Buying your own branded keywords is a smart move (and is a best practice in many circumstances) for at least three reasons:
1) Price. It is all about the money isn’t it? Well I have good news for you: Not always.
You do not have to bid higher than competitors for your own branded keyword. You own the domain bearing the name, content, etc. connected to that brand. That gives you an edge. Search engines prioritize relevance, because users want to see what they searched for. It doesn’t help search engines to constantly deliver things other than what the user is searching for. If they based results purely on that idea alone they would lose users and they know it. Bid price is not the only thing that factors into search results. So, hypothetically speaking, a competitor could bid $10 per click, but since it’s not as relevant to the intent of the search you could potentially beat them out by bidding $1 per click.
2) Price: It’s cheaper to keep a customer than lose a customer. It’s cheaper to own your own branded keyword and safeguard it than to have to rescue it later. Far cheaper.
3) Price: Ceteris paribus, you bid a little for your own, then someone else will have to bid a lot more for it and if you’re bidding for your own you can easily nail the top search result spots. This is one of the cheapest competitive moats you can establish. If you snag the first several spots in a search for your own brand in paid search AND in organic search then you’re likely to crowd out competitors to the annals of the bottom of the page or even to the second page. As I’m sure you already know, the second page of search results is the best place to hide a dead body.
Why do they all say “price”? Well, damn. It really is all about the money. But in the digital world sticky, long term users equals money, and that’s why keyword ranking, bid price, AND the individual user’s search history are main determinants of paid search results. Although there are a ton of other factors, of course.
Part of maximizing the value of marketing spend means making sure competitors aren’t maximizing the value of your brand to their own benefit. If you aren’t watching your field someone else will harvest it.