Brand Association

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BRAND ASSOCIATIONS AND CONSUMER PERCEPTIONS OF VALUE OF PRODUCTS

BY NZUKI KITHUNG’A PETER UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI

PAPER PRESENTED TO SUPPLY OF ACADEMIC PUBLICATIONS (SAP)

CONTENTS Page 1. Background Meaning of a brand and Its Importance 2. Theoretical Framework on Brand Associations Perceptual Dimensions of Brand Associations Brand Associations and Value Creation Brand Association and Value Creation Model 3. Measurement of Brand Associations Less Structured Approaches Structured Approaches 4. Research in Brand Associations Brand Extensions Branding Country ofOrigin Celebrity Brand Preferences Product Attributes Brand Associations and Brand Equity 5. Critique of Research in Brand Associations Techniques used Operational Definitions Clarity of Image Brand Association Strength Other Constructs Moderating Variables 6. Future Research Directions Theoretical and Practical constructs Techniques Used Multiple Segments Industrial goods and Services 7. References 3

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1.0 Introduction

A successful brand is the most valuable resource a company has. In fact, one authority speculates that brands are so valuable that companies will soon include a “statement of value” addendum to their balance sheets to include intangibles such as the value oftheir brands. Brands are used as external cues to taste, design, qualify, prestige, value and so forth. In other words, consumers associate the value of a product with the brand. For example, the value of Kodak, Sony, Coca-cola, Toyota and Marlboro is indisputable. One estimate of the value of Coca-cola, the world’s most valuable brand, places it at over $35 billion. How does a brand create value to the customer? Why do certain brands have more value than others? Naturally, companies with such strong brands strive to use those brands globally (extend them).

The purpose of this paper is to review literature on the core associations ofbrands used to position brands as strategies to create competitive advantages.

1.1 Meaning of a brand and Its Importance

A brand is a distinguishing name and/or symbol! intended to identity the goods or services of either one seller or a group of sellers, and to differentiate those goods or services from those of competitors (Aaker, 1991; Stanton, 1994, and Kotler, 1996). A brand thus signals to the customer the source ofthe product, and protects both the customer and the producer from competitors who would attempt to provide products that appear to be identical.

Ancient history provides evidence of the importance of brands. In those days, names were put on such goods as bricks in order to identify their maker (Farquhar, 1989). It is also known that trade guilds in medieval Europe used trademarks to assure the customer and provide legal protection to the producer. In the early sixteen-century, Whisky distillers shipped their products in wooden barrels with the name of the producer burned 3

into the barrel. The name showed the consumer who the maker (brewer) was and prevented the substitution of cheaper products. In 1835, a brand of scotch called “Old Smuggler” was introduced in order to capitalize on the quality reputation developed by bootleggers who used a special distilling process (Aaker, 1991).

Although brands have long had a role to play in commerce, it was not until the twentieth century that branding and brand association became so central to competitors. In fact, a distinguishing characteristic of modern marketing has been its focus upon the creation of differentiated brand associations to accentuate the bases of differentiation. The idea has been to move beyond commodities to branded products -

to reduce the primary of price

upon the purchase decision. Consumers associate the value of the product with the brand. The brand can convey either a positive or a negative message about the product to the consumer (Kim and Chung, 1997, p.361). The underlying value of a brand is often based upon...
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