Brand Valuation – Why is it Required, Methods, Challenges

Introduction to Brand Valuation

Brand valuation is the process used to calculate the value of a brand. In today’s fast-paced, interconnected era businesses utilize various tangible and intangible assets for brand value creation and accretion. The brand is one such intangible asset. Brands create distinctive images and associations in the minds of customers and stakeholders and serve as a way for companies to differentiate themselves in the marketplace and establish a strong identity. Brands can become very valuable. Recently Brand Finance listed the Tata Group brand name, valued at $26.4 billion, as India’s most valuable brand.

In this article, we will describe factors that are relevant to brand valuation and generally accepted brand valuation methods as it applies to these contexts.

Why is Brand Valuation required?

Brand valuation quantifies the value of a brand, which is often a significant asset, and provides a solid foundation for decision-making, financial reporting, and brand management:

Strategic Decision-Making:

By understanding the financial value of a brand, businesses can make informed choices about brand investments, marketing strategies, expansion plans, and brand portfolio management. It helps allocate resources effectively and prioritize brand-related initiatives.

Brand Management and Strategy:

Brand valuation provides insights into the drivers of brand value. It helps identify the key factors that contribute to brand strength, customer loyalty, and brand equity. Businesses can use this information to develop effective brand management strategies, optimize brand positioning, and enhance brand performance in the market.

Financial Reporting and Compliance:

Brand valuation contributes to accurate financial reporting. Brands are considered intangible assets and may need to be valued for financial reporting purposes, such as balance sheet disclosure or purchase price allocation. Valuing brands in compliance with accounting standards provides transparency and enhances the credibility of financial statements.

Investor Communication:

 Brand valuation enables businesses to effectively communicate the value of their brands to investors, stakeholders, and shareholders. It demonstrates the significance of the brand as a valuable asset and highlights its contribution to the overall financial performance and market position of the company. This information can influence investor perception, investor relations, and potential investment opportunities.

Licensing and Royalty Agreements:

Brand valuation supports licensing and royalty negotiations. By assessing the value of a brand, businesses can determine appropriate royalty rates for licensing agreements, ensuring a fair exchange of value between the licensor and licensee. It helps maximize the revenue potential from brand licensing and strengthens brand management.

Mergers and Acquisitions:

Brand valuation plays a critical role in mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures. It helps determine the value of brands involved in such transactions, facilitating negotiations and pricing decisions. Valuation of a brand also helps identify potential synergies, assess the brand-related risks, and support due diligence processes.

Brand Valuation Methods and Approaches

According to Aaker, a brand’s value is derived from various qualitative factors[1]. These include:

Loyalty Measures

- Price Premium
- Customer Satisfaction
- Loyalty (Attitude)

Perceived Quality or Leadership Measures

- Perceived Quality
- Leadership or Popularity

Other Customer Oriented Associations or Differentiation Measures

- Perceived Values
- Brand Personality
- Organizational Association

Several quantitative methods and approaches are used to perform brand valuation, and the selection of the method depends on various factors, including the purpose of the valuation and the availability of data. Some commonly used methods / approach for brand valuation include:


This method estimates the brand value by analyzing the prices at which similar brands have been bought or sold in the market. It considers the brand's earning potential, market share, and competitive position.


This approach estimates brand value based on the projected future earnings attributable to the brand. It typically involves estimating the brand's net present value by discounting the projected cash flows associated with the brand. Another form of income approach is Relief from Royalty, under which brand value is estimated by calculating the hypothetical royalty payments that would be avoided if the brand were owned by the company. It measures the economic benefit of owning the brand outright.


This method estimates brand value by determining the cost of creating or rebuilding the brand. It considers the expenses incurred in building brand awareness, developing brand equity, and establishing brand loyalty.

Multi-Attribute Utility

This approach uses consumer data and market research to assess the perceived value of a brand by consumers. It quantifies consumer preferences and calculates the value based on their perceived benefits and trade-offs.

Application of Relief from Royalty

The Relief from Royalty method is the most commonly used approach in brand valuation. It estimates the value of a brand by considering the hypothetical royalty payments that would be saved if the brand were owned instead of licensed. The Relief from Royalty method calculates the value of the brand by estimating the present value of these hypothetical royalty payments.

The basic premise of this method is that a company that owns a brand can generate economic benefits by leveraging its brand equity. If another company wishes to use that brand, it will typically have to pay a royalty fee to the brand owner for the right to do so. For example, Hindustan Unilever pays royalty fees for using the “Unilever” brand to its holding company.

To apply the Relief from Royalty method, several key steps are involved: 

Determine a royalty rate:

The first step is to establish an appropriate royalty rate that would be typical for licensing a brand in the relevant industry. This rate is often derived from market research, comparable licensing agreements, or industry benchmarks. Several royalty rate databases can be used for market research. To test the reasonableness of the selected royalty rate, a rule of thumb of the Profit Split Method is often used, where 25-33% of the profits base is utilized as the reasonable royalty rate.

Determine the remaining useful life:

It reflects the period during which a brand is expected to contribute to the licensee’s future cash flow. There exist some examples of brand names that appear to have indefinite remaining useful lives. The MDH masala brand is over 100 years old, and the company may well continue to maintain the market for its spices for another 100 years.

Estimate hypothetical revenues:

Next, the projected revenues that the brand is expected to generate over the remaining useful life are estimated. These revenue projections are typically based on market research, historical performance, management discussions, and future growth prospects.

Calculate hypothetical royalty payments:

Using the estimated royalty rate and projected revenues, the annual royalty payments (tax adjusted) that would be required to license the brand are calculated.

Determine the discount rate:

A discount rate is applied to the projected royalty payments to account for the time value of money and the risk associated with the brand. The discount rate reflects the rate of return that an investor would expect to earn from investing in the brand.

Calculate present value:

The projected royalty payments, discounted using the selected discount rate, are summed to determine the present value of the brand. This represents the estimated value of the brand under the Relief from Royalty method.

It’s important to note that the accuracy of the Relief from Royalty method relies on the quality and reliability of the inputs used, such as the royalty rate, revenue projections, and discount rate. Therefore, obtaining accurate and relevant data is crucial for a robust brand valuation using this method.

Challenges in Brand Valuation

It’s worth noting that brand valuation is a complex and subjective process, and different valuation experts may use different methods and assumptions. Additionally, brand valuation can be influenced by various external factors, such as market conditions, industry trends, and consumer perception. Let us consider the brand valuation example of Kingfisher Airlines, the brand was evaluated by Grant Thornton LLP in 2011 at Rs. 4,100 Crores, but when SBI evaluated the brand after obtaining it as collateral against the outstanding loan, it was valued at a mere Rs. 160 Crores. Therefore, it is important to approach brand valuation with caution and consider multiple perspectives when assessing the value of a brand. Some of the key challenges in brand valuation include:

  1. Subjectivity: Brand valuation requires making subjective judgments and assumptions. Factors such as brand perception, customer loyalty, and brand strength can be difficult to quantify objectively. Different experts or valuation firms may have different perspectives, leading to variations in valuations.
  2. Data Availability: Gathering accurate and reliable data for brand valuation can be challenging. Data on financial performance, market research, consumer behavior, and brand-related metrics may not always be readily available or transparent. Limited data can affect the accuracy and reliability of the valuation.
  3. Brand Dynamics: Brands are dynamic and can change over time. Factors such as market trends, competition, changes in consumer preferences, and company performance can influence the value of a brand. Valuation models must account for these dynamics and incorporate forward-looking projections.
  4. Contextual Factors: Brand valuation needs to consider the industry, market conditions, and competitive landscape. Different industries may have unique characteristics and valuation approaches. The value of a brand may also vary depending on factors such as geographic location, target market, and legal or regulatory environment.
  5. Lack of Universal Standards: Unlike financial accounting, there are no universally accepted standards for brand valuation. Various valuation methodologies and approaches are used, leading to variations in results. This lack of standardization can make it challenging to compare and interpret brand valuations.

To address these challenges, it is important to engage experienced professionals or valuation firms with expertise in brand valuation. They can employ a combination of methodologies, consider industry-specific factors, and leverage their knowledge to provide a comprehensive and well-informed assessment of a brand’s value.

At ValAdvisor, our dedicated team of experts specializes in determining the value of a business or assets, for transactional, accounting, taxation, regulatory, financing, distressed asset resolution, litigation, insurance, strategic, planning, and operational purposes. Our expertise in various advanced models and simulation techniques helps us in delivering reliable and accurate valuations. Count on us to provide tailored solutions that empower you to make informed decisions with confidence.

[1] Source: Aaker, David A., Measuring Brand Equity. New York: The Free Press, 1991

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