Since the birth of e-commerce, marketing experts have disagreed about the future role of brands.
Some have predicted that digital technologies will hasten the demise of brands because customers will have ready access to information they need to make purchase decisions, and “brand” will therefore become less relevant.
Others have prophesied an increasing importance of brand as a simple way to evaluate choices in an era of information overkill.
To find out which school of thought is more accurate, we looked at the value of brands and customer relationships as revealed by M&A data covering over 6,000 mergers and acquisitions worldwide between 2003 and 2013.
The beauty of M&A for examining valuation trends is that M&As reveal the dollar valuations of all assets at the time of the acquisition.
Upon acquiring a business, companies have to value the different assets they acquired for their accounts and balance sheet in accordance with accounting and reporting standards. These valuations include – among other assets – brands (trademarks) and customer relationships.
This graph, based on data from the MARKABLES database, represents brand and customer relationship valuations as a percent of total enterprise value. The percentages come from fair value assessments done by purchase price allocation experts according to established accounting standards. As the graph bracingly shows, brand valuations