Putting a value on a brand name seems like a difficult proposition when it comes to industrial markets. When dealing with the business-to-business industrial sector, one might think that the particular brand name wouldn't mean that much when it comes to a buying decision.
That, however, doesn't seem to be the case as there are numerous examples across the rubber industry where the name on the product does appear to make a difference.
Take the Banbury mixer, for example. Named for its inventor, Fernley Banbury, Farrel Corp. always vigorously defended the trademark by issuing cease-and-desist letters whenever the brand name was used improperly to identify competitive mixers. Farrel fought as hard as companies like Kleenex and Band-Aid to keep its cherished mixer from becoming a generic term used to denote any tangential mixer.
HF Mixing Group, current owner of the Banbury technology after purchasing Farrel, also knows there's value in the name. The firm has launched several initiatives this year to celebrate the centennial of the first patent issued for the Banbury. Andreas Limper, the top HF Mixing Group executive, said the brand has a high value because people in the industry strongly identify it with the mixer.
There are numerous other examples in the rubber sector where brand names are valued and protected. When Goodyear first sold its Engineered Products business to private equity, the value of being able to continue to use the Goodyear brand name on the hoses, belts and other rubber goods reportedly added tens of millions of dollars to the deal.
Then when Continental's ContiTech unit bought the then-named Veyance Technologies business, it lost the right to use the Goodyear name and spent much time and effort ensuring that its customers—mainly distributors and OEM accounts—knew the products were the same even if the name wasn't. Goodyear even turned around and licensed the use of the brand for the air springs that EnPro Industries Inc.'s Stemco Division now make after acquiring that part of the business from ContiTech.
So even though you aren't likely to see TV commercials for such long-standing names as Gates, Dayco, Parker Hannifin or some of the names under the Eaton umbrella, don't think for a second those brands are any less valuable in their particular market niches.