Brand value – everyone wants it, however, only few are able to achieve it. The subject of “brand value” holds a significant position amongst marketers, executives, and entrepreneurs. Let’s discuss what makes a brand unique, and how it is evaluated.
Brand makes your business unique. It sets the company apart and has the ability to position the business on the top in their specific industry. Sometimes, a brand is the company’s most valuable assets. In fact, many companies are often referred to by the name used in their brand – and they become one and the same. A strong brand identity drives customer loyalty, for the simple fact that once a customer uses your services and has a positive experience, your brand will bring them back.
A brand can be any name, symbol, word, sentence, or logo that is used to distinguish the product from other similar products available on the market. Everyone knows the most powerful brands just by glancing their logos: Apple, Google, Facebook, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Disney, McDonald’s and Coca Cola are just a few.
However, there is more to it than just a nifty logo and a catchy name. Everything you do within your business adds to your brand equity – the choices you make in product design, the quality of service that customers receive, the handling of customer complaints and any other services that your company offers – all of these things can add to credence to your brand equity.
What is Brand Equity (Value)?
Well, brand equity can be best defined as the phrase that is used inside the industry of marketing that defines the significance of having a well-established and recognized brand name, based on the concept that the owner of the brand is capable of generating more profits from products registered under that brand name over those products of a not so popular name. This justification is based on the perspective of many customers that a product which has a well-known name is much better compared to those products from a less popular brand name.
The main principle behind brand equity is the relationship between a consumer and the company selling the products/services. If the customer prefers a specific brand over the other, it is mainly because of his or her perception of the brand and its value regardless of the price tags on the product.
Of course, the company must strive hard to earn and maintain the consumer’s loyalty for their brand. To establish a brand value, the company must earn name recognition for its product, encourage the customer to actually try their product/service and convince them that their product is acceptable. Only after that the company can expect to secure a few preferences for their brands.
Having solid brand equity not only increases the profits and revenues for the company but it lower costs as well. the companies that already have an established brand equity are likely to spend less on marketing since the existing as well as potential consumers are already aware of their product. They don’t have to go into the hassle of educating the general public about their company and its products/services. Having brand equity also helps the company expand into different product lines. Since the customer is already following the brand, they are more likely to try any new product that is created by them.
Whether through a quality product line, excellent consumer service, and/or exceptional marketing techniques used by the company – having a strong brand equity symbolizes that the company has gained enough recognition and respect from their consumers that guarantees they will spend more on products created by that brand.
The Benefits of Brand Value
Simply put, “brand equity” is the construct which is specifically designed to replicate the actual value which the brand name is holding for products and services which it accompanies. Measuring brand equity has been considered important mainly for the reason that brands are regarded to be powerful influencers of crucial business results like market share and sales.
“Branded products invariably command a higher price than so-called ‘store brands’ or ‘generic’ – even when the product itself is a commodity such as sugar. In these cases, the higher price is due almost entirely to the power of the brand.”
Here is a list of the advantages of brand equity that were identified by Kevin Keller, a professor from Dartmouth College:
- Be perceived variably and then produce varied interpretations of the product performance
- Enjoy better loyalty as well as be less prone to competitive advertising actions
- Command bigger margins and gain more unyielding responses to cost hikes and flexible responses to price drops
- Obtain better support and trade cooperation
- Boost the effectiveness of marketing communication
- Backing brand extensions
- Produce licensing opportunities
Just like other constructs, brand value has been defined and gauged in different ways. It’s sometimes understood from the viewpoint of perceptible financial assets of a company. On the other hand, from the marketing research outlook, it is usually viewed conceptually, as the framework to understand the effectiveness of emotional and intellectual associations that customers do have with branded services and products.
Contrary to outright dollar valuations, which underscore the direct financial perspective, the marketing researchers are looking to gauge and then understand the brand value for strategic planning and positioning.
Brand Equity Modeling and Brand Value Measurement
Brand equity has been defined and measured in numerous ways. However, the measurement process is not as simple as counting the number of individuals who recognize a certain brand name or symbol. It can also not be assumed by the fact that if the brand is popular, it holds strong brand equity. In fact, the most powerful brands can effortlessly be weakened by any wrong steps taken by the company or faulty product.
As a matter of fact, most research agencies worked and developed their own brand value model which is implemented in collaboration with the end-user researchers. Professor Kevin Keller said:
“Although the details of various approaches to conceptualize brand value differ, they tend to share a general core: All definitions usually either explicitly or implicitly depend on brad knowledge structures within the minds of customers both organizations and individuals as the foundation or source of brand value.”
Researchers explain and gauge brand equity when it comes to knowledge that consumers have about a specific brand. Different published brand value models and measurements were available up to date. Remarkably, measuring brand value might be just a single piece of a more complete brand research program. Also, a brand research program of an organization might be just a single facet of a bigger research & insights program.
Brand Value Model:
- Brand Awareness (strength of brand in consumer’s memory)
- Breadth (likeliness of recognition and recall of the brand)
- Depth (mindfulness of the brand under various purchase or consumption scenarios)
- “Lower” order brand associations (perceptions of benefits and attributes):
- “Higher” order brand associations (judgments, responses and feelings):
– Brand Performance – characteristics and features, reliability, serviceability and durability, effectiveness, empathy and efficiency, style and design, price.
– Brand Imagery – user profile, purchase circumstances, usage situations, values and personality, history and heritage.
– Brand Judgments – brand quality, brand credibility, brand consideration, brand superiority.
– Brand Feelings – warmth, fun, excitement, security, social approval, self-respect.
- Brand Equity Measurement
- Brand Awareness (Brand recognition, Unaided recall, Aided recall)
- Brand Image (Free association, Interview, Means-ends chain analysis, Projective techniques, Zaltman Tech., Aaker Scale, Ethnography or Observ, Fournier BRQ scale)
- Comparative Approaches (Brand based comparative approaches, Marketing based comparative approaches, Conjoint comparative approaches)
- Holistic Methods (Valuation approach, Residual approach)
Experts usually agree that the best way to measure the brand equity depends on its specific industry or company. In some cases, the brand equity can be analyzed by looking at the customer’s preference for the product while other cases require a careful study of customer’s satisfaction or market share of the company.
Most Powerful Brands in 2016
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It should come as no surprise that Apple tops the Forbes 2016 list. Recognizable products, a strong product portfolio and the ability to have people lining up for hours on product launch day. Despite strong competition they are responsible for almost half of the mobile phones sold in the US. The tech giant Apple is the most valuable brand of 2016. Having a value of $154.1billion, this is the sixth year Apple has dominated the rankings.
Google is now number 2, passing Microsoft and it isn’t difficult to understand why. The name Google has become synonymous with any internet search, if you don’t know something your friend will advise you to Google it. After Microsoft come Coca-Cola and Facebook.
Facebook is a prime example of something that started small, aimed at kids in one college as a beta test and grew into a behemoth. They constantly update their platform on the back of customer feedback and sometimes it might take longer than the customers want but they keep them in the loop that change is coming. People threaten to delete their accounts all the time, but they just keep coming back for more. Almost two billion of them!
On the other hand, according to brandfinance.com, which ranks the company’s based on their product quality, familiarity, promotion, customer loyalty, marketing tactics, staff satisfaction, and reputation – Disney is the most powerful brand of 2016. Having a brand value of $31.7 billion, the company has acquired the number one position due to its long and established history. It has also acquired many prominent companies recently. These include purchasing ESPN Inc, Star Wars, Pixar, and the Muppets and the Marvel.
The Danish Lego Company which was dominating the charts in 2015, shifted to #2 positions as a result of several controversies that were circulating about the company in the past year. The quality of their products remains the same but other factors contributed to their downfall.
Last year the toy company whose products are loved and cherished by kids of all ages was fined by German officials for preventing retailers from discounting its products. It was also a part of the censorship issue where it prevented a Chinese artist from using Lego in his work. Yet, the brand remains powerful and a part of every child’s toy box. L’Oreal with a brand value of $14.9 billion sits on the third position while PwC auditing company holds the court on the fourth. The consulting firm McKinsey is ranked on the fifth position while the 40 year old brand “Nike” is still going strong on the sixth position.
The recent reports that incorporated 100 brands from 16 countries serves to remind us how valuable and powerful a strong brand can be and really is.
Every market is cluttered, so by doing your research before you jump in head first you will be better placed to grow your brand identity.
If you’re starting fresh you are in a better position than most, because you can look at the market you are moving into and find what is missing to really carve out an identity for your business, give it a personality that is likely to attract customers and see them coming back for more.
Who is your target market? The face of your company should reflect them, a customer should be able to look at that and say, yes!
We’ve watched many iconic brands slip away in recent years and the same can be said for most of them: they completely lost sight of their identity. They knew who they wanted to target they just didn’t understand what it would take to make their target realise they were the brand for them.
Look at your brand preferences and look at your business, or your potential business. What can you do to build a brand as solid as that?
- Make it relatable, tell your customers a story – the story of how your business came to be, how you started out, and sell them on you.
- Deliver first class customer service, employ people who are willing to go the extra mile.
- Offer high quality products at fair prices.
There are a lot of people trying to say that brands are dying out because with the emergence of the internet customers have more options and far more information available to them. I would suggest there are brands that will never go away because they have the ability to adapt to the changes and movements in their industries. They take the time to understand what their customers want and need and they don’t waste time in putting it into action.
If you want to build a successful brand then you will take heed of the big names that have gone down the drain and adopt a more pro-active approach to running your business.