I recently attended the GROW conference in Vancouver, Canada. It was a terrific full day session jam packed full of startup entrepreneurs and expert speakers sharing great ideas on how to grow your business, raise financing, build brand and succeed.
It was very inspiring to be in a room full of like-minded people. Founders like myself who were at the same stage of business, challenged with the same things.
One of the panel sessions was on brand. While some of the panel conversation was relevant, I was surprised that so much time was spent on the conventional ‘what is a brand and how do you build one?’ and less on how a brand is valued.
There are still some burning questions that I have as it relates to brand, and I have spent my career building brands. Yet, in this new world of tech startups, many of the conventional brand principles do not apply.
So here it is-- brand valuation— in first and second stage financing, how does brand factor into valuation and how does the Founders brand play into this?
When I asked the question to the panel, the concentrated on the current state of brand awareness. In my view there are really three factors to look at in early stage brands; 1) The Founder brand, 2) Early stage brand awareness (within category) and 3) Brand potential (the quality, current and future value of the brand assets and trademarks).
The brand is ultimately in the eye of the beholder and, therefore, its value is subjective. Steve Jobs is an interesting case in point with his personal brand value pegged at 15% of Apple’s market value. And this is not purely because of his legacy and accrued brilliance but is very much related to his operational focus in how we actively micromanaged every aspect of his business.
Where do you think the value lives in a startup brand?