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Hierarchical Chain Of Consumer-Based Brand
Equity: Review From The Fast Food Industry
Article in International Journal of Economics and Business Research · October 2011
DOI: 10.19030/iber.v10i9.5628

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perceptions of quality (Rao & Monroe. Malaysia Hishamuddin Bin Ismail. Multimedia University. brand trust and attitudinal brand loyalty. Keywords: Brand Equity. A proposed conceptual framework . This study was intended to bring contribution toward the theory of service brand equity. Fast Food. 1996).. (1999) identified that the fast food industry had heavily relied on price promotions as an important marketing activity.International Business & Economics Research Journal – September 2011 Volume 10. the global fast food market is forecasted to reach $200 billion.6% in 2008 to reach a value of $154. Fast food chains were among the many types of restaurants that were interested in building strong brands. low switching to better competitors (Narayandas. however. brand © 2011 The Clute Institute 67 . 2003). Despite these interests. 2009). specifically in fast food brand equity literature. Judy et al. it was proven that children were six times more likely to prefer chicken nuggets and three times more likely to prefer French fries that were presented in McDonald’s packaging (Sharma. 1989). however. brand familiarity. 2006). Malaysia Devinaga Rasiah. Brand name has been seen to be positively associated with consumer product evaluations. what additional dimensions were needed to be highlighted (Tong & Hawley.was postulated based on the casual relationships among dimensions of brand equity. brand image. achieving that goal was not always easy given that many fast food chains’ products and services were not inherently differentiated and the channels of distribution were not distinctive. and brand trust were proposed to serve as mediating variables of other constructs.Hierarchical chain of consumer-based brand equity . The current study provided valuable information in answering and supporting the following research questions: “Are there any pre-determinate constructs among dimensions of brand equity?” “Are there any existing mediating variables in the dimensions of brand equity?” “What are the steps for achieving a strong brand?” “What subsequent benefit(s) could a specific brand construct contribute in the next level of brand equity dimensions?” As an active response to these research questions. In the fast food industry. Malaysia ABSTRACT The aim of the study was to fill in the gaps in the discussion of the way in which fast food brand equity is developed.7 billion. Brand Trust. repeat purchase (Chiou & Droge. Multimedia University. an increase of 29. such ongoing marketing mechanism was valued as a form of discounting (William. 2008). In 2013. willingness of consumer to pay premium prices (Keller. implemented and managed (Keller. In another study. There are gaps in brand equity literature as to what was meant by fast food brand equity (Leung & Bougoure.3% since 2008 (Datamonitor 2009). the dimensions of consumer-based brand equity are decomposed into brand awareness. and recommendation to others (Russell-Bennett et al. Brand Familiarity. 2007). brand image. Hierarchical Chain INTRODUCTION T he global fast food market grew by 6. and how it should best be built. perceived quality. Number 9 Hierarchical Chain Of Consumer-Based Brand Equity: Review From The Fast Food Industry Tan Teck Ming. 2001). Brand familiarity. Multimedia University. 2007). perceived quality. indicating direct and indirect relationships among brand equity dimensions. A comprehensive and extensive literature review helped to develop a brand equity framework. the existing literature on brand equity within the fast food industry was still sparse. demonstrated three-level hierarchical chain. 1993). which has been very limited.

International Business & Economics Research Journal – September 2011 Volume 10. Essentially. Pepsi. Teas and Grapentine (1996) stated that it had derived its importance from the impact of brand based on consumer's evaluation of products or services. which was formed by the combination of a product's functional performance. Basically. Many measurements of brand equity have been created with respect to different concepts. McDonald’s. emotional benefits. On the other hand. 1993). accessibilitydiagnosticity considerations. This was mainly because fast food was accessible. 1993. expectancy value formulations. namely. Psychological-based approaches indicated that the brand was seen as a node in the memory with a variety of different types of associations. 1994). recognition processes. KFC. Kodak. a wide spectrum of different perspectives on how brand equity ought to be conceptualized and managed is in play today. & Oliva. leisure centers and parks. such as A&W. most of the people have known fast food brands. but with underpinning consumer behavior. McDonalds. 1998) and psychological-based approaches (Aaker. which are economic-based (Erdem & Swait. In other words. had come to be associated with a number of specific attributes. 1994). consumer-based brand equity reflected consumer perceived value. varying in strength. Adidas. linked to it. The Daily mail (2010) highlighted that UK Waltham Forest Council had banned fast food outlets from opening within a 400-metre (437 yards) “exclusion zone” around schools. LITERATURE REVIEW Overall Brand Equity In general. Farquhar et al. Loken & Roedder John. 1991. This approach measured the brand as financial assets. The study also attempted to fill in relevant gaps in the literature by developing a conceptual framework hierarchical of consumerbased brand equity (Figure 1). based on the attributes associated with the different products that represented individual members of the brand category (Loken & Roedder. and consumer's lifestyle. Kamakura & Russell. Levi's. Economic-based brand equity concept addressed the issue of how brand added value for customers (Erdem & Swait. TO RELATE BRAND FAMILIARITY AS ADDITIONAL DIMENSION Interestingly. 1991. It further went on to demonstrate the existence of casual relationships among the dimensions. brand equity subsumed to brand value and brand strength (Srivastava & Shocker. 1993. and Starbucks (Burke. over time. The main reason was to stop the fast food outlets operating next to schools and tempting children away from revamped 68 © 2011 The Clute Institute . which could be defined as either the asset management for manufacturers or leverage for trades. such as Mercedes-Benz. Louis Vuitton. BMW.. Nike. Aaker’s (1991) approach was largely from a managerial and corporate strategy perspective. brand equity was sometimes addressed as a firm level approach or companyoriented perspective (Feldwick. and Pizza Hut. financial (brand value) and consumer-based (brand strength) brand equity. since childhood. Number 9 familiarity and brand trust were proposed as additional dimensions. customers were willing to pay price premiums or become loyal to a brand because their expected utility increased. On the other hand. From a financial perspective. Consumers were more familiar with famous fast food brands when compared to well-known product brands. Park & Srinivasan. such as affect referral mechanisms. There are two different approaches in the consumer-based perspective. As a result. 1993). Nike. BMW. brand equity is the incremental utility and value added to a product by its brand name. 1993. 2002). Coke. Gucci. Keller. which served as a function in mitigating consumers’ negative perceptions during purchase decision or food selection (Morgan & Hunt. This approach assumed that consumers saw brands as categories that. and so on (Barton & Robin. acceptable and affordable for most of the consumers at anytime and anywhere. such as Mercedes-Benz. Two wellestablished models of brand equity that rely in various ways on consumer psychology principles in their development are Aaker (1991) and Keller (1993) models. There are numerous concepts and principles from psychology and social cognition in developing models of consumer brand-related decisions. Prada or Adidas. 1998). Keller (1993) approached brand equity as somewhat more of a consumer behavior perspectives. 1996). 1991) where it could be classified into two perspectives of measuring. Rangaswamy.

the familiarity of fast food brand played an important role in product preference. brand familiarity would transform fast food into "comfort foods" which serves as a source of pleasure and reassurance (Schlosser. Morgan and Hunt (1994. Trust could be created from an exchange environment in which the fast food brands provided consistent services to its customers across different outlets. Therefore. Number 9 healthier canteen meals. Despite the widespread acknowledgement that fast food was unhealthy. attitude toward the brand. Brand trust would lead consumers to consider the benefits at the point of consumption instead of the health effects after consumption. facilities. offers nutritious food. Unfortunately. Nevertheless. brand familiarity might serve as a function in mitigating consumers’ negative perceptions. there were several reasons for dining at fast food restaurants. the question arises. when there was existence of uncertainty about product attributes. (1996) highlighted that familiarity with a brand had increased consumer confidence. in turn. Malaysia banned fast food advertising for children’s programs because fast food was considered “the silent killer”. However. According to Delgado-Ballester (2004). promotion. brand could be served as a platform to ensure credibility and position of the product by decreasing perceived risk and information costs as identified by consumers. convenient. TO RELATE BRAND TRUST AS ADDITIONAL DIMENSION According to Rydell (2008). 1991). presentation. Once trust was formed. Yoo et al. For these reasons. 1993). portion. They posited that awareness and associations preceded perceived value and. such a situation could be explained as brand trust. Laroche et al.International Business & Economics Research Journal – September 2011 Volume 10. Similarly. In another study. there are suggestions in the literature that the dimensions could have a potential causal order (Agarwal & Rao. influenced brand loyalty. inexpensive. such as the effects of consumption while making fast food purchase decisions. The role of familiarity also appeared to be far greater for low involvement types of decisions where the consumer looked for a simple rule for decision-making (Batra & Ray. primarily motivated by the increasing number of Malaysians suffering from various kinds of diseases. p. This could be explained by most of Generation Y who were born between 1982 and 2003 and recognized the fast food brand since childhood as they were frequently exposed to fast food advertising during children’s program. and readily available at any time of the day. CAUSAL RELATIONSHIP OF BRAND EQUITY DIMENSIONS The dimensions of brand equity were intimately interrelated (Aaker. and being only a drive through or a phone call away. and entertaining. 1985). Brand Awareness According to Erdem and Swait (1998). a “treat” for myself. such as food. 2002).” This was explained by understanding exchange partners directed to the formation of trusted business relationships. most of consumers did not consider the effects of fast food consumption while making purchase decisions or food selections. 23) stated that trust existed “when one party had confidence in an exchange partner’s reliability and integrity. Singh (2007) stated that in 2007. and mitigated the potential negative impact of a negative trial experience (Smith. Schlosser (2002) expressed that the flavors of childhood food seem to leave an indelible mark and adults often return to them without always knowing why. Consistency of the brands’ functions leads to the feeling of security held by the consumer when interacting with the brand. services. business hours. such as quick. the relationship between brand and customer had the potential to be mutually beneficial. Consequently. enhanced purchase intention. consumers would rely on the ability of the brand to perform its stated functions instead of people involved in the restaurants. (2001) noted a hierarchy of effects among brand equity dimensions. There was high consistency in fast food operations for taste. a way of socializing with friends and family. “Can familiarity of brand mitigate perception of negative effects for fast food consumption and lead to the creation of brand equity?” According to Mano and Davis (1990). environment. consumers had perceptions that the brand was reliable and responsible for their interests and welfare anywhere and at any time. the reduction of uncertainty led to higher quality © 2011 The Clute Institute 69 . Ideally. too busy to cook a well balanced meal. 1996). tasty. price.

Petry & Cacioppo. This could be supported by Rosa and Riquelme’s (2008) online study that brand awareness did not show positive effects on brand equity. a consumer’s brand awareness would be higher as his or her exposure to the brand increases (Woodward. word-of-mouth. Even though brand awareness was a vital component of brand equity. Secondly. This would be supported by the evidence that brand awareness positively affected brand image in consumer goods products (Angel & Manuel. Brand awareness contributed brand equity creation in four main ways. brand awareness.International Business & Economics Research Journal – September 2011 Volume 10. According to Hoyer and Brown (1990). as discussed above. as Keller (1993) rightly put it. Researchers stressed that brand awareness was the dominant selection process among consumers and that the higher the brand awareness. even if there were no essential brands associated. brand awareness affected a consumer’s decision-making by influencing the formation and strength of brand associations in the brand image. such as advertising. Studies indicated that a minimum level of brand awareness could have a significant effect on product purchase decisions. Esch et al. Furthermore. Aaker (1991) emphasized that the awareness of the product or brand was the beginning of loyalty. he proposed that there were three reasons why brand awareness was important in consumer decision-making. 2000). 2001). Recall. This could be supported by Alba and Hutchinson’s (1987) argument where a consumer’s recognition and recall of a certain brand name would build a sense of familiarity. This result was consistent with Tong and Hawley’s (2009) findings that brand awareness alone could not guarantee the success of brand equity in the sportswear market. the higher the brand familiarity and reputation (Cobb-Walgren et al. top-of-mind. it gave enough reasons for the consumer to consider the brand in his consideration set. brand awareness generated differences in information processing and these differences were created by brand associations in the consumer’s memory. increased the likelihood of brand purchase leading to brand loyalty (Keller. 1990. 1995. empirically it did not show direct causal effect on brand equity or brand loyalty. it created a brand node in the consumer’s memory. 1993). Firstly. Therefore. 2004). brand opinion and brand knowledge were differences in the level of brand awareness. Monroe and Grewal (1991). D’Souza & Rao. Thirdly. there was a higher possibility that the customer would have a favorable image of the product or brand. 1986). Brand familiarity was formed by the acquired information through external sources. If a customer was aware of a certain product or brand. Firstly. Therefore. Moreover. As indicated by Keller (1993). Thirdly. According to Dodds. the presumption was that more exposed products and brand names could create a favorable brand image which. it acted as a signal of trust in the brand. particularly when consumers had low involvement (Hoyer & Brown. 2006). recognition. and Yu (2008) advocated that brand resonance. Number 9 expectation by consumers (Erdem & Swait. Brand awareness was essential in building brand equity. Wang. 1990. 1996). did not support the hypothesis that related positively to the extent to which brand awareness was evident in the global brand equity model. it provided a sense of brand popularity in the consumer’s mind. 1998). led to brand loyalty since consumers were likely to buy a certain product or brand that had a favorable brand image.. according to Aaker (1991). Secondly. as referred to the strength of a brand’s presence in the consumers’ minds (Aaker. The consequence of high level of brand awareness would place the brand in the consumer’s mind set and eventually the decision-making of the consumer (Hoyer & Brown.. 1995. brand awareness affected decisions about brands in the consideration set. or brand popularity. (1998) further concluded that brand awareness and perceived quality had a positive and significant relationship in a bicycle brand study. brand dominance. which directly affected brand image. 2000). it was essential that the brand came to consumers’ minds when they thought about the product category. in the long run. which was brand loyalty in terms of the firms perspective (Keller. it referred to the brand salience that existed in consumers’ memories. Macdonald & Sharp. Aaker (1996) discovered that brand awareness was an important component of brand equity. 1995). As a result. Reynolds & Olson. Grewal et al. brand awareness affected consumer decision-making by influencing the formation and strength of brand associations in the brand image. Wei. 70 © 2011 The Clute Institute . positive brand image through high brand awareness. 2005. Lastly. and internal sources such as use of the product (Gursoy & McCleary. Consequently. could have a positive effect on consumers’ perceptions of quality and value because it allows consumers to associate the brand with its product category.

Number 9 Conversely. (2007) empirically proved that brand awareness positively affected brand loyalty and brand equity in a study of frequently consumed product. However. (2002) had based their arguments on a cognitive-affective-behavioral hierarchical model. the greater the brand trust. The higher the awareness of a brand. he or she felt emotional closeness and confidence. the greater the brand image. brand attributes was one of the components of brand image. but also built up confidence about the brand. brand association. Tong and Hawley (2009) indicated that perceived quality did not positively relate to brand equity. perceived quality was considered as a cognitive construct which resulted in affective response toward the brand. The above statement was supported by Zajonc and Markus’ (1982) study which proposed that familiarity may direct consumers to have favorable evaluations of a service or brand. As a result. 1993). a positive brand image would be created © 2011 The Clute Institute 71 . Brand Familiarity Researchers suggested that consumers evaluated brand more positively when they were familiar with it. Thus. brand loyalty could only serve as a preceded construct of perceived quality and not as a mediating variable. This effective response determined that the consumer behavior had lead to product purchase and brand loyalty. perceived quality would be related to the information evaluation stage and loyalty which would be mainly related to the purchase decision stage. They further explained that just maintaining high quality or awareness of the brand was not adequate in ensuring the successfulness of a brand in the sportswear industry. the greater the perceived quality.brand awareness. Consequently. Most of the measured variables were deleted in order to satisfy the statistical result. consequently. the greater the brand image. Campbell and Keller (2003) advocated that increasing brand familiarity through accumulated customer experiences not only created a knowledge structure for the consumer.International Business & Economics Research Journal – September 2011 Volume 10. Subsequently. 1993). According to brand knowledge (Keller. (2007) showed that perceived quality was positively related to brand loyalty and brand equity. brand familiarity. there were only two measured variables that existed in the construct. brand loyalty had been considered as a construct proceeded by the other three dimensions . Chiou et al. consumers individually assessed each descriptive feature that characterizes a product or service based on the familiarity and experience they had with a certain brand. However. However. 1999. perceived quality alone was not sufficient in securing overall brand equity. As a conclusion. As referred to Keller (1993). the following propositions could be formulated: P1: P2: P3: The higher the awareness of a brand. Roberts et al. When a consumer was confronted with a familiar brand. the higher the level of brand familiarity would lead to better evaluation of brand attributes. and brand image. which caused positive brand evaluation and finally had an effect on brand trust (Sen & Johnson. Therefore. 1997. this study posited the following proposition: P4: P5: The higher the familiarity of a brand. The higher the familiarity of a brand. therefore created favorable images of the familiar brand (Holden & Vanhuele. (2004) turned to the purchase decision stages to justify a causal order between perceived quality and loyalty. Gil et al. In order to establish this causal order. Therefore. this increased the level of consumer experience and positively affected the brand image formation process. and perceived quality. Ho and Chong (2003) had suggested that the level of brand familiarity and consumption experiences influenced consumers toward brand attributes. Thus. good evaluation of perceived quality increased brand association. Zajonc & Markus. Woodward (2000) further highlighted that brand familiarity had significantly affected service products more than physical goods because of the complicated characteristics of services. Perceived Quality According to Gil et al. The study of Gil et al. brand awareness did not show consistency of a positive effect toward brand loyalty and equity. 1982). This was because when there was a good perception of quality. The higher the awareness of a brand. which ultimately contributed to higher level of brand image. Janiszewski. For this reason. the greater the brand familiarity. previous studies concretely supported that brand awareness would lead to better perceived quality. (2007).

As a result. (2006). which sequentially led to attitudinal brand loyalty (Matzler. Sichtmann. it was also a strong dominant factor in the level of consumer trust. Thus. 1999).. which indicated that tangibility. Furthermore. brand trust had been recognized as a prominent variable leading to long-term relationships with customers.. In addition. Kandampully & Suhartanto. reliability and empathy (perceived quality in service industry) showed positive effects on brand image in a hotel study. 2004). 2006.. there was mediating effect of brand trust and brand attachment. 2007). Finally. 2006). the result of Yoon’s (2002) study explained the significant influence of variables related to corporate image on consumers’ trust towards a specific website. this study proposed the following propositions: P8: P9: The higher the image of a brand. the following proposition was derived: P10: 72 The higher the trust of a brand. Brand Trust A consumer’s trust toward a certain brand could lead to attitudinal brand loyalty. such as the selection of existing and new products and the word-ofmouth about the brand to other customers. This can be supported by Kayaman and Arasli’s (2007) study. but in the real world. and attitudes as perceived by consumers. this study derived the following propositions: P7: P6: The higher the perceived quality of a brand. Brand Image With brand image being advantageous to companies. based on the commitment–trust theory of relationship marketing (Morgan & Hunt. Additionally. 1995. 2006. Harris & Goode. and unique associations linked to the brand due to greater brand attributes. Kandampully & Hu. According to Pitta et al. Aaker (1996) also declared that brand trust went beyond the consumer’s satisfaction by way of functional performance of the product and its attributes. 2008). the greater the brand image. All recent results are consistent with the previous study done by Chaudhuri and Holbrook (2001). 2007. © 2011 The Clute Institute . Thus. in a perfect world. Flavian et al. Therefore. Trust had been at the centre of studies that aimed to explain loyalty. favorable. Esch et al. the greater the brand trust. brand trust was the key variable to maintain continuing relationships with customers. Lehu (2001) confirmed that corporate image was a leading cause of high level of consumer trust. such as the intention to repurchase and to make recommendations to the other party (Lau & Lee. In conclusion. Moreover. it reduced the perceived risk by decreasing the possibility of incurring a loss. 2008). then there would be some form of positive behavioral intention. The relationship between consumer trust and loyalty had been supported in several studies (Morgan & Hunt. one must first gain their trust. (2006) had confirmed the direct impact of brand image on a consumer’s brand trust and the direct and indirect influence of brand image on current and future purchases. Martzler et al. the greater the attitudinal brand loyalty. It was apparent that if one party trusted another. Mayer et al. Once customers had favorable images toward a certain brand. 1994). 2006). The higher the perceived quality of a brand. 2005.. Chiou and Droge (2006) indicated that trust had a direct effect on attitudinal loyalty and an indirect one through satisfaction. then this process would have a positive influence on the customer’s trust and eventually reinforce their loyalty (Back. Likewise..International Business & Economics Research Journal – September 2011 Volume 10. 2000. the greater the attitudinal brand loyalty. benefits. The higher the image of a brand. which led to future purchase in the retail setting (Esch et al. Number 9 as there is strong. 1994. the greater the attitudinal brand loyalty. which in turn affected brand loyalty in a positive way (Chiou & Droge. a financial study stressed that image was one of the fundamentals in building a sincere relationship of trust between customer satisfaction and loyalty (Flavian et al. in the retail setting. trust was unnecessary. Rauyruen and Miller (2007) argued that in order to gain loyalty of customers. which indicated that brand trust affected attitudinal brand loyalty. Sichtmann (2007) suggested that trust had a substantial impact on consumer behaviors.

4 P.International Business & Economics Research Journal – September 2011 Volume 10. Kayaman & Arasli. As referred to consumers’ brand knowledge. as indicated by Lassar. brand association was replaced by brand image. 2000). Furthermore. both defined brand equity from a customer perspective and emphasized that consumer-based brand equity provided value to the firm and to the customer. Mittal & Sharma’s (1995) trustworthiness. 1997). and it represents a favorable attitude toward a specific brand in a chain of cognition. it was safe to include brand familiarity as a dimension of consumer-based brand equity on Aaker’s concept.10 P. Number 9 FAST FOOD BRAND EQUITY FRAMEWORK The propositions outlined above are graphically illustrated in Figure 1. Behavioral brand loyalty focuses on a consumer’s actual purchase behavior of a certain brand over time (Ehrenberg & Goodhardt.3 P. and dependability of brand name. development of brand image. attitudinal brand loyalty was adapted because it was based on consumers’ emotional commitments (psychologicalbased) rather than consumers’ actual purchase behaviors. affection. Aaker (1996) argued that brand recognition reflected familiarity and linking acquired from past exposure.8 Brand Trust ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------P.1 P. brand trust was integrated.5 ----------Brand Awareness P. 2004). Thus. and conation (Oliver. Lastly.behavioral brand and attitudinal brand. Figure 1: Fast Food Brand Equity Framework © 2011 The Clute Institute 73 . Hence. Attitudinal Brand Loyalty ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------P. This model was conceptualized using psychological-based approaches of brand equity and supported by the grounded theory of Aaker’s brand equity.6 Brand Image P.7 ----------P. Alba and Hutchinson (1987) indicated that brand personality assessments were expected to be affected by consumers’ knowledge and familiarity. Catherine & Ada. 2007. Although Aaker (1991) and Keller (1993) conceptualized brand equity differently. Kim & Kim. He proposed a clear concept of restaurant. attitudinal brand loyalty centers on consumer’s commitment toward a certain brand.2 Brand Familiarity Hierarchical chain of consumer-based brand equity There are two perspectives of brand loyalty .9 Perceived Quality P. Muller and Woods (1994) pointed out the importance of restaurant brand management instead of product management. Furthermore. brand image was widely used in the hospitality industry as compared to brand association (Henry. As a result. 2010.

Secondly. 2001). Knudtzen. Brand awareness was the capability of a prospect buyer to recognize or recall a particular brand when in the selection process of certain categories of a product (Aaker. 1991). it was obvious that trust was a key factor in collaborative relationships with customers in business marketing (Lau and Lee. The next block of Keller’s pyramid contained brand performance. and brand salience was referred to as the aspect of brand awareness (Keller. it explained the relationship between brand and customers (Fournier. brand awareness was a prerequisite for consumer-based brand equity. This study intended to transform the research idea of consumer-based brand equity pyramid as proposed by Keller (2001). perceived quality. MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS Practitioners must be cautious with the hierarchical chain of consumer-based brand equity. 1999). such that it was based on the perceptions that the brand was reliable and responsible for the interest and welfare of the consumer (Morgan & Hunt. this study aimed to extend Aaker’s model by decomposing brand familiarity and brand trust based on theory of Keller (1993) and Lassar. THEORETICAL CONTRIBUTIONS This study highlighted three important contributions in brand equity. For many brands. As a result. Chaudhuri and Holbrook (2001) supported that consumers felt comfortable on trusted brands because trust increased their confidence level in the uncertain environment. attributes. the fundamental of attaining the right brand identity required building brand salience with consumers. the key question was not whether or not customers can recall the brand. which could be referred to perceived as quality. 1986).International Business & Economics Research Journal – September 2011 Volume 10. Therefore. According to Heding. imagery. Besides. Brand trust was operationally defined as a feeling of security held by the consumer in his or her interaction with the brand. 74 © 2011 The Clute Institute . but also indicated the direct and indirect knowledge available to the consumer (Alba and Hutchinson. fast food managers should focus on event promotions. it enhanced generalizability of the conceptual framework of consumer-based brand equity. 1987). As a result. 1996). and other attention-getting approaches of marketing activities. publicity. and Bjerre (2009). and feelings. For instance. These purposeful postulations served as an important research in identifying a hierarchical chain that existed in brand equity dimensions. 1994). Mittal and Sharma (1995). then the company competed on the product rather than the brand. this study attempted to fill the gaps in research by demonstrating a comprehensive set of casual relationships among brand equity dimensions at the customer level. Remarkably. 1990). Thus. but rather where and when they thought of the brand and how easily and how often they thought about that brand. and brand trust played mediating roles in the relationship between other dimensions. Brand recognition reflected familiarity and linking acquired from past exposure (Aaker. serving as appropriate steps in creating brand meaning and exciting brand response. 2009).. it not only emphasized on the total time spent processing information about the brand (Baker et al. fast food managers should adopt a broad view of branding decision to make certain that the strength of a brand’s presence was in the consumer’s mind. uses. brand familiarity. it was not relevant to talk about brand equity in the first place. and brand image engaged a mediating character in the relationship between brand familiarity and brand trust. Moreover. 1981). Thirdly. Knudtzen & Bjerre. If the consumer was not aware of the brand. brand image and brand trust in current framework. The existence of brand relationship enabled the fast food brand to mitigate consumers’ negative perceptions while making fast food purchase decisions. Firstly. brand awareness was presented as crucial to brand knowledge (Hoyer & Brown. as well as prior experience with a brand. sponsorship. Based on the commitment-trust theory of Morgan and Hunt (1994). brand image served as a mediating variable between perceived quality and attitudinal brand loyalty. choice criteria and so on (Marks & Olson. According to Keller’s theory. The fundamentals for the next levels were brand familiarity and brand awareness (Heding. sampling. Brand familiarity is operationally referred to as the cognitive representations of experiences stored in memory. 1998). it must also do so at the right time and place. brand image. and cognitive representations of experiences with a brand that were organized in the memory as a structure or schema in the form of representations of brand names. the brand must not only be "top of mind" and have sufficient "mind share". judgments. Number 9 Fast food brand equity could be described by three levels of a hierarchical chain. Alba and Hutchinson (1987) defined brand familiarity as the number of brand-related experiences that a consumer had built up.

Practically. especially brand familiarity and brand trust. However. fast food managers should decide the core needs and wants of consumers to be satisfied by the brand. character. especially in how to integrate communication and create relationship between the brand and the fast food firm. and food delivery time. brand image. perceived quality was measured as a “core or primary” facet across the food service industry. the greater the level of familiarity with that information. fast food practitioners should also highlight the importance of other dimensions.International Business & Economics Research Journal – September 2011 Volume 10. Practitioners must be able to identify which attributes consumers were looking for in regard to quality. and brand trust were proposed to serve as mediating variables of other constructs. environment. in managing brand equity. Number 9 With respect to familiarity of brand. services. indirectly facilitating to create cohesive and consistent brand equity (Keller. Thus. Two additional dimensions . Focusing solely on product attributes will definitely increase the risk of a product-attribute fixation trap. The greater the amount of time spent processing brand information. facilities. which might affect the true picture of the hierarchical chain. the spotlight of communication should be considered on brand personality. CONCLUSIONS This study elaborated on the concept of brand equity and provided a fast food brand equity framework based on a comprehensive review of the existing empirical studies. and self-respect instead of purely on trust. with the same strategic branding goal to produce manifold. there were more details of brand-building blocks. perceived quality. feeling block covered warmth. organizational associations. Lastly. the casual relationships among dimensions of brand equity were derived from extensive reviews of previous empirical studies. such as food portion. which served as a function in mitigating consumers’ negative perceptions during purchase decision or food selection. As for brand trust. 1993). © 2011 The Clute Institute 75 . presentation. By understanding and simplifying the branding strategy. based on different industries as there are a limited number of studies focused on fast food brand equity. Future research may identity more relevant dimensions which serve as important brand relationship roles. by demonstrating clear causal relationships among brand equity dimensions. This study assisted in answering how to overcome the complexity brand strategies and relationships. as defined by Aaker (1996). brand reliability. security. this study only centered on intensity of brand relationship (attitudinal brand loyalty) and did not cover activity of brand relationship. Furthermore. For instance.hierarchical chain of consumer-based brand equity based on the casual relationships among dimensions .brand familiarity (cognitive representations of experiences stored in memory) and brand trust (confidence level) are included. According to a consumer-based brand equity pyramid proposed by Keller (2001). taste. and higher the chances in promising value on brand trust and brand image. although there was a direct effect of brand familiarity on brand trust. For instance. There were also two additional dimensions proposed. logo. brand symbols. fast food practitioners had to guarantee the consistency of operations. A proposed conceptual framework . The contribution of branding strategy might have had direct and indirect results. social approval. excitement. the indirect effect (with brand image playing a mediating role) might serve as a stronger driver for brand trust in the context of the fast food industry. promotion. there is the possibility of omission or over-coverage for the casual relationships presented in the proposed model. In particular. Effectiveness of the integration between different marketing tactics. Consequently. business hours. packaging and slogan under different conditions. links to core benefits. practitioners needed to emphasize the amount of time spent in processing brand information. indicating direct and indirect relationships among brand equity dimensions. fun.was postulated. FUTURE RESEARCH Examination of the brand equity literature in this study helped to develop a fast food brand equity framework that called upon further empirical data to verify its propositions. fast food managers will have a clear brand management direction. Brand familiarity.

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