As rapid change alters the business landscape, brands still may hold value


In the wake of the monumental shifts in the music industry sit skeletons and shadows of retail outlets where consumers listened to and purchased records, tapes and CDs. Last minute gifts could always be purchased as Sam Goody’s. HMV’s demise in the UK illustrates that value still exists in brands.

HMV is named after the label put to the picture of the cock-eared dog, Nipper, sitting alone and presumably listening to a gramophone, known throughout the English-speaking world as “His Master’s Voice.” BusinessWeek reports though HMV might have to shutter over 200 of its stores, laying off thousands of workers, there’s still considerable value in its 53 trademarks registered with Britain’s Intellectual Property Office. Nipper appears to be the most valuable of the lot.

In 2011, HMV had is intangible assets valued at $78M. (It’s possible, but Nipper’s long list of ownership changes makes it unlikely.)  IP valuation specialist Mike Pellegrino says that, generally speaking, trademarks represent the most valuable types of IP.  Interbrands’ survey of brand values in 2012 bears testimony to this:

1. Coca-Cola, $77.8B 2. Apple, $76.6B 3. IBM, $75.5B 4. Google, $69.7B 5. Microsoft, $57.9B 6. GE, $43.7B 7. McDonald’s, $40.1B 8. Intel, $39.4B 9. Samsung, $32.9B 10. Toyota, $30.3B

In research performed in 2012, The Licensing Letter concluded that the overall average price differential between branded merchandise and nonbranded, like merchandise in a retail setting is 32.9%, suggesting overall strong brand value.  The study also points out stark differences between product categories, with health and beauty brands the top value generator, and property types, with sports licensing on top.

Entrepreneurs are gobbling up discarded brands, sometimes at bargain prices. Polaroid, Eagle Snacks, the Sharper Image, and just last year, Clearly Canadian are brands seeing a revival under new ownership. River West Brands looks for abandoned (or unused) brands; the Los Angeles Times reports in 2004 they bought the rights to Nuprin, a pain reliever no longer being made, then sold it to CVS, which used it for a privately-labeled pain reliever.

Brand value is a hot topic, critical to valuation, financial and M&A analysts, and BVR has invited Pellegrino to do a thorough review on March 14. At this webinar, attendees will learn what constitutes a brand, review what legal protections brands carry, run through scenarios of how to value brands, and be given checklists of hard-earned, court-tested do’s and don’ts.


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