The Value of Brands
by David De La Torre
In What are brands for?, The Economist reports that the value of brands is a subject of debate.
[A]rguments rage about how much brands are worth and why. Firms that value them come to starkly different conclusions. Most of the time they do not appear as assets on companies’ balance-sheets. One school of thought says brands succeed mainly by inspiring loyalty. “Consumers would die for Apple,” believes Nick Cooper of Millward Brown [a market research company]. Others take a cooler view. Bruce McColl, who as the chief marketer of Mars oversees Snickers chocolate bars, Whiskas cat food and other brands, is on record as saying that “consumers aren’t out there thinking about our brands.” And however much brands may have been worth in the past, their importance may be fading.
Brands, of course, vary. Some identify products that are distinctive (like The Economist, we hope). Others confer distinction on products that are otherwise hard to tell apart, such as cola. The brands of banks and insurers are shaped less by advertising and marketing (the usual ways of building a brand) than by customers’ experiences… [more]