Choosing Brand Elements to Build Brand Equity

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CHOOSING BRAND ELEMENTS TO BUILD BRAND EQUITY Brand elements, sometimes called brand identities, are those trademarkable devices that serve to identify and differentiate the brand. The main brand elements are brand names, URLs, logos, symbols, characters, spokespeople, slogans, jingles, packages, and signage. Independent o f the decisions made about the product and how it is marketed, brand elements can be chosen in a manner to build as much brand equity as possible. That is, according to the customer-based brand equity model, brand elements can be chosen to enhance brand awareness; facilitate the formation of strong, favorable, and unique brand associations; or elicit positive brand judgments and feelings. The test of the brand-building ability of brand elements is what consumers would think or feel about the product if they only knew about its brand name, associated logo, and other characteristics. A brand element that provides a positive contribution to brand equity, for example, would be one for which consumers assumed or inferred certain valued associations or responses. CRITERIA FOR CHOOSING BRAND ELEMENTS In general, there are six criteria in choosing brand elements (as well as more specific choice considerations in each case): 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Memorability Meaningfulness Likability Transferability Adaptability

The first three criteriaㅡmemorability, meaningfulness, and likeabilityㅡcan be characterized as “brand building” in nature and concern how brand equity can be built through the judicious choice of a brand element. The latter three, however, are more “defensive” in nature and are concerned with how the brand equity contained in a brand element can be leveraged and preserved in the face of different opportunities and constraints. The following sections briefly consider each of these general criteria. Memorability A necessary condition for building brand equity is achieving a high level of brand awareness toward that goal, brand elements can be chosen that are inherently memorable and therefore facilitate recall or recognition in purchase or consumption settings. In other words, the intrinsic nature of certain names, symbol, logos and the likeㅡtheir semantic content, visual properties, and so onㅡmay make them more attention getting and easy to remember and therefore contribute to brand equity. For example, naming a brand of propane gas cylinders "Blue Rhino" and reinforcing it with a powder-blue mascot with a distinctive yellow flame is likely to stick in the minds of consumer. Meaningfulness Besides choosing brand elements to build awareness, brand elements can also be chosen whose inherent meaning enhances the formation of brand associations. Brand elements may take on all kinds of meaning, varying in descriptive, as well as persuasive, content. For example

brand names could be based on people, places, animals or birds, or other things or objects. Two particularly important dimensions or aspects of the meaning of a brand element are the extent to which it conveys the following: -

General information about the nature of the product category. In terms of descriptive meaning, to what extent does the brand element suggest something about the product category? How likely would it be that a consumer could correctly identify the corresponding product category or categories for the brand based on any one particular brand element? In a related question, does the brand element seem credible in the product category? In other words, is the content of a brand element consistent with what consumers would expect to see from a brand in that product category? persuasive meaning, to what extent does the brand element suggest something about the particular kind of product that the brand would likely be, for example, in terms of key attributes or benefits? Does it suggest something about a product ingredient or the type of person who might use the brand?

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Specific information about particular attributes and benefits...
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