Executive summary

  1. The value of the top 100 brands has tripled over the past 15 years and, despite the pandemic, rose by 5% over the last year – a timely reminder that strong brands can serve as a safe haven for capital in times of economic uncertainty.
  2. The worth of global intangible assets stood at $74 trillion as of 1 September 2021. If historic growth rates hold steady, this could hit $1 quadrillion by 2050. However, despite these astronomical figures, much of this value is missing from company balance sheets because of accounting rules.
  3. Brands remain crucial value drivers for many businesses, as illustrated by prices recorded through acquisition activity. The most expensive acquisition in an M&A scenario to date is that of the Reynolds tobacco brands portfolio by British American Tobacco in 2017, with a stated brand value of $93.6 billion.
  4. As brand and intangible values continue their upwards march there is a clear opportunity for trademark professionals and their advisers to enhance their worth to clients, support economic growth and position themselves as truly commercial stakeholders.

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