What is the Value of a Brand? Insight from Sam BerrinSeptember 2023
The value of a brand is often overlooked or underestimated. Brand owners/managers habitually limit brand value to something like, “if we don’t register this trademark, someone else will take it.” But, this zero-sum thinking is limited since the concern over competitors copying the company name or brand materials only scratches the surface of the value of a brand.
Instead, brand owners/managers should also consider the immense value that follows from creating and building strong brand materials. As intellectual property, a brand’s expression through its name, slogans, logos, and other materials is as — if not more — valuable a measurable asset as tangible goods such as a computer, truck, or copy machine. Consider that:
-Unlike tangible goods, a brand can appreciate over time as the company grows, sometimes exponentially. Tangible goods such as equipment typically depreciate.
-Unlike tangible goods, a brand is malleable. It can change immediately to meet the needs of the legal or political climate, or the needs of the customer.
-A brand can be used to quickly expand to new markets (e.g., via licensing agreement with an established entity).
-Intellectual property can create a barrier to entry for competitors.
An entire book could be dedicated to covering how to properly value IP assets (and has! Check out: IP Valuation and Management by Weston Anson). In fact, there are companies whose entire purpose is to value IP assets. But, a deep dive into the nuts and bolts of how IP assets are valued is outside the scope of this short form post. Instead, the two points I really want to get across are:
1) It is possible to value IP assets like one would tangible goods, and brand owners/managers should start thinking of intangible assets like brand materials along the same lines as tangible assets; and
2) IP assets are somewhat like insurance in that one shouldn’t know they need it until it’s too late. Consider how one can proactively build real equity into the business with branding materials, and how to carefully construct protection for those branding materials with the help of professionals.
Stay tuned for next week!
Samuel Berrin is an associate attorney in the Brand Integrity and Innovation Group, Intellectual Property Group, and Blockchain and Digital Assets group. r. Berrin advises on all aspects of brand protection including intellectual property licensing, domestic and foreign trademark prosecution and enforcement, copyright protection, and anti-counterfeiting enforcement.