The use of marketing jargon hurts marketers, especially those on the agency side.
I’m all for marketers having a common language, but that’s much different! With more and more new words being coined in the digital space each day, it’s time we all have a clear way to define the foundation of brand management: “brand building” and “brand equity.” By doing so, we can ensure these phrases don’t become overused and misused.
There are three core parts to brand building.These components should be able to be answered with three simple questions:
- Who are you? This answer establishes a strong brand identity.
- What are you? This answer builds a strong brand meaning.
- What feelings do you elicit? This answer shapes brand responses.
If brand equity can be defined as the value of a brand above and beyond its measurable attributes, we can break down a product’s desirability as brand managers into the following buckets as we explain our strategy and tactics when we build brands:
- Brand awareness. As consumers we must know a brand exists in order to choose it. Studies have shown that 80 percent of variance in choice is due to set of brands someone considers when they go to purchase.Knowing a brand, of course makes learning about a brand easier. The more familiar we are with a brand (or anything), the closer we are to liking it.
- Brand associations. We quickly form associations about brands. These associations help us process and retreive information when it comes to the decision making process.
- Brand loyalty. The concept of brand loyalty might now be another phrase that’s being abused, but it comes down to trust in your brand and those that back the brand. Once developed, it has invaluable power: besides retaining customers, it can serve to attract new customers, can give you more time to respond to threats in the market, can reduce overall marketing costs, and gives you trade leverage.
- Perceived quality. We like to look for signs of greatness as consumers, and we like to confirm our expectations about a brand with other information as it relates to quality. Strong perceived quality can help brands launch brand extensions and have more power in their respective channels.
Instead of speaking in terms of the umbrella term that is brand equity, these components can help us form strategy, and have lively discussions about it, as we shift from managers to product line managers.
These basics of marketing are behind why we “build brands” to begin with. One, brand equity management brings value to the customer: reduced search costs, decision confidence, and satisfaction with their choice and outcome. And, two, it brings value to the company behind the brand: brand loyalty, higher margins, brand extensions, and trade leverage, for starters. Instead of getting away with somewhat ambiguous language, we can make strategies a bit more tangible for clients when we tactfully choose the wording we use to explain our goals and objectives.