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Brand concept maps as a tool to define brand image

Based on the article:

Roedder-John, D., Loken B., Kim, K. & Basu Monga, A. (2008). Brand concept maps: A methodology for
identifying brand association networks. Journal of marketing research, 13, 549 563.

A brand might be associated with a specific feature, usage or logo in consumers mind. According to Aaker
(1996) these associations are organized in a network in consumers memory and they constitute a brands
image and identify its uniqueness and value for the customers (as cited in Roedder-John, Loken, Kim & Basu
Monga, 2008). That is why examining the networks of brand associations are so crucial for identifying the
brand equity. A brand map can show the companies not only these associations but also demonstrate how
closely these associations are connected to the brand.

Despite the benefits, techniques for developing brand maps are still growing slowly. Unstructured methods
make it difficult to aggregate individual maps into consensus maps. Two well-known methodologies are
consumer mapping (e.g. Zaltmans Metaphor Elicitation Technique) and analytical mapping (e.g. network
analysis), that are both used to illustrate the networks of brand associations but differ in the way how the
data is collected and brand map is derived. However, most marketing practitioners are not familiar with
these techniques because they require specialized expertise and knowledge of different statistical
approaches. Brand Concept Maps (BCM) is new consumer mapping methodology introduced by Roedder-
John et al. (2006) that offers a new, more accessible and standardized method for producing brand maps.
BCM provides a map that shows the network of relevant brand associations that affect consumer
perception of the brand.

Consumer mapping techniques can be divided into three stages. Elicitation stage is the first, in which
important brand associations are elicited from consumers. In the mapping stage, consumers map these
associations to demonstrate how they are connected to the brand and also to one other. In the last
aggregation stage, researchers aggregate individual brand maps to produce a consensus map. The new
BCM approach differs from the existing ZMET in all of these stages as it has more structure and it provides a
technique that is easier to manage and analyze (Roedder-John et al. 2008).

In the article, there are two studies where the authors illustrate the use of BCM in the context of a leading
health care brand, the Mayo Clinic. The topic allowed several ways to test the BCM technique, because
Mayo Clinic is a complex brand with a large number of associations and it was also possible to distinct
between different user segments (patients and non-patients). Participants chose from preselected brand
associations cards the ones that were most important for them and illustrated a map using also lines to
show the significance of the connections. Most of the participants completed the map in 15-25 minutes. In
the aggregation stage researchers identified the core associations using the frequency and number of
interconnections and then added links to core and non-core associations (Roedder-John et al. 2016).

The study 1 showed that BCM method is able capture the network of brand associations from individual
maps to consensus maps. The results of the study provided also evidence through traditional tests on its
reliability and validity. BCM brings its own contribution to brand measurement by delivering a consensus
brand map, which identifies the core associations that define brands image and show how the associations
are interlinked. Especially these core associations should be on the focus of management when building,
leveraging and protecting brands, and possible changes to brand should be monitored with the respect of
core associations (Roedder-John et al. 2008).


Aaker, D. (1996). Building strong brands. New York: The Free Press.

Roedder-John, D., Loken B., Kim, K. & Basu Monga, A. (2008). Brand concept maps: A methodology for
identifying brand association networks. Journal of marketing research, 13, 549 563.