Create Brand Equity

Every business is a brand. A brand is a name, sign, symbol, term or design or a combination of these that identify the services and goods you sell and that differentiate what you sell from what your competitors sell.  Brands help people make buying decisions and also create consumer loyalty and is a key to creating a competitive advantage. In order to be successful with your marketing, you need to educate consumers about who the service or product is, what the service or product does and why consumers should care. When you do this, you have put light on the distinctions between your brand and another company who has similar services and products to sell.

What Is Brand Equity?

Brand equity is the added valued that services and products have. There is also customer-based brand equity which is the effect a brand has on consumers of that brand. Marketing educates consumers and gives them the brand knowledge that emotionally connects them with the feelings, experiences, thoughts, images, and beliefs associated with the brand. You want your brand to create positive feelings in customers and loyalty like Apple customers and Harley-Davidson customers have. Harley customers even tattoo the brand on their bodies!

You must decide what emotions you want your brand to evoke in your customers and then all your marketing and service and product principles must live up to creating those feelings and experiences to create brand loyalty. The importance of brand equity is that it builds the brand and is the vision of what the brand must do for consumers. This is also called your brand promise. The brand promise is a statement that lets consumers know what the result of the brand is. Example: Apple – “Think Different”. Your brand can be something that is protectable, adaptable, transferable, has likeability, is meaningful or is memorable.

Once you have determined your brand equity then your marketing actions must convey what your brand means to consumers. You can then begin to devise a brand strategy.  Many factors will determine how strong your brand is. To build a brand that customers will get behind, let me introduce Keller’s Brand Equity Model which is also known as the Customer-Based Brand Equity (CBBE) Model. This model was developed by Kevin Lane Keller, a marketing professor.

Basically, the model says: to build a strong brand you must shape how your customers will think and feel about your product or service and build the experiences you want people to associate with your brand that align with the specific, positive thoughts, feelings beliefs, opinions and perceptions about your brand. When you have strong brand equity, people not only buy your products and services they also refer business to you and they remain loyal to you regardless of finding someone providing a cheaper service or product.

Keller’s brand equity model is built on four steps of the pyramid which relate to the four fundamental questions that customers will ask themselves consciously or subconsciously about your brand.

Step 1: Brand Identity – Who Are You?

You must create brand awareness so that you differentiate your brand from others and consumers become aware of your brand and recognize your brand with the images and perceptions you desire. You must know exactly who your target audience is so that you can appeal to your niche.

Step 2: Brand Meaning – What Are You?

What exactly is your brand and what does your brand stand for? Is your service/product meeting your customer’s needs and fulfilling to them on a sociographic and psychographic level?

Step 3: Brand Response – What Do I Think, or Feel, About You?

How does your brand make consumers feel about themselves?  Consumers respond to how a brand makes them feel about themselves.

Step 4: Brand Resonance: How Much of a Connection Would I Like To Have With You?

This step is super important and therefore sits on top of the pyramid because it is the most desirable (yet most difficult) level to reach. When your customers feel a deep connection and a bond with your brand you have achieved this pinnacle of brand equity success. In my mind, maximum brand equity is defined when you truly arrive at the top of the pyramid -like Apple or Harley have.