Evaluating how your brand stacks up is the first stage to building a strong, positive brand equity for your business. All businesses want to increase their visibility among their competitors. Often using media such as refreshed brochures, more visible signs or advertising in digital and print. What can be missed in this exercise is one of the most important assets of any company, the brand itself. In this competitive landscape, the way customers are making their purchasing decisions is often based on how they perceive the brand first and foremost.
So what is brand equity?
Brand equity is in essence the value of the brand as a separate asset. It reflects the way people feel, see or perceive with the brand. It has commercial value even though it might seem intangible. This equity imbues all the products or services the company sell them with the same brand essence.
To build equity the first thing you need is awareness. Building brand awareness means customers recognise it and know it in some way. The question to ask here is: How do our customers become aware of our brand and do they associate it with our product category? Once this is established the other parts of the equity puzzle can come together.
Association is important for setting your brand up to succeed. This association can be broad and encompass many areas of your business. It can be put as simply as a your customers interaction with your business. Interactions can happen with your sales people, on social media, on a phone call, on your website, the colour of your office, even the language you use in your emails. Great examples of this are Virgin use of conversational language to communicate to its customers.
How are your customers interacting with your brand? Are there areas of inconsistency that don’t have the same association?
Your customers make a judgment about the quality of your product or service through the lenses of the brand. This is where your brand promise is the vital. It’s the fulfilment of the brand promise that gives your brand its perceived quality. Your customers are able to assess whether your price for your product is valuable to them. In simple terms, a customer may ask: Should I pay more for product X because I will get better quality?
Finally, this last piece dove-tails neatly into the equity equation. Once you have put your brand’s through the above process, brand loyalty should follow organically. Your customers know your brand, they’ve had a positive association with it, they rate your quality highly so why wouldn’t they want to purchase from you again? A brand loyal customer is not always a repeat customer though. If they’ve had a positive experience they can become ambassadors of your brand. They can be your best form of marketing when they tell their friends to buy your product or service. If you want to evaluate this part of your brand, the easiest way is to provide your customers a feedback form once they have purchased. It can a simple questionnaire or rating system on their experience and satisfaction after the sales process has ended.
Why you should value your Brand Equity
Hopefully after reading this it is self evident why you would want to pay attention to your brand equity. Of course it can have real benefits like increasing your market share and also build the market valuation of your company that can be licensed to others. As mentioned in the Perceived Quality, you can charge a premium for your service or product because your customers know they are getting added value. Finally, the benefits of a strong Brand Equity can have the ‘halo’ effect. That means it’s easier to roll out other products and services under the halo of your main brand and thus benefit from the same equity.