Since the late 80s, brand equity (BE) has been regarded as one important marketing concept in both business practice and academic research as it gives marketers more competitive advantage through successful brands (Lassar, Mittal, & Sharma, 1995, p. 11). Although there are many researches about brand equity carried on by numbers of authors, most of their conclusions are consistent with Farquhar’s concept of brand equity as “the value added by the brand to the product” (Srinivasan, Park, & Chang, 2005, p. 1433). However, there are a limited number of conceptual and empirical researches focusing on services, not products. Additionally, the research information of customerbased brand equity (CBBE) of service brands in hospitality industry is pretty basic (Hsu, Hung, & Tang, 2012, p. 356). Brand equity knowledge in hospitality firms are mostly based on “theoretical or anecdotal evidence” only (Kayaman & Arasli, 2007, p. 93). Similar to any other industries, hospitality marketers are pressurized to measure the marketing performances and justify the effectiveness of marketing activities as well (Christodoulides & de Chernatony, 2010, p. 43). Brand equity measurement has become “part of a set of marketing performance indicators”. The analysis of brand equity and the way it is measured has a wide range of believers and practitioners that contribute the idea of “black box orientation” (Christodoulides & de Chernatony, 2010, p. 44). In hospitality industry, brand equity may be related to the ability to geographically expand, expand through franchising or develop sub-brands of a hotel brand (O'neill & Mattila, 2010, p. 29). The authors also mentioned that this subject has been particularly salient for international hotel groups like Marriott or Accor.
Therefore, this paper will focus on brand equity measurements for services, framing within hospitality. In order to do so, author will critically examine the importance of brand equity measurement, then analyze some outstanding researches of brand equity measurement methods by now. Follow up is hospitality case studies with applied methods used by those organizations. Last but not least, the paper will be concluded with the recommendation for future research of brand equity measurement.
BRAND EQUITY MEASUREMENT
For long, researchers have focused more on brand equity measurement (BEM) for products rather than services. Due to the different nature between these two categories, it is unquestionably incomplete to apply brand equity measures used for goods to services (Nath & Bawa, 2011, p. 137). Many of proposed CBBE measurement frameworks are consistent with Aaker’s and Keller’s conceptualization of BE as “a set of brand assets and liabilities linked to a brand, its name and symbol that add to or subtract from the value provided by a product or service to a firm and/or to that firm’s customers” (Oh & Hsu, 2014, p. 157). According to Keller (2013, p. 292), a BEM system is a set of research procedures created to provide marketers with updated and accurate information about brands in order to draw strategic decisions for long-term goal and design the best possible tactical decisions for the short-term. Keller also indicated that the main aim of BEM system is to obtain a “full understanding of the sources and outcomes of BE”, as well as to have a possibility to connect the two as much as possible (Keller, 2013, p. 292). The ideal type of BEM system is one would deliver most relevant, accurate and updated information about the brand and its competitors to the right person with the right decision making, at the right time within the company. Keller also mentioned in a previous study before (1993) that BEM captures customer perceptions, preferences and (predicted) behavior. As a result, they should be “relevant for firms, division, or business units exploiting the brand” as they will eventually affect financial performance (Verbeeten & Vijn, 2010, p. 646). Due to different...
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