Improving brand value should be a key goal for management and workers alike. To improve brand value, it must be constantly monitored and measured, as exemplified by the model described herein, which was developed for that very purpose.

Accounting standards address the issue of measuring the value of intangibles, for instance through IFRS3, but these present methods for measuring brand value are flawed. One of the problems is that there is no distinction between goodwill resulting from the brand and good will in general. For another, a brand developed in-house does not appear in the books: it is not considered an asset. Its value only appears during an acquisition event, whether it is acquired alone or as part of a business operation. Bare accounting practices, as expressed in the company's books, cannot provide a full picture of the company's value, including all tangible and intangible assets.

To illustrate the point, just compare the book value of companies versus their fair value (market value). Over the years, it has become apparent that intangible assets are driving value creation for share holders. A study conducted over 20 years on the Russell 3,000 companies found a sharp shift towards intangible values. If in 1978, 95% of a company's value was clear from the books, by the beginning of the 2000s that proportion had plunged to about 15%. Other studies carried out among S&P-500 index companies and among the 350 largest-cap companies listed on London's FTSE delivered similar results - 70% to 75% of the companies' values, respectively, could not be explained by their books.

Let's look at specific companies. In Disney's case, 70% of its value can't be explained through the book figures. For Heinz that ratio rises to 85% and for Microsoft, 98%. Coca Cola's ratio is 80%. Where is the value coming from? Intangible assets, mainly the brand.

Companies are increasingly beginning to grasp that they have to manage their intangible assets, just as they do their tangible ones. During the economic downturn in the early 1990s as part of the global economic cycle, companies slashed expenditure. They scaled back their tangible assets and stopped investing in supporting their intangible assets, including their brands - without carefully considering accruing and future outcome of these actions.

In hindsight, we now know that companies who didn't neglect their intangible assets, and continued to build and financially manage their brands, weathered the trouble. The capital markets applauded their sustained growth, too. As a retail giant, Wal-Mart for instance is highly vulnerable to market fluctuations: yet it did not cut back spending on branding, and in fact leveraged the recession to build up its brand even more, creating a sustainable competitive edge for itself. The lesson is that even when times turn rough, a company must not cease managing its portfolio of tangible and intangible assets. It needs not to stop spending, but rather spend effectively.

The benefits of measuring brand value touch on almost every aspect of the business, from strategy and management to finances, marketing, and even the legal department. Brand value is a factor when analyzing returns on marketing drives, brand portfolio, or brand performance, even management performance. Branding value is key when evaluating a company for the purposes of M&A or in the event of ownership disputes, licensing lawsuits, partnership conflicts, and licensing agreements.

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