BRAND EQUITY 10
Brandequity is a marketing principle that acknowledges the importance ofhaving a strong brand name as a marketing strategy. This is because astrong brand name sells its products without much effort as comparedto a weak brand name. This is because consumers tend to trustproducts with a strong brand name more than they trust products of aweak brand name. This can also be included in determining profits,changing market attitudes, and consumer identification, is useful incommunication, formulation of strategic goals and marketingstrategies. However, it is very hard to quantify the value of a brandname. It is, nevertheless, an important part of brand communication.
Althoughthere is no standard way of determining the brand equity, severalmatrices are applied in trying to determine its values. These analyzethe value of the logo, services, perceptions of the product, image,and the value of the brand in the minds of clients. The value of thebrand is projected in communication, advertising, and packaging inorder to become effective. A good brand is one that communicates thequality, value and performance of its products on its own (Keller,2013).Thus, a good brand name is one that stands on its own and facilitatesthe process of marketing through its strong points. Thus, when abrand can communicate independently, it is known as brand equity.
Brandequity is measured in different levels, depending on the relevance ofthe brand equity, and they are firm level, consumer level, andproduct level. The firm level treats the brand like an asset. Theconsumer level views the brand through the consumer’s notion of thebrand. It measures the identifiability of the brand and ability bycustomers to recall the brand and associate it correctly with itsproducts. The customer’s attitudes and intentions towards a brandare very important (Fisher-Bittinger & Vallaster, 2008).The product level measures the value of the product in comparisonwith one that is not branded. There are two main models of brandequity models. They are Keller’s model and Aaker’s brand equitymodel.
Keller’sbrand equity model
Keller’sbrand equity model is focused on the consumer as the main medium ofanalysis. The idea is that for a brand to become strong, it isimportant to shape how the consumer’s feel and think about theproduct. This builds a positive attitude of consumers towards thebrand. The brand ought to build a positive customer experience sothat customers can easily remember the brand and associate it withsuch attributes as quality, value, and dependability. Once customersattribute such progressive factors to the brand, they have positiveopinions, feelings and beliefs towards the brand. This builds strongbrand equity and it attracts more sales and customer referrals. Italso builds customer loyalty and makes it hard to lose customers tocompetitors (Keller,2013).For example, if a soap’s strength lies in its ability to be usedfor different purposes, advertising must highlight all the uses.
TheKeller mode is divided into four main levels. They are identity,meaning, response and resonance. These are arranged in a pyramid formfrom the lowest to the highest. The most fundamental part is tounderstand the brand and know customers’ perception of the brand(Fisher-Bittinger & Vallaster, 2008).This allows the management to know how to position the brandappropriately in the market for it to gain customer recognition. Theaim is to ensure that the brand is recognizable and can easilyattract customers on its own (Keller,2013).
Thefirst step of building brand recognition is by building an identity.This involves giving it a unique name, logo and brand quality. Thestep involves making the brand stand out and that clients can easilyrecognize it. This is made possible by offering quality products andservices, which make the brand, stand out. This creates a positiveimage and perception about the brand. Thus, customers can makepositive attributes towards the brand and this is a major marketingstep because it creates brand loyalty. This step involves identifyingcustomers and understanding their needs.
Theprocess of identifying customers involves knowing their tastes andpreferences and understanding what competitors offer and how theyposition their products in the market. Next, understand whatqualities and attributes the customers look out for, when choosingtheir products. Once the firm understands the decision- makingprocess, it positions its brand appropriately for customers to pickout those attributes in the process of choosing a product. Themanagement ought to include unique attributes in the list of what thecustomer uses to select products. Eventually, the brand must eitherbecome recognizable or otherwise, the management must change thoseattributes that make it less attractive. For example, if customersprefer plastic- can packaging instead of paper packaging, the firmought to package its products in plastic cans.
Thenext stage is to give a brand its meaning. This involves two criticalsteps, which are imagery and performance. Imagery is the process bywhich the brand creates a psychological and social meaning to itscustomers. The process creates a social and psychological meaning toits clients. This feeling is created through direct experience withthe product or through targeted advertising. The product can alsocreate imagery through word of mouth advertising. Imagery creates animpression to the senses, making it have lasting impression or animpression that lasts for a long time. Most companies prefer to givefree samples so as to give customers a real experience of theproduct.
Performanceis the ability of the product to meet the customers’ needseffectively. This is what leads to imagery as the product ought tofulfil the needs of the customers as expected or perform better thanexpected so as to create a strong imagery. The product must meet thefollowing five attributes for it to create a good productperformance durability, efficiency, reliability, price, and style,which the primary characteristics that customers consider when arepurchasing a product. The attributes are used in evaluating theproduct when the customer intends to make a purchase. These are alsothe attributes that a customer uses to decide which brand topurchase. A strong brand is one that effectively combines imagery andperformance to create a brand personality (Neal& Strauss, 2008).This is the ability to stand on its own and be identified by certaincharacteristics.
Thenext stage is the brand response. This is the feedback that a brandgets from customers. The feedback is in form of feelings andjudgment. 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 inmeeting customer needs. The customer judges the product by itsability to meet her needs as expected or better than anticipated. Thequality is the actual or imagined quality of the product. Superiority is the brand’s quality in relation to other similarproducts. Finally, credibility is the brand’s trustworthiness andinnovation (Neal& Strauss, 2008).Thus, the customer will compare the product to others, based on thefour categories.
Inaddition to judgement, customer feedback includes how they feel aboutthe product. This can be the emotional feeling that the brandelicits, or the experience it gives them in form of satisfaction. Thebrand ought to elicit a certain feeling in the customers for it tohave lasting impression. If the feelings are positive, the brandcreates a lasting impression, but if negative, the brand will createa lasting negative feeling, which makes customers avoid it (Ford,2005).Keller says that a brand ought to create six positive feelings for itto 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 potentialcustomers attribute these feelings to the product and incorporatethem. The marketing strategy ought to highlight those qualities ofthe product that elicit these feelings so as to attract potentialcustomers.
Thefinal stage is brand resonance. This is the connection that the brandhas towards the customer. This is very important in brand equity, butvery hard to create. This is the stage at which the brand has aprofound psychological and emotional connection to the product.Resonance is in four main categories, and they are activeengagement, attitudinal attachment, sense of community, andbehavioural loyalty. Active engagement is when customers participatein other brand activities related to the brand, apart from buying.These include interaction on social media, participating in quizzesand competitions, and events. This indicates strong brand loyalty andthus, brand equity. For example, the number of likes on a page of abrand on social media indicates the brand’s resonance.
Attitudinalattachment is the ability by customers to have a strong emotionalconnection with the brand and they take pride in purchasing theproduct. This means that the customers view the brand as beingsuperior and having the ability to meet their needs as expected.Additionally, a strong brand is one that gives the user a sense ofcommunity. This means that the customers feel like they are one withthe company’s workers and other users of the brand (Toma,Dubrow & Hartley, 2005).Finally, a brand that resonates well with customers is one thatcreates behavioural loyalty. This means that the customers buy theproduct repeatedly and hardly use other products of the samecategory. Brand resonance is created through consistency of qualityand such activities as awarding customers.
DavidAaker’s brand equity model
Aakerdefined brand equity as “a set of brand assets and liabilitieslinked to a brand name and symbol, which add to or subtract from thevalue provided by a product or service” (Aaker,1993).The brand must be connected to asset and equity for it to generate apositive marketing impact. The model has four main dimensions andthey are brand awareness, loyalty, perceived quality, andassociations. These create a strong brand that is an asset to thefirm and not just a product of profit- generation (Kapferer,2008).These four steps guide on how to position a brand in order to retainexisting customers and attract new ones.
Brandloyalty is the ability to ensure that customers do not purchase anyother brand, but your company’s. Brand loyalty reduces cost ofmarketing as customers will purchase the product automatically. Thebrand attracts new customers through creating awareness andreassuring them. This can easily be done through word of mouth orexperiential marketing. The brand also responds to competitivethreats instead of active advertising in order to attract newcustomer. This is done by highlighting the brand’s strengths inrelation to competitor’s product. Brand loyalty reduces the need toactively market the product as customers already know about theproduct. Marketing arises when the management needs to highlight itsstrong points due to competition (Aaker,1993).Thus, the aim is to retain customers and not necessarily attract newones.
Perceivedquality is the ability of customers to perceive the brand as havingthe ability to offer quality satisfaction. The quality of the productis measured based on the position of the brand in relation to otherproducts. This includes sales volumes in relation to products bycompetitors. Additionally, consumers use the price of the product togauge its quality. As competition rises, customers perceive expensivegoods as having higher quality. Finally, some customers buy a productbecause it offers them quality based on their needs. Thus, thecustomers perceive the product as having the ability to sufficientlymeet their needs and they thus buy the product (Aaker& Biel, 1993).For example, if a soap is of better quality, its sales volumes willautomatically be higher than those of competitors.
Thenext step of analysis is on brand awareness. This indicates how mucha brand is recognized by the public. This is shown by commitment tobuy the product, how much consideration a brand is given whenpurchasing, the attitude towards the product, and the attachmentsthat are attributed to the brand. This indicates the prevalence ofthe brand in the market. Finally, a strong brand is known throughassociations. These are things that are attached to the brand andthey trigger the memory of a brand in customers (Aaker& Biel, 1993).These associations include the ability of the brand to create strongemotions, the ability to connect a brand to advertisements, theability of a unique association to create differentiation. A strongbrand association enables customers to stay loyal and attracts newcustomers.
Basedon the two models, Keller’s model is stronger than Aaker’s model.This is because Keller’s model shows how to position the brandappropriately in order to achieve brand equity. This is because astrong brand is one that is created systematically by analyzing thecustomer’s needs and seeking out ways of fulfilling the needs. Astrong brand equity is created by having the ability to meet itscustomer’s needs (Ford,2005).For example, if customers need a soap that can be used for generalhouse cleaning, the model highlights what features to include in thesoap. Aaker’s model simply highlights what a strong brand is madeof without informing how it is created. Keller’s model recognizesthe importance of meeting customer needs to build brand equity. Onthe other hand, Aaker’s model only highlights the strengths ofbrand equity without stating the details of how to achieve it.
Inconclusion, brand equity is a marketing principle that acknowledgesthe importance of having a strong brand name as a marketing strategy.The process is a communicative one that establishes a brand andmaintains the brands strong points so as to maintain customer loyaltyand acquire new customers. Brand equity cannot be quantified.However, in order to build brand equity, a company needs to offerquality, customer satisfaction, and close customer contact. Thesecreate brand loyalty, which is important for brand equity. There aretwo major models of brand equity. These are Keller’s model andAaker’s model. Keller’s model is the stronger one of the two asit focuses on ways of satisfying the customer’s needs so as toachieve brand loyalty. Thus, the process of building brand equityinvolves meeting the customer’s needs so as to build and maintainloyalty.
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