Brand equity is the commercial value that derives from consumer perception of the brand name of a particular product or service, rather than from the product or service itself.
Brand equity describes the value of having a well-known brand name, based on the idea that the owner of a well-known brand name can generate more money from products with that brand name than from products with a less well known name, as consumers believe that a product with a well-known name is better than products with less well-known names.
Sources of brand equity
There are two techniques of Capturing mindset:
• Quantitative Technique.
• Qualitative Technique.
1. Free Association
2. Projective Techniques
3. Brand Personality and Values
4. Experiential Methods
Qualitative Research Techniques:
Qualitative research techniques are often employed to identify possible brand associations and sources of brand equity. Qualitative research techniques are relatively unstructured measurement approaches whereby a range of possible consumer responses are permitted. Because of the freedom afforded both researchers in their probes and consumers in their responses, qualitative research can often be a useful “first step” in exploring consumer brand and product perceptions. Consider the following three qualitative research techniques that can be employed to identify sources of brand equity.
1. Free Association
The simplest and often most powerful way to profile brand associations involves free association tasks whereby subjects are asked what comes to mind when they think of the brand without any more specific probe or cue than perhaps the associated product category (e.g., “What does the Rolex name mean to you?” or “Tell me what comes to mind when you think of Rolex watches.”). Answers to these questions help marketers to clarify the range of possible associations and assemble a brand profile.
2. Projective Techniques
Uncovering the sources of brand equity requires that consumers’ brand knowledge structures be profiled as accurately and completely as possible. Projective techniques are diagnostic tools to uncover the true opinions and feelings of consumers when they are unwilling or otherwise unable to express themselves on these matters. The idea behind projective techniques is that consumers are presented with an incomplete stimulus and asked to complete it or given an ambiguous stimulus that may not make sense in and of itself and are asked to make sense of it. In doing so, the argument is that consumers will reveal some of their true beliefs and feelings. Thus, projective techniques can be especially useful when deeply rooted personal motivations or personally or socially sensitive subject matters may be operating. Projective techniques often provide useful insights that help to assemble a more complete picture of consumers and their relationships with brands.
3. Brand Personality and Relationships
Another useful set of measures to assemble the brand profile is brand personality. Brand personality is the human characteristics or traits that can be attributed to a brand. Brand personality can be measured in different ways. Perhaps the simplest and most direct way is to solicit open-ended responses to a probe such as: “If the brand were to come alive as a person, what would it be like, what would it do, where would it live, what would it wear, who would it talk to if it went to a party (and what would it talk about).” Other means are possible to capture consumers’ point of view. For example, consumers could be given a variety of pictures or a stack of magazines and asked to assemble a profile of the brand. These pictures could be of celebrities or anything else. Along these lines, ad agencies often conduct “picture sorting” studies to clarify who are typical users of a brand. In terms of measuring brand image, the Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique (ZMET) requires study participants to take photographs and/or collect pictures (from magazines, books, newspapers or other sources) and use these visuals to indicate what the brand means to them in various ways.
4. Ethnographic and Observational Approaches
Fresh data can be gathered by directly observing relevant actors and settings. Consumers can be unobtrusively observed as they shop or as they consume products to capture every nuance of their behavior. Marketers such as Procter & Gamble seek consumers’ permission to spend time with them in their homes to see how they actually use and experience products.
Quantitative Research Techniques
Although qualitative measures are useful to identify and characterize the range of possible associations to a brand, a more quantitative portrait of the brand often is also desirable to permit more confident and defensible strategic and tactical recommendations. Whereas qualitative research typically elicits some type of verbal responses from consumers, quantitative research typically employs various types of scale questions so that numerical representations and summaries can be made. Quantitative measures are often the primary ingredient in tracking studies that monitor brand knowledge structures of consumers over time.
Brand awareness is related to the strength of the brand in memory, as reflected by consumers’ ability to identify various brand elements (i.e., the brand name, logo, symbol, character, packaging, and slogan) under different conditions. Brand awareness relates to the likelihood that a brand will come to mind and the ease with which it does so given different type of cues.
In the abstract, recognition processes require that consumers be able to discriminate a stimulus — a word, object, image, etc. — as something they have previously seen. Brand recognition relates to consumers’ ability to identify the brand under a variety of circumstances and can involve identification of any of the brand elements. The most basic type of recognition procedures gives consumers a set of single items visually or orally and asks them if they thought that they had previously seen or heard these items.
Brand recall relates to consumers’ ability to identify the brand under a variety of circumstances. With brand recall, consumers must retrieve the actual brand element from memory when given some related probe or cue. Thus, brand recall is a more demanding memory task than brand recognition because consumers are not just given a brand element and asked to identify or discriminate it as one they had or had not already seen. Different measures of brand recall are possible depending on the type of cues provided to consumers.
Brand awareness is an important first step in building brand equity, but usually not sufficient. For most customers in most situations, other considerations, such as the meaning or image of the brand, also come into play. One vitally important aspect of the brand is its image, as reflected by the associations that consumers hold toward the brand. Brand associations come in many different forms and can be classified along many different dimensions.