Now, another bubble is hiding in our economy. This bubble represents $4 trillion dollars in S&P market capitalization alone. It’s twice the size of the subprime mortgage market. And it accounts for over one-third of all shareholder value. Credible evidence suggests that financial markets think brands are worth more than the consumers who buy them. The constantly rising valuation of major brands is creating a brand bubble, one that could erase large portions of intangible value in firms and send a shockwave through the global economy.
Of course, this is not to suggest that some stellar brands are not genuinely outperforming the market and setting new standards in customer loyalty and financial performance. But in most cases, these are precisely the brands that serve as examples of what other companies must do to inject value back into their own brands. These are the brands consumers swoon over, tell their friends about, and buy time and time again. These are the brands that drive a company’s stock beyond the estimates of financial experts. These are the brands that create surprise earnings quarter after quarter.
The problem is these stellar brands are becoming fewer in number. In today’s changing consumer climate, exceptional brands are just that — exceptions. Most of the brands lining our supermarket shelves, hanging from department store racks, or touting their superiority on television are experiencing a rapid diminution of perceived value. Consumers are simply falling out of love with a majority of brands they buy.
(Excerpts from the book The Brand Bubble)