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The concept of Brand Equity using multiple brands and products as cases in point. I have looked at the various exploits which different companies have undertaken over the time in order to perpetuate the image and identity of its products and services in consumers mindset, and hence went on to build an unparallel brand equity.

What is Brand Equity?

Conceptually, brand equity is a composition of many perceptive elements, which when trickled properly goes on to create very strong brand equity. According to Brandt and Johnson, "Brand equity is the unique set of real and/or perceived distinctions attached to a brand by customers. Brand equity lives only in the hearts and minds of customers." Like we see in the diagram below:

Companies and their communications agencies have continued to create and use branding as a distinguishing and strategic competitive factor in the market place. Brands such as Coca-Cola, Mercedes, Nike, Microsoft, Harvard , Guinness, and Ford are beneficiaries of strong brand equities, and hence, account for the brand leadership positions of these companies globally. According to the Aaker, Brand Equity is a set of 4 main categories of assets & liabilities linked to brand that add or subtract from the value provided by the product or service to firm and/or to the firms customers:

In this model, brand awareness refers to the presence of a brand in the minds of consumers. The perceived quality is in the essence of what consumers are buying. For this reason, it is directly correlated with a brand's identity. Nevertheless, the perceived quality can differ from the real quality. Therefore, the creation of a quality product or service is still only a partial victory since it is still necessary to create perceptions of this quality with the market. On the other hand, brand association represents that which a firm wants the brand to represent in the minds of consumers. It is possible to refer to this as brand positioning.

How to create Brand Equity?

Quite a few things essentially from the sphere of strategic marketing instruments coupled with brand building methods go into hyping a product/service and hence build onbrand equity. To summarize certain key forces contributing to brand equity are: 1. Experience o Customer perceptions o Customer service o Actions of sales & delivery people etc. o Brand evolution over the years, changes to any aspect of the brand must reflect the changing market demands 2. Quality

o Tastes & levels of service o Ingredients & raw materials used etc. o Product/service durability o Guarantees and warrantees o Cutting edge technology 3. Identity o Strong & visible o Memorable names o Logos & colors o Sponsorships o Packaging etc. o Shelf position & display o Vehicle displays and branding o Corporate uniforms 4. Communication o PR & Advertising strategies o Quality letterheads & writing materials. o Internet presence o News Releases, sponsored press articles etc. o Other verbal and non-verbal means used in communicating

The different Brands and its Equity

Let us take a look at some of worlds top brands going by consumer preferences, as built upon its brand equity;

Brand Equity is not just a conceptual perceptual thought or devise to gauge a products strength in consumer mind space, but could also be quantified in pure financial terms. On that aspect Brand Equity could be defined as the value premium that a company realizes from a product with a recognizable name as compared to its generic equivalent. Companies can create brand equity for their products by making them memorable, easily recognizable and superior in quality and reliability. Mass marketing campaigns can also help to create brand equity. If consumers are willing to pay more for a generic product than for a branded one, however, the brand is said to have negative brand equity. This might happen if a company had a major product recall or caused a widely publicized environmental disaster. Apple could price its products at a hefty premium over other company brands solely trusting on its brand equity. So strong is its brand equity element that customer loyalty is least likely to wane even in face of stiff competition or higher than normal price points. The key aspects that drive Apples brand equity are first-of-its-kind products that appeals to consumers aesthetic chords more often than not. Consumers also take into consideration the following key attributes: Continuous Innovation Beautiful Designs Highly Ergonomic Technology leading products

Precisely speaking, the brand equity of Apple gives a tremendous sense of fulfillment in consumers.

McDonalds restaurant services have etched into the minds of consumers in a big way, so as to allow the company rich dividends out of this brand equity. Going by Aakers model of 4 main parameters, we see that consumers at the same time value this brands in the following manner: Brand awareness:- Consumers of all age, and of other diverse demographics, recognize this brand Perceived Quality:- There has never been any doubt on McDonalds quality Brand Association:- Consumers love to hang out and eat in McDonalds outlet Brand Loyalty:- Again, there is a significant degree of loyalty among fast food lovers for this particular brand

So with all these we know that while it takes a significant amount of time for companies to build a brand and realize its brand equity, but once in place, a strong brand equity can reap rich benefits for a much longer phase or period.