Brand Equity Brand Equity

Brand equity is a marketing principle that acknowledges the importance
of having a strong brand name as a marketing strategy. This is because a
strong brand name sells its products without much effort as compared to
a weak brand name. This is because consumers tend to trust products with
a strong brand name more than they trust products of a weak brand name.
This can also be included in determining profits, changing market
attitudes, and consumer identification, is useful in communication,
formulation of strategic goals and marketing strategies. However, it is
very hard to quantify the value of a brand name. It is, nevertheless, an
important part of brand communication.
Although there is no standard way of determining the brand equity,
several matrices are applied in trying to determine its values. These
analyze the value of the logo, services, perceptions of the product,
image, and the value of the brand in the minds of clients. The value of
the brand is projected in communication, advertising, and packaging in
order to become effective. A good brand is one that communicates the
quality, value and performance of its products on its own (Keller,
2013). Thus, a good brand name is one that stands on its own and
facilitates the process of marketing through its strong points. Thus,
when a brand can communicate independently, it is known as brand equity.
Brand equity is measured in different levels, depending on the
relevance of the brand equity, and they are firm level, consumer level,
and product level. The firm level treats the brand like an asset. The
consumer level views the brand through the consumer’s notion of the
brand. It measures the identifiability of the brand and ability by
customers to recall the brand and associate it correctly with its
products. The customer’s attitudes and intentions towards a brand are
very important (Fisher- Bittinger & Vallaster, 2008). The product level
measures the value of the product in comparison with one that is not
branded. There are two main models of brand equity models. They are
Keller’s model and Aaker’s brand equity model.
Keller’s brand equity model
Keller’s brand equity model is focused on the consumer as the main
medium of analysis. The idea is that for a brand to become strong, it is
important to shape how the consumer’s feel and think about the
product. This builds a positive attitude of consumers towards the brand.
The brand ought to build a positive customer experience so that
customers can easily remember the brand and associate it with such
attributes as quality, value, and dependability. Once customers
attribute such progressive factors to the brand, they have positive
opinions, feelings and beliefs towards the brand. This builds strong
brand equity and it attracts more sales and customer referrals. It also
builds customer loyalty and makes it hard to lose customers to
competitors (Keller, 2013). For example, if a soap’s strength lies in
its ability to be used for different purposes, advertising must
highlight all the uses.
The Keller mode is divided into four main levels. They are identity,
meaning, response and resonance. These are arranged in a pyramid form
from the lowest to the highest. The most fundamental part is to
understand the brand and know customers’ perception of the brand
(Fisher- Bittinger & Vallaster, 2008). This allows the management to
know how to position the brand appropriately in the market for it to
gain customer recognition. The aim is to ensure that the brand is
recognizable and can easily attract customers on its own (Keller, 2013).
The first step of building brand recognition is by building an
identity. This involves giving it a unique name, logo and brand quality.
The step involves making the brand stand out and that clients can easily
recognize it. This is made possible by offering quality products and
services, which make the brand, stand out. This creates a positive image
and perception about the brand. Thus, customers can make positive
attributes towards the brand and this is a major marketing step because
it creates brand loyalty. This step involves identifying customers and
understanding their needs.
The process of identifying customers involves knowing their tastes and
preferences and understanding what competitors offer and how they
position their products in the market. Next, understand what qualities
and attributes the customers look out for, when choosing their products.
Once the firm understands the decision- making process, it positions its
brand appropriately for customers to pick out those attributes in the
process of choosing a product. The management ought to include unique
attributes in the list of what the customer uses to select products.
Eventually, the brand must either become recognizable or otherwise, the
management must change those attributes that make it less attractive.
For example, if customers prefer plastic- can packaging instead of paper
packaging, the firm ought to package its products in plastic cans.
The next stage is to give a brand its meaning. This involves two
critical steps, which are imagery and performance. Imagery is the
process by which the brand creates a psychological and social meaning to
its customers. The process creates a social and psychological meaning to
its clients. This feeling is created through direct experience with the
product or through targeted advertising. The product can also create
imagery through word of mouth advertising. Imagery creates an impression
to the senses, making it have lasting impression or an impression that
lasts for a long time. Most companies prefer to give free samples so as
to give customers a real experience of the product.
Performance is the ability of the product to meet the customers’
needs effectively. This is what leads to imagery as the product ought to
fulfil the needs of the customers as expected or perform better than
expected so as to create a strong imagery. The product must meet the
following five attributes for it to create a good product performance
durability, efficiency, reliability, price, and style, which the primary
characteristics that customers consider when are purchasing a product.
The attributes are used in evaluating the product when the customer
intends to make a purchase. These are also the attributes that a
customer uses to decide which brand to purchase. A strong brand is one
that effectively combines imagery and performance to create a brand
personality (Neal & Strauss, 2008). This is the ability to stand on its
own and be identified by certain characteristics.
The next stage is the brand response. This is the feedback that a brand
gets from customers. The feedback is in form of feelings and judgment.
Customers must judge a product based on several attributes. These are
consideration, quality, superiority, or credibility. Consideration is
the relevance of the product and its uniqueness in meeting customer
needs. The customer judges the product by its ability to meet her needs
as expected or better than anticipated. The quality is the actual or
imagined quality of the product. Superiority is the brand’s quality
in relation to other similar products. Finally, credibility is the
brand’s trustworthiness and innovation (Neal & Strauss, 2008). Thus,
the customer will compare the product to others, based on the four
categories.
In addition to judgement, customer feedback includes how they feel about
the product. This can be the emotional feeling that the brand elicits,
or the experience it gives them in form of satisfaction. The brand ought
to elicit a certain feeling in the customers for it to have lasting
impression. If the feelings are positive, the brand creates a lasting
impression, but if negative, the brand will create a lasting negative
feeling, which makes customers avoid it (Ford, 2005). Keller says that a
brand ought to create six positive feelings for it to have a lasting
impression. These are approval, warmth, respect, excitement, security,
and fun (Kapferer, 2008). Thus, the brand owner must find those
qualities that make potential customers attribute these feelings to the
product and incorporate them. The marketing strategy ought to highlight
those qualities of the product that elicit these feelings so as to
attract potential customers.
The final stage is brand resonance. This is the connection that the
brand has towards the customer. This is very important in brand equity,
but very hard to create. This is the stage at which the brand has a
profound psychological and emotional connection to the product.
Resonance is in four main categories, and they are active engagement,
attitudinal attachment, sense of community, and behavioural loyalty.
Active engagement is when customers participate in other brand
activities related to the brand, apart from buying. These include
interaction on social media, participating in quizzes and competitions,
and events. This indicates strong brand loyalty and thus, brand equity.
For example, the number of likes on a page of a brand on social media
indicates the brand’s resonance.
Attitudinal attachment is the ability by customers to have a strong
emotional connection with the brand and they take pride in purchasing
the product. This means that the customers view the brand as being
superior and having the ability to meet their needs as expected.
Additionally, a strong brand is one that gives the user a sense of
community. This means that the customers feel like they are one with the
company’s workers and other users of the brand (Toma, Dubrow &
Hartley, 2005). Finally, a brand that resonates well with customers is
one that creates behavioural loyalty. This means that the customers buy
the product repeatedly and hardly use other products of the same
category. Brand resonance is created through consistency of quality and
such activities as awarding customers.
David Aaker’s brand equity model
Aaker defined brand equity as “a set of brand assets and liabilities
linked to a brand name and symbol, which add to or subtract from the
value provided by a product or service” (Aaker, 1993). The brand must
be connected to asset and equity for it to generate a positive marketing
impact. The model has four main dimensions and they are brand
awareness, loyalty, perceived quality, and associations. These create a
strong brand that is an asset to the firm and not just a product of
profit- generation (Kapferer, 2008). These four steps guide on how to
position a brand in order to retain existing customers and attract new
ones.
Brand loyalty is the ability to ensure that customers do not purchase
any other brand, but your company’s. Brand loyalty reduces cost of
marketing as customers will purchase the product automatically. The
brand attracts new customers through creating awareness and reassuring
them. This can easily be done through word of mouth or experiential
marketing. The brand also responds to competitive threats instead of
active advertising in order to attract new customer. This is done by
highlighting the brand’s strengths in relation to competitor’s
product. Brand loyalty reduces the need to actively market the product
as customers already know about the product. Marketing arises when the
management needs to highlight its strong points due to competition
(Aaker, 1993). Thus, the aim is to retain customers and not necessarily
attract new ones.
Perceived quality is the ability of customers to perceive the brand as
having the ability to offer quality satisfaction. The quality of the
product is measured based on the position of the brand in relation to
other products. This includes sales volumes in relation to products by
competitors. Additionally, consumers use the price of the product to
gauge its quality. As competition rises, customers perceive expensive
goods as having higher quality. Finally, some customers buy a product
because it offers them quality based on their needs. Thus, the customers
perceive the product as having the ability to sufficiently meet their
needs and they thus buy the product (Aaker & Biel, 1993). For example,
if a soap is of better quality, its sales volumes will automatically be
higher than those of competitors.
The next step of analysis is on brand awareness. This indicates how
much a brand is recognized by the public. This is shown by commitment to
buy the product, how much consideration a brand is given when
purchasing, the attitude towards the product, and the attachments that
are attributed to the brand. This indicates the prevalence of the brand
in the market. Finally, a strong brand is known through associations.
These are things that are attached to the brand and they trigger the
memory of a brand in customers (Aaker & Biel, 1993). These associations
include the ability of the brand to create strong emotions, the ability
to connect a brand to advertisements, the ability of a unique
association to create differentiation. A strong brand association
enables customers to stay loyal and attracts new customers.
Based on the two models, Keller’s model is stronger than Aaker’s
model. This is because Keller’s model shows how to position the brand
appropriately in order to achieve brand equity. This is because a strong
brand is one that is created systematically by analyzing the
customer’s needs and seeking out ways of fulfilling the needs. A
strong brand equity is created by having the ability to meet its
customer’s needs (Ford, 2005). For example, if customers need a soap
that can be used for general house cleaning, the model highlights what
features to include in the soap. Aaker’s model simply highlights what
a strong brand is made of without informing how it is created.
Keller’s model recognizes the importance of meeting customer needs to
build brand equity. On the other hand, Aaker’s model only highlights
the strengths of brand equity without stating the details of how to
achieve it.
In conclusion, brand equity is a marketing principle that acknowledges
the importance of having a strong brand name as a marketing strategy.
The process is a communicative one that establishes a brand and
maintains the brands strong points so as to maintain customer loyalty
and acquire new customers. Brand equity cannot be quantified. However,
in order to build brand equity, a company needs to offer quality,
customer satisfaction, and close customer contact. These create brand
loyalty, which is important for brand equity. There are two major models
of brand equity. These are Keller’s model and Aaker’s model.
Keller’s model is the stronger one of the two as it focuses on ways of
satisfying the customer’s needs so as to achieve brand loyalty. Thus,
the process of building brand equity involves meeting the customer’s
needs so as to build and maintain loyalty.
References
Kapferer, J.-N. (2008). The new strategic brand management: Creating and
sustaining brand equity long term. London: Kogan Page.
Aaker, D. A. (1991). Managing brand equity: Capitalizing on the value of
a brand name. New York: Free Press.
Aaker, D. A., & Biel, A. L. (1993). Brand equity & advertising:
Advertising`s role in building strong brands. Hillsdale, N.J: Lawrence
Erlbaum Associates.
Neal, W. D., & Strauss, R. (2008). Value creation: The power of brand
equity. Mason, Ohio: South-Western Cengage Learning.
Toma, J. D., Dubrow, G., & Hartley, M. (2005). The uses of institutional
culture: Strengthening identification and building brand equity in
higher education. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Keller, K. L. (2013). Strategic brand management: Building, measuring,
and managing brand equity. Harlow [etc.: Pearson.
Fisher-Buttinger, C., & Vallaster, C. (2008). Connective branding:
Building brand equity in a demanding world. Chichester, England: Wiley.
Ford, K. (2005). Brands laid bare: Using market research for
evidence-based brand management. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley.
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