Measuring Brand Value

Measuring brand value requires foresight. Some businesses have it. But in B2B marketing, not many.

It’s possible for a brand name alone to be worth more than all the fixed assets in a business. Actually, it’s desirable. But is it achievable?

—oOo—

“Scot, can I speak to you about brand value?”

“Sure, how can I help?”

“Well, I’m experiencing pressure from The Board about our level of expenditure.”

“Mmmm.”

“It’s a lot of money to spend on something that has no tangible return.”

“Mmmm.”

“It’s about the brand value, you see? Our direct marketing provides a direct return.”

“Mmmm.”

“Our sales team also provide a directly measurable return.”

“Mmmm.”

“Even marketing automation provides a measurable return. No one knows how to implement it of course, but if we did, we could measure it.”

“Mmmm.”

“So, we’re at the budget review stage and I’m going to have to ask you to justify the spend and demonstrate measurable brand value return on a go-forward basis.”

“On a, ‘go-forward basis’? Seriously, did you just say that? Is that twattery even a thing?”

“Eh, yes, a go-forward basis. Can you justify the spend please?”

“No.”

“Right. And, eh…?”

“I stopped answering dumbass questions about brand positioning after I wrote a book about it. You just asked a dumbass question so I’m just not going to answer it. Go read the book.”

“Wow. That’s rude.”

“I could have told you to go sit on your thumb. *That* would’ve been rude.”

“Look, we’re all accountable. Your work on B2B branding has to be measured and accounted for.”

“Our work isn’t measured on a ‘go-forward basis’. It’s the reverse. Our work on brand value is “measured on what happens when you *don’t* do it, when you stop doing it, or when you do it badly. Brand value is a retrospective benefit built over time. It’s not a ‘go-forward’ line item on a spreadsheet.”

“Look, I’m not going back to The Board with a philosophical argument over brand marketing in space and time. What does this have to do with measuring brand value?”

“That’s a better question. Your brand value is measured by past and current perception, not by future ‘ROI on a go-forward basis’.”

“What?”

“You and ‘The Board’ need to stop trying to pin sales onto your brand awareness activities and start treating it as part of your wider B2B marketing strategy. Your brand is there, in the background, doing its job, raising awareness, establishing and maintaining your positioning, enhancing customer perceptions – building brand value. Don’t overthink it and don’t keep dropping it in the same fucking bucket as sales, automation and all the other shit you churn out.”

“I still can’t tell them that.”

 

“Brand value is a retrospective benefit built over time. It’s not a ‘go-forward’ line item on a spreadsheet.”

 

[Sigh] Have you ever been to Abu Dhabi?”

“Eh, yes actually, a couple of months ago.”

“Did you go to the museum?”

“What?”

“The museum. In Abu Dhabi. Did you go?”

“Haha! No.”

“Why not?”

“A museum? In Abu Dhabi? Haha! Why would I? It’s not top of my Abu Dhabi to-do list.”

“Mmm. Abu Dhabi recognised that as a challenge too. So in an inspired piece of creative marketing, they built The Louvre. The museum in Abu Dhabi is actually called ‘The Louvre’.”

“Wait, what…? The Louvre? Like the Louvre in Paris…?”

“Yep. The Louvre in Paris and the French government has even lent a number of significant artworks to The Louvre in Abu Dhabi.”

“Wow. If I’d known that, I’d have visited it. I love The Louvre.”

“Yeah. A lot of people say that. You see what you did there, right?”

“What?”

“You just bought the brand. ‘A museum in Abu Dhabi,’ held no value to you, in fact it was an object of laughable derision. But when the same museum was called ‘The Louvre Abu Dhabi’, you regretted not visiting.”

“Yeah… I guess so… yeah, you’re right. [Pause] But how do you put a value on that kind of rebranding?”

“Well, quite easily. You don’t think The Louvre just handed over its name do you? They’re French FFS. Abu Dhabi has to pay for the use of the brand name.”

“How much…?”

“How much do you think?”

“I have no idea…”

“I’ll give you a clue. The actual museum (not the artworks or contents) just the building – cost around £85 million.”

“£85 MILLION? Damn!”

“So with that as context, how much do you think Abu Dhabi paid to use the name, ‘Louvre’…?”

“I don’t know… maybe a million…? No, wait, what the hell, let’s say 10% of the build value.”

“So, £8.5 million?”

“Yeah. Max.”

“It was £402 million.”

“Four HUNDRED million…? For the name…? Shut up.”

“Approximately.”

“Damn.”

“The *real* value is always in the name, the perception – the brand. So when ‘The Board’ talks about investment in branding, and customer perception, and brand value – ask them if they’ve been to the museum in Abu Dhabi.”

“I’ll talk to The Board.”

“Tell them I sent, ‘un baiser’.”

“‘Un baiser’? What’s that…?”

“In French, it means a kiss.”

“Oh, haha, ok, cool, I’ll tell them.”

“Unless you use the noun as a verb. In which case it means, ‘fucker’.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah.”

 

Scot McKee
Managing Director
Birddog Ltd.

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