

Today it is possible to argue that, in general, the majority of business value is derived from intangibles. Management attention to these assets has certainly increased substantially.

The brand is a special intangible that in many businesses is the most important asset. This is because of the economic impact that brands have. They influence the choices of customers, employees, investors and government authorities. In a world of abundant choices, such influence is crucial for commercial success and creation of shareholder value. Even non-profit organizations have started embracing the brand as a key asset for obtaining donations, sponsorships and volunteers.

Several studies have tried to estimate the contribution that brands make to shareholder value. A study by Inter brand in association with JP Morgan (see Table 2.1) concluded that on average brands account for more than one-third of shareholder value. The study reveals that brands create significant value either as consumer or corporate brands or as a combination of both.