Things to do with brands: Creating and calculating value

Robert Foster


How is the dollar value of commercial brands calculated and marks of distinction thus paradoxically made commensurable? And what does this calculation assume and enact with regard to, in Marx’s terms, the creation of value and surplus value? I discuss the emergence of brand valuation as a market device that has recently become more prominent and standardized. I use the annual Interbrand/BusinessWeek survey to demonstrate how global brands such as Coca-Cola® are assigned a precisely measured monetary figure. This measurement invites brand managers and critical theorists alike to treat the heterogeneous uses to which consumers put brand-name products as a source of the exchange-value of brands and of risks to generating profits from brands.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14318/hau3.1.004