Building Brand Equity Level

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    BuildingCustomer-BasedBrand Equ ity

    Creating brandresonance requIres

    carefully sequencedbrand-building

    efforts.

    B U Ito i N G A ST R ON G BRA N D with great equity provides a host ofpossiblebeneflts.to a firm, suchas greater customer loyalty and less vulnerability to competitive marketing actions or marketing crises;larger margins) more favorable customer response to price increases and decreases: greater trade Orinter-rnediary cooperation and support, increased marketing communication effectiveness; and licensing andbrand extension opportunities.

    Companies are interested in building strong brands with great-equi.ty, but getting there isn't alwayseasy. To build brand equity, companies must startwith the basics. What makes a brand strong? How doyou build a strong brand? To help answer these questions. I developed a model of brand building calledthe customer-based brand equity (CBBE) mod I,which maps out what brand equity is ana how itshouldbest be built, measured, and managed.

    The' eBBE model was designed to' be comprehensive, cohesive, well-grounded, up to date, andactionable. TIle premise of this model is that the power of a brand lies inwhat customer havelearned,felt, seen, and heard about the brand over time. The power of a brand is in what resides in the minds ofeustomers. Marketers' centiruring challenge inbuilding a strong beand is to ensure customers have theright types of experiences with products and services and their accompanying marketing programs 50the desired thoughts, feelings, images, perceptions, and attitudes become linked, to thebrand.The Four Steps

    Building a strong brand, according to the CBBEmodel, can be thought of as a serie of steps, whereeach step is contingent 'Onsuccessfully achieving the previous step. the first step is to ensure identifica-tion of the brand w:ith customers and an association of the brand in customers' minds with a specificproduct class .01' customer need. The second step is to firmly establish the brand meaning in the mindsof customers (i.e., by strategically linking a host of tangible and intangible brand associations). The thirdstep is to elicit the proper customer responses to this brand identity and brand meaning. The final stepis to convert brand response to create an intense, active loyalty relationship between customers and thebrand.

    The following tour steps represent fundamental questions that customers invariably ask aboutbrands=-either implicitly or explicitly: (1) Who areyou? (brand identity) (2) What are you? (brandmeamng)(3)What do 1 think or feel about you? (bra!ld responses) (4) What kind of association and how much of a con-nection would I like to have with you? ( b rand re la t ion sh ip s )

    The steps : i : n this "branding ladder" iO]]DW all order, from identity to meaning to responses to rela-tionships. Meaning cannot be establlshed without first creating identity; responses cannot occur unlesscompanies develop the right brand meaning; and a relationship cannot be forged without getting theproper responses from customers.

    M f I ( I J u I y IAug u s t 2 0 0 1 I 15

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    EXECU T IVE b r i e fin gA comprehensive new .approach, the customer-based brand equity (eBBE) model. lays out a series of steps for buildi ng a strong brand(l) establ ish the proper brand identity, (2) create the appropriate brand meaning, (3) elicit the right brand responses, and (4) forge appropriate brand relat ionships with customers. The eBBE model also depends on six brand-building blocks-salience, performance. imagerjudgments, feelings, and resonance-that help provide the foundation f.or successful brand development.

    Six Brand-Building BlocksImagine the foundation o.f a strong brand as a logically con-

    structed set of six "brand-building blocks" with customers:sal ience; peJ jonnan,ee, imagery, j i ldgrne/'l.ts, feelings, and resonance.Then assemble these building blocks in a brand pyramid. To cre-ate significant brand equity, it's crucial to put the right brand-building blocks in place and then reach the pinnacle of the pyra-mid. This brand-building processis illustrated in Exhihitsl and 2,Brand Identity

    Achieving the right brand identity requires creating brandsalience with customers. Brand salience relates to aspects ofbrand awareness: Row often and easily is the brand evokedunder various situations or ciircumstances? To what extent is thebrand easily recalled or recognized? What types of cues orreminders are necessary? How pervasive is this brand aware-ness? Brand awareness refers to the customers' ability to recalland recognize the brand. Building brand awareness meansensurin$ that customers understand, the product or service cate-gory where the brand competes and creating clear links to prod-ucts or services sold under the brand name. At a broader level, itmeans making sure customers know which of their "needs" thebrand is designed to satisfy. What basic functions does thebrand provide to customers?

    Criteria for brand identity. Two key dimensions distin-guish brand awareness-depth and breadth, Depth of brandawa [ e11eSB refers to how easily customers can recall OT .recognizethe brand, Breadth refers to the range of purchase and consump-tion situations where the brand comes to mind. A highly salientbrand is one with both depth and breadth o:fbrand awareness(i.e., customers make sufficient purchases. and always think oftb.e brand across a variety ofsettings).

    The brand must not only be "top ofrnind" and have sufficient"min d share," but itmust also d o so at th e right time and place.Formany brands, {hekey question is not whether or not customers canrecall the brand, but rather where and when do they think of thebrandyand how easily and often do they think of it? In particular,many brands and products axe ignored o r forgotten at possibleusage situations. Increasing the salience of the brand inthose set-rings can help drive consumption and increase sales volume,Brand Meaning

    To give meaning to a brand, It's important to create a brandimage and establish what the brand is characterized by and'should stand for in customers' minds. Although a myriad of dif-ferent types of brand associations are possible, brand meaningbroadly can be distinguished. in terms ofmore functional, per-formance-related considerations vs, more abstract, imagery-

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    related considerations. These brand associations C01l 1 be formeddirectly trom a customer's own experiences and contact with thbrand through advertising or some other sour e of information(e.g, word of mouth).

    Performance. The product, is the heart ofbrand equity. It ithe primary influence of what consumers experience, what theyhear about; and what the firm tens customers about the brand.Designing and delivering a product thatfuUy satisfies con-sumer needs and wants is a prerequisite for successful market-ing, regardless of whether the product is a tangible good, serv-ice, 01' organization, To create brand, loyally and resonance, cansumers' 'experiences with the product must meet, if not surpass,their expectations.

    Brarrd performance is the way the product or serviceattempts to meet customers' more functional needs. It refers tothe intrinsic properties of.the brand, including inherent productor service characteristics. How well does the brand rate onobjective assessments of quality? To what extent does the brandsatisfy utilitarian, aesthetic, and economic customer needs andwants in the product or service category?

    The performance attributes. and, benefits making up func-tionality will vary by category. However, five important types oattributes and benefits often underlie brand performance:

    1. Primary characteristics and supplementary features.Customers have beliefs about the levels at which the primarycharacteristics of the product operate (e.g.,low; medium,high, or very high), Tbey also may have beliefs as to special,perhaps even patented, features or secondary elements of aproduct that complement these primary characteristics,

    2, Product reliability, durability, and serviceability.Reliabili ty refers to the consistency of performance overtime and from purchase to purchase. Durability is theexpected economic life ofthe product. Serviceability refersto the ease of servicing the product if it need repair. Thus,perceptions of product performance are affected by factorssuch as the speed, accuracy, and care of product deliveryand installation; the promptness, courtesy, and helpfulnessof customer service and training; and the quality of repairservice and the time involved,

    3. Service effectiveness, efficiency, and empathy, Customershave performance-related associations related to serviceinteractions they have with brands. Service effectivenessrefers to how completely the brand satisfies customers'service requirements, Service efficiency refers to how theseservices are delivered in terms of.speed and re-sponsiveness

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    Service empathy occurs when service providers are seen astrusting, caring, and with customer's interests in mind.

    4. Style and design. Consumers may have associations withthe product that go beyond its functional aspects to moreaesthetic considerations such as its size, shape, materials,and color involved. Performance also may depend on sen-sory aspects such as how a product looks, feels, and even'how it sounds or smells.

    5. Price. The pricing policy for the brand can create associa-tions in consumers' minds with the relevant price her orlevel for the brand in the category (e.g., low, medium, orhigh priced) as we.llas with its corresponding price volatili-ty O r variance (e.g., frequently