Branding is the car that continues to drive businesses into the future. Brands outlive products. It has profound implications on the fortune and failure of a business. In fact, branding is veritably quantifiable. Accountants take a leer at the balance sheet. Companies list the value of their brand on the left side.
Why? Well you don’t have to look very far to understand. When bourbon giant Jim Beam purchased Skinnygirl, a line of low calorie cocktails created by celebpreneur Bethenny Frankel, in March of 2011, what did they buy? Factories? Raw materials? Employees?
No. The reported $8.1 million sale was just the the amount Jim Beam paid for the Skinnygirl brand rights—not the physical assets. And the list doesn’t stop there…
In July of 2008, InBev acquired Anheuser Busch, the largest Brewing Company in the United States, to add to their still of brands that includes Becks and Labatt, and most recently SAB-Miller. When Kraft purchased the golden egg of the candy industry-Cadbury for $19.5 billion in January of 2010, what did they buy? Cream eggs? Chocolatiers? Recipes? No – they bought the brand.
The brand is worth more than all the other ingredients combined.
Branding is the foundation upon which businesses ordain their omnipotence.
A more elementary example is the dollar. In its simplest form, it is a piece of paper, but branding has created its value. On the front you will find the owner of the brand- the Federal Reserve, as well as a testimonial from the first president of the United States-George Washington. Then, there is the user’s guide- “This note is a legal tender for debts public and private.” If you are still not convinced, take a moment to appreciate the emotional message- “In God We Trust.” The dollar is a universal brand and its value translates globally. Branding has defined its worth.
Brands are more important today than they were 100 years ago. Why? Today, mammoth marketing agencies and a bevy of businesses have patented and trademarked almost every name you can think of- they’ve trademarked name that aren’t even names!
This makes well-established, existing brands, more powerful than ever before. It also means that curating, vibrantly transcendent brands is more abstract and laborious than it was just 10 years ago. It requires much more serpentine and sophisticated strategies.
It’s not just a product or a name – it’s a brand.
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