Consumer-Based Brand Equity and Firm Risk
2009, Journal of Marketing
Lopo L. Rego, Matthew Billett, Neil A. Morgan
Investors and managers evaluate potential investments in terms of risk and return. Research has focused on linking marketing activities and resource deployments with returns but has largely neglected marketing's role in determining risk. Yet the theoretical literature asserts that investments in market-based assets, such as brands, should lead to reductions in firm risk. Adopting risk measures that are well established in the finance literature, the authors use credit ratings to capture debt-holder risk and the standard deviation of stock returns to measure equity-holder risk, which they then decompose into systematic and unsystematic equity risk. The authors examine the impact of consumer-based brand equity (CBBE) on firm risk using data covering 252 firms from EquiTrend, COMPUSTAT, and the Center for Research in Security Prices over the 2000–2006 period. They find that a firm's CBBE is associated with firm risk and explains variance in the risk measures beyond that explained by existing finance models (i.e., it has “risk relevance”). They also find that CBBE has a stronger role in predicting firm-specific unsystematic risk than systematic risk but that it also has a particularly strong role in protecting equity holders from downside systematic risk. The results have clear economic significance and suggest that managers should make brand management part of the firm's risk management strategy and protect or even increase CBBE investments during periods of economic uncertainty.
Rego, Lopo L., Matthew Billett, and Neil Morgan (2009), "Consumer-Based Brand Equity and Firm Risk," Journal of Marketing, Vol. 73, No. 6, pp. 47-60.