Brands and Branding Essay Questions


Answer the questions attached

Select a specific brand that is familiar to you. Answer the following questions in regards to the brand you select. Note, you will need to read and refer to the “Brands and Branding” reading for this question

Building Customer-Based Brand Equity
BUILDING A STRONG BRAND with great equity provides a host of possible benefits to a
firm, such as greater customer loyalty and less vulnerability to competitive marketing actions or
marketing crises; larger margins; more favorable customer response to price increases and
decreases; greater trade or intermediary cooperation and support; increased marketing
communication effectiveness; and licensing and brand extension opportunities.
Companies are interested in building strong brands with great equity, but getting there isn t
always easy. To build brand equity, companies must start with the basics. What makes a brand
strong? How do you build a strong brand? To help answer these questions, I developed a model
of brand building called the customer-based brand equity (CBBE) model, which maps out what
brand equity is and how it should best be built, measured, and managed.
The CBBE model was designed to be comprehensive, cohesive, well-grounded, up to date, and
actionable. The premise of this model is that the power of a brand lies in what customers have
learned, felt, seen, and heard about the brand over time. The power of a brand is in what resides
in the minds of customers. Marketers’ continuing challenge in building a strong brand is to
ensure customers have the right types of experiences with products and services and their
accompanying marketing programs so the desired thoughts, feelings, images, perceptions, and
attitudes become linked to the brand.
The Four Steps
Building a strong brand, according to the CBBE model, can be thought of as a series of steps,
where each step is contingent on successfully achieving the previous step. The first step is to
ensure identification of the brand with customers and an association of the brand in customers’
minds with a specific product class or customer need. The second step is to firmly establish the
brand meaning in the minds of customers (i.e., by strategically linking a host of tangible and
intangible brand associations). The third step is to elicit the proper customer responses to this
brand identity and brand meaning. The final step is to convert brand response to create an
intense, active loyalty relationship between customers and the brand.
The following four steps represent fundamental questions that customers invariably ask about
brands—either implicitly or explicitly: (1) Who are you? {brand identity) (2) What are you?
{brand meaning) (3) What do 1 think or feel about you? {hniiid responsL’s) (4) Wliat kind of
association and how much of a connection would I likf to have with you? (brand relationships)
The steps in this “branding ladder” follow an order, from identity to meaning to responses to
relationships. Meaning cannot be established without first creating identity; responses cannot
occur unless companies develop the right brand meaning; and a relationship cannot be forged
without getting the proper responses from customers.
A comprehensive new approach, the customer-based brand equity (CBBE) model, lays out a
series of steps for building a strong brand: (1) establish the proper brand identity, (2) create the
appropriate brand meaning, (3) elicit the right brand responses, and (4) forge appropriate brand
relationships with customers. The CBBE model also depends on six brand-building blocks—
salience, performance, imagery, judgments, feelings, and resonance—that help provide the
foundation for successful brand development.
Six Brand-Building Blocks
Imagine the foundation of a strong brand as a logically constructed set of six “brand-building
blocks” with customers: saiience, performance, imagery, judgments, feelings, and resonance.
Then assemble these building blocks in a brand pyramid. To create significant brand equity, it’s
crucial to put the right brandbuilding blocks in place and then reach the pinnacle of the pyramid.
This brand-building process is illustrated in Exhibits 1 and 2.
Brand Identity
Achieving the right brand identity requires creating brand salience with customers. Brand
salience relates to aspects of brand awareness; How often and easily is the brand evoked under
various situations or circumstances? To what extent is the brand easily recalled or recognized?
What types of cues or reminders are necessary? How pervasive is this brand awareness? Brand
awareness refers to the customers’ ability to recall and recognize the brand. Building brand
awareness means ensuring that customers understand the product or service category where the
brand competes and creating clear links to products or services sold under the brand name. At a
broader level, it means making sure customers know which of their “needs” the brand is designed
to satisfy. What basic functions does the brand provide to customers?
Criteria for brand identity.
Two key dimensions distinguish brand awareness—depth and breadth. Depth of brand awareness
refers to how easily customers can recall or recognize the brand. Breadth refers to the range of
purchase and consumption situations where the brand comes to mind. A highly salient brand is
one with both depth and breadth of brand awareness (i.e., customers make sufficient purchases
and always think of the brand across a variety of settings).
The brand must not only be “top of mind” and have sufficient “mind share,” but it must also do
so at tlie right time and place. For many brands, the key question is not whether or not customers
can recall the brand, but rather where and when do they think of the brand, and how easily and
often do they think of it? In particular, many brands and products are ignored or forgotten at
possible usage situations. Increasing the salience of the brand in those settings can help drive
consumption and increase sales volume.
Brand Meaning
To give meaning to a brand, it’s important to create a brand image and establish what the brand is
characterized by and should stand for in customers’ minds. Although a myriad of different types
of brand associations are possible, brand meaning broadly can be distinguished in terms of more
functional, performance-related considerations vs. more abstract, imageryrelated considerations.
These brand associations can be formed directly from a customer’s own experiences and contact
with the brand through advertising or some other source of infonnation (e.g., word of mouth).
Performance. The product is the heart of brand equity. It is the primary influence of what
consumers experience, what they hear about, and what the firm tells customers about the brand.
Designing and delivering a product that fully satisfies consumer needs and wants is a prerequisite
for successful marketing, regardless of whether the product is a tangible good, service, or
organization. To create brand loyalty and resonance, consumers’ experiences with the product
must meet, if not surpass, their expectations,
Brand performance is the way the product or service attempts to meet customers’ more
functional needs. It refers to the intrinsic properties of the brand, including inherent product or
service characteristics. How well does the brand rate on objective assessments of quality? To
what extent does the brand satisfy utilitarian, aesthetic, and economic customer needs and wants
in the product or service category?
The performance attributes and benefits making up functionality will vary by category, However,
five important types of attributes and benefits often underlie brand performance:
1. Primary characteristics and supplementary features. Customers have beliefs about the levels at
wliich the primary characteristics of the product operate (e.g., low, medium, high, or very high).
They also may have beliefs as to special, perhaps even patented, features or secondary elements
of a product that complement these primary characteristics.
2. Product reliability, durability, and serviceability. Reliabihty refers to the consistency of
performance over time and from purchase to purchase. Durability is the expected economic life
of the product. Serviceability refers to the ease of servicing the product if it needs repair. Thus,
perceptions of product perfonnance are affected by factors such as the speed, accuracy, and care
of product delivery and installation; the promptness, courtesy, and helpfulness of customer
service and training; and the quality of repair service and the time involved.
3. Service effectiveness, efficiency, and empathy. Customers have performance-related
associations related to service interactions they have with brands. Service effectiveness refers to
how completely the brand satisfies customers’ service requirements. Service efficiency refers to
how these services are delivered in terms of speed and responsiveness. 16 I MM July/August 200
1 Service empathy occurs when service providers are seen as trusting, caring, and with
customer’s interests in mind.
4, Stylo and design. Consumers may have associations with the product that go beyond its
functional aspects to more aesthetic considerations such as its size, shape, materials, and color
involved. Performance also may depend on sensory aspects such as how a product looks, feels,
and even how it sounds or smells.
5. Price. The pricing policy for the brand can create associations in consumers’ minds with the
relevant price tier or level for the brand in the category {e.g., low, medium, or high priced) as
well as with its corresponding price volatility or variance (e.g., frequently or infrequently
Brand performance transcends just the “ingredients” that make up the product or service to
encompass aspects of the brand that augment these ingredients. Any of these different
performance dimensions can help differentiate the brand. Often the strongest brand positioning
involves performance advantages, and only rarely can a brand overcome severe deficiencies
Imagery. Brand meaning also involves brand imagery, which deals with the extrinsic properties
of the product or service, including the ways the brand attempts to meet customers’ more abstract
psychological or social needs. Four categories of brand imagery stand out:
1. User profiles. Imagery may cause customers to have a profile or nienUil image of users or
idealized users. Associations of a typical or idealized brand user may be based on descriptive
demographic factors (e.g., gender, age, race, or income) or more abstract psychographic factors
(e.g., attitudes toward life, careers, possessions, social issues, or political institutions). In a B2B
setting, user imagery might relate to the size or type of organization. If customers believe many
people use a brand, they may then view the brand as “popular” or a “market leader.”
2. Purchase and usage situations. Associations of a typical purchase .situation may be based on
type of channel (e.g., department store, specialty store, or Internet), specific store (e.g., Macy’s,
Foot Locker,, ease of purchase, or associated rewards. Associations of a typical
usage situation may depend on when or where the brand is used (e.g., time of day, inside, outside
the home) and type of activity where the brand is used (e.g., formal, informal).
3. Personality and values. Brand personality is often related to moa^ descriptive usage imagery,
but involves more contextual information. Jennifer Aaker identifies five dimensions of brand
personality: (1) sincerity (e.g., down to earth, honest, wholesome, cheerful); (2) excitement (e.g.,
daring, spirited, imaginative, up-to-date); (3) competence (e.g., reliable, intelligent, successful);
(4) sophistication (e.g., upper class, charming); and (5) ruggedness {e.g., outdoorsy, tough). (See
Additional Reading, page 19.)
4. History, heritage, and experiences. Finally, brands may take on associations with their past
and certain noteworthy events in the brand history. These types of associations may involve
distinctly personal experiences or be related to past behaviors and experiences of others.
Associations with history, heritage, and experiences involve more specific, concrete examples
that transcend the generalizations of usage imagery.
Criteria for brand meaning.
Regardless of tbe type involved, the brand associations making up tbe brand image and meaning
can be profiled according to three key dimensions: (1) strength (bow strongly the brand is
identified witb a brand association), (2) favorabiUty (how important or valuable the brand
association is to customers), and (3) uniqueness (how distinctively the brand is identified with
the brand association).
Successful results on tbese dimensions produce tbe most positive brand responses, the
underpinning of intense and active brand loyalty. To create brand equity, the brand must have
Strong, favorable, and unique brand associations—in that order. It doesn’t matter bow unique a
brand association is if customers don’t evaluate the association favorably, and it doesn’t matter
how desirable a brand association is unless customers actually recall it and link it to the brand. At
the same time, not all associations are favorable, and not all favorable associations are unique.
Strong brands typically have firmly established strong, favorable, and unique brand associations
with consumers, which are essential for building customer-based brand equity. Examples include
Volvo, Michelin (safety), Intel (performance, compatibility), Marlboro (westem imagery). Coke
(Americana, refreshment), Disney (fun, magical, family entertainment), Nike (innovative
products, peak athletic performance), and BMW (styling, driving performance).
Brand Responses
To implement the CBBE model, companies must pay attention to how customers respond to the
brand, its marketing activity, and sources of information (i.e., what customers think or feel about
the brand). These brand responses can be distinguished according to brand judgments and brand
feelings (depending on whether tbey stem from the bead or heart).
Judgments. Brand judgments focus on customers’ personal opinions about the brand based on
how they put together different performance and imagery associations. Customers may make all
types of judgments with respect to a brand, but four types of summary judgments are particularly
crucial to creating a strong brand (in ascending order of importance).
1. Quality. Customers may hold a host of attitudes toward brands, but the most important relate
to the brand’s perceived quality. Other quality-related attitudes pertain to perceptions of value
and satisfaction.
2. Credibility. Brand credibility refers to the extent the brand as a whole is seen as credible in
terms of three dimensions: expertise (e.g., competent, innovative, a market leader),
trustworthiness (e.g., dependable, keeping customer interests in mind), and likeability (e.g., fun,
interesting, worth spending time with).
3. Consideration. Favorable brand attitudes and credibility are important, but customers must
also seriously consider purchasing or using the brand. Consideration depends in part on how
personally relevant customers find the brand (i.e., whether customers view the brand as
appropriate and meaningful to them).
4. Superiority. Finally, brand judgments depend on whether customers view the brand as unique
and better than other brands. Do customers believe the brand offers advantages that other brands
cannot? Superiority is critical for building intense and active relationships with customers and
will depend on the number and nature of unique brand associations that make up the brand
Feelings. Customers’ emotional reactions to the brand relate to the social currency the brand
evokes. What feelings does the marketing program for the brand evoke? How does the brand
affect customers’ feelings about themselves and their relationship with others? These feelings can
be mild, intense, positive, or negative in nature. Kahle and colleagues point out six important
types of feelings related to brand building. The first three are more experiential and immediate,
increasing in level of intensity; the latter three are more private and enduring, increasing in level
of gravity.
1. Warmth. The brand makes consumers feel peaceful, sentimental, warmhearted, or
affectionate. I
2. Fun. The brand makes consumers feel upbeat, amused, lighthearted, joyous, playful, or
3. Excitement. Consumers feel energized about the brand and believe they are experiencing
something special. Brands that evoke excitement may result in consumers feeling a sense of
elation or a sensation that the brand is cool or sexy.
4. Security. The brand produces a feeling of safety, comfort, and self-assurance without worry or
concerns about the brand. •
5. Social approval. Consumers have positive feelings about the reactions of others (i.e., when
consumers feel others look favorably on their appearance or behavior) to the brand. Approval
may occur when others directly acknowledge the consumer using the brand or when the product
itself is attributed to consumers.
6. Self-respect. This occurs when the brand makes consumers feel better about themselves,
creating a sense of pride, accomplishment, or fulfillment.
Criteria for brand responses.
Although all types of customer responses are possible when driven from both the head and heart,
ultimately what matters is how positive they are. Additionally, they must be accessible and come
to mind when consumers think of the brand. Brand judgments and feelings can only favorably
influence consumer behavior if consumers internalize or think of positive responses in any of
their encounters with the brand.
Brand Relationships
The final step focuses on the relationship and level of personal identification the customer has
with the brand. Brand resonance refers to the nature of the relationship customers have 18 I M M
July/Augus t 200 1 with the brand and whether they feel in synch with the brand. It is
characterized by the depth of the psychological bond customers have with the brand as well as
how much activity this loyalty engenders. Brand resonance can be broken down into four
1. Behavioral loyalty. Repeat purchases and the amount or share of category volume attributed to
the brand are the main attributes of behavioral loyalty. How often do customers purchase a brand
and how much do they purchase? For bottom-line profit results, the brand must generate
sufficient purchase frequencies and volumes.
2. Attitudinal attachment. Some customers may buy out of necessity if the brand is the only
product readily accessible or is the only one they can afford to buy. To create resonance, the
brand must be perceived as something special in a broader context. For example, customers with
a great deal of attitudinal attachment to a brand may state they “love” it and describe it as one of
their favorite possessions or view it as a “little pleasure” they look forward to.
3. Sense of community. Identification with a brand community may help customers feel a
kinship with other people associated with the brand. These connections may involve fellow
brand users or customers or instead may be employees or representatives of the company.
4. Active engagement. Perhaps the strongest affirmation of brand loyalty is when customers are
willing to invest time, energy, money, or other resources into the brand beyond those expended
during purchase or consumption. For exam- • pie, customers may choose to join a club centered
on a brand or receive updates and exchange correspondence with other brand users or formal or
informal representatives of the brand. They may visit brand-related Web sites or participate in
chat rooms. In this case, customers themselves become brand evangelists and help to
communicate about the brand and strengthen the brand ties of others. Strong attitudinal
attachment and/or sense of community are typically necessary for active engagement with the
brand to occur.
Criteria for brand relationships.
Brand relationships involve two dimensions—intensity and activity. Intensity is the strength of
the attitudinal attachment and sense of commuruty. Activity refers to how frequently the
consumer buys and uses the brand, as well as engages in other activities not related to purchase
and consumption on a day-to-day basis. Examples of brands with high resonance include HarleyDavidson, Apple, and eBay.
Brand-Building Implications With the CBBE model, the strongest brands excel in all six of the
brand-building blocks. The most valuable building block, brand resonance, occurs when all the
other brand-building blocks are completely in synch with customers’ needs, wants, and desires.
(See Exhibit 3.) Simply put, brand resonance reflects a completely harmonious relationship
between customers and
Answer the following questions:
Describing the “brand culture” of a specific brand. Select a specific brand that is familiar to you. Answer the
following questions in regards to the brand you select. Note, you will need to read and refer to the “Brands and
Branding” reading for this question. (
a. What is the brand’s culture? (as part of your answer, say what a brand culture is, then describe this
brand’s “brand culture”).
b. What is one specific example of how each of the 4 different authors of a brand (i.e., the firm, popular
culture, influencers, and customers) have influenced this brand’s “brand culture”?
c. In regards to this brand, what is a specific example of one of the component of brand value (i.e.,
reputation value, relationship value, experiential value, and symbolic value)? (Note, as part of your
answer, describe the component of value you select and give the example of this value using the brand
you have selected.)
2. Explaining Customer-Based Brand Equity – Select a specific brand that is familiar to you, but different from
the one you selected in the first question for this assignment. Answer the following questions in regards to the
brand you select. (Note, you will need to read and refer to the “Building Customer-Based Brand Equity”
reading for this question. Attached
a. What is a specific brand that has established itself as highly salient in your mind in a particular usage
situation. (as part of your answer, identify both the brand and the usage situation. Note, this is a relatively
short answer].
b. Referring to the brand you identified, what is one way that it’s performance and one way that its imagery
has contributed to brand’s the meaning in your mind.
c. Referring to the brand you identified, what is one way you have responded to the brand. In your answer,
describe one way you responded by making a specific judgement and one way you responded by having
specific feelings.
d. Referring to the brand you identified, to what extent has the brand resonated with you? In your answer,
select one of the ways a brand can resonate (i.e., behavioral loyalty, attitudinal attachment, sense of
community, and active engagement) and describe the how the brand has resonated with you in that way.
3. Explaining Brand Architecture Decisions – Think of an organization that markets more than one products or
services and respond to the following questions/statements in regards to that organization. (Note, you will need to
read and refer to the “The Brand Relationship Spectrum” reading for this question.
e. List at the products/services it markets. If there are more than 5, list only 5.
f. In reference to the products/services you listed, describe the organization’s brand architecture for them.
g. Explain why you think this brand architecture is (or is not) effective for these products.

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