The American Marketing Association defines a “brand” as “a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” Some marketing researchers assert that brands are one of the most valuable assets that a company has.

Best Global Brands 2015

Strong brands have the power to create business value. They impact much more than revenues and profit margins. Strong brands create competitive advantages by commanding a price premium and decrease the cost of entry into new markets and categories. They reduce business risk and help attract and retain talented staff.”

“Brand equity” is defined by the American Marketing Association as “the value of a brand” (although not in the financial sense of “value”), while, according to P. Kotler and K. Keller in their book Marketing Management, it is “the added value endowed to products and services.” Keller, in Strategic Brand Management, writes that a brand “has positive customer-based brand equity when consumers react more favorably to a product and the way it is marketed when the brand is identified than when it is not.” David Aaker (Managing Brand Equity) calls it “the set of assets and liabilities linked to a brand’s name and symbol that adds to or subtracts from the value provided by a product or service to a firm and/or that firm’s customers.”

The various definitions are important to define the concept but do not lead to a single measure of brand equity.

“Brand value” is often confused with brand equity, but the former refers more specifically to the financial value of a brand. Therefore, Kotler and Keller define “brand valuation” as “an estimate of the total financial value of the brand.”

There is no standardized or accepted definition of brand value or brand valuation. Nevertheless, Interbrand and Millward Brown Optimor (MBO) have developed rankings that are well respected. Interbrand characterizes its method as “proven, straightforward and profound. It examines brands through the lens of financial strength, the importance of the brand in driving consumer selection, and the likelihood of ongoing revenue generated by the brand.” Millward Brown Optimor calls its BrandZ “the most reliable, comprehensive and useful brand valuation ranking available,” a database that provides a “detailed, quantified, understanding of consumer decision-making worldwide.”