Effective Branding: A Different Way to think about Brand Equity and Brand Equity Measurement.

An interesting read on brand strategy insider defines a brand as the personification of an organization or its products or services. It compares brand equity to a relationship you have with a very good friend versus a relationship you have with someone you don’t know at all. If you meet a good friend over lunch and he or she is negative and talks in bad ways you tend to forgive them, as they are after all your friend, whereas if it would have been someone you don’t know you would have wanted to get out of that lunch appointment as soon as possible and never meet them again.

Building on that definition of what a brand is, I would go one step further and not just look at the personification, but shift the focus to the value of the relationship. A brand is often defined as the collective thoughts and feelings you have as they relate to a product (or service, organization, place or person). And one dimension to add would be the consequential relationship you have in addition to those thoughts and feelings.

Why? A relationship goes further then a thought. You might have a bad day with a friend, but they’ll still be your friend and you still hang out with them. If we define branding as a deliberate process aimed at shaping the way people think and feel about a product (or service, organization, place or person) with a commercial objective in mind, then the goal of that process is to obviously build long term relationships, because they have the highest commercial value.

If we take it one step further, and keep this comparison going, it becomes a lot easier to understand the difference between a product and a brand. A product just communicates functional features, but a brand wants to be your friend. If you’re launching a new brand, maybe think of your new brand on his or her first day at school. The new kid in the class is judged very quickly on how he or she behaves and acts. The other kids start to form opinions and decide if they like or dislike him or her and a role is quickly defined. You can’t be friends with everybody, but you can be the popular kid. How would you go about doing that? Well, it’s all about adding value to others, if you’re the kid that’s the funniest, or if you’re the cool one, or if you’re the creative one that always comes up with fun ideas it makes it easy for the others to relate to you and become friends.

The article also dives into measuring brand equity and lists a few common attributes that are typically measured to help decide how strong a brand is:

  • Unaided awareness (first recall and other)
  • Relevance
  • Importance of up to 24 brand benefits and values
  • Delivery against those 24 brand benefits and values
  • Brand value
  • Brand accessibility
  • The brand’s emotional connection to its customers (4 different measures of this)
  • Attitudinal loyalty to the brand (2 different measures)
  • Brand vitality (2 different measures)
  • Brand personality
  • Top-of-mind brand associations

Other common brand measures mentioned are market share, mindshare, share of wallet, reduced price sensitivity, price premiums commanded by the brand and the value of the brand in licensing agreements.

So after this beautiful personal introduction, we tend to become marketeers again here getting lost in our measurable business speak, but if we continue to think of a brand in terms of a person you like (an aquintance, a friend, a boyfriend or girlfriend, or even a husband or wife) and the relationship you have with that person then what makes a good relationship and how would you measure that?

  • First impression?
  • Personality (start with 3 attributes? and deepened over time)
  • Things you have in common (other friends, other traits etc)
  • Shared experiences (history, moments)

Interested to hear how you would add to this list and once we completed that, we’ll figure out how we could go about measuring these things? Hell, we might even figure out how to have better relationships!

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