How to measure brand image: a reasoned review
Luca Cian, Ross Business School, University of Michigan, USA* The aim of this paper is to review the most important tools and methods used to analyse and measure the brand image. Both traditional and innovative measurements have been considered, including attitude scales, Q-Sort, Natural Grouping, Kelly Repertory Grid, Laddering, Benefit Chain, Projective Techniques, Brand Personality, and Brand Narration. Considering the number of tools presented, the focus is not on their comparison (impossible with so many tools), but on their presentation in a unique paper. This review represents a useful vademecum for both practitioners and researchers in the fields of marketing and economic psychology creating a basis for future research on which comparative tests can be built. This is the first work that presents all the most important inquiry tools aimed to measure the brand image together. Keywords Brand image, Brand personality, Qualitative technique, Quantitative techniques, Projective Techniques.
Introduction A review is usually needed when an intricate jungle of thoughts and papers are agglomerated on a specific subject. Differently, this review concerns a topic on which papers are rare and usually not linked to each other. There are many papers that try to theorise the concept of “image”, but only a few take into account how to measure this construct. Just to provide some examples, most of the studies which introduce the concept of image in the customer satisfaction/service quality models (e.g., Martinez & Pina, 2005), measure it with attitude scales (usually a Likert one), and do so without consideration of any possible alternatives. The aim of this paper is to review the most important published methods of brand image measurement, presenting them, for the first time, in a single article.1 1 The databases consulted were the following: PsycARTICLES, PsycCRITIQUES, PsycINFO, Communication Abstracts, Communication & Mass Media Complete, Mental Measurements Yearbook, ArticleFirst, Electronic Collections Online, ISI Web of Science, ProQuest ResearchNow: a bepress portal, ScienceDirect (Elsevier Journals Online), Wilson Business Abstract.
*Correspondence details and a biography for the author are located at the end of the article.
The Marketing Review, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 165-187 doi: 10.1362/146934711X589390 ISSN1469-347X print / ISSN 1472-1384 online ©Westburn Publishers Ltd.
The Marketing Review, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 2 PART I: IMAGE CONCEPTUALISATION Brand, corporate and product image Differently from traditional economic/marketing literature (e.g. Stern et al., 2001), in which image is classified in different typologies - corporate image, brand image, product image, store image – the present study moves to a different and more modern conceptualization (Meenaghan, 1995; Raj & Choudhary, 2008; Semprini, 2006). According to these authors, branding is viewed as the capacity to provide a “world” of meanings and imaginations (Meenaghan, 1995), a “vector of sense” able to carry values, ideas, thoughts, emotions, associations, and symbols on a particular entity (Semprini, 2006); this entity can be a product, a service, a store, a trademark or a corporation (Raj & Choudhary, 2008). Theoretically speaking, “brand image” is a broad concept, which can be applied to organizations, corporates, products or services. Lately, it can also be applied to political parties and show business or political persons (Seguela, 2007). Consequently, the tools and the methodology used to investigate the brand image can be used on a multitude of entities. Brand image definition To search for a clear and univocal definition of the image is like trying to climb the Tower of Babel, mainly because “image” and “brand” have been used in several thematic areas and have consequently assumed a notable ambiguity and plurivocity. With the term “image” we will refer to a cognitive representation of a...
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