SIX

From Brand Acquisitions to Brand Rationalization

Don’t advertise the brand, live it.

IN THE KNOWLEDGE AGE, CEOs realize that the value of their firms is determined less and less by the tangible assets they own, such as factories or inventories, and increasingly by intangible assets such as competences, customer base, distribution networks, employees, and brands. Of all the intangible assets owned by a company, brands are perhaps the most prized. This has led to a dramatic change in how CEOs view their companies, their sources of competitive advantage, and their notion of the firms’ strategic assets. In 2000, Niall FitzGerald, cochairman of Unilever, declared: “We’re not a manufacturing company anymore. We’re a brand marketing group that ...

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