Brand Equity Research

Brand is an intangible, conditional asset associated with a product or service. Brands are associations with a set of emotions that influence consumers’ responses and behaviors towards a product/service (Kapferer; Brand Identity). It is essential for a business to understand the commercial value, or equity, that is derived from consumers’ perceptions of the brand name of a particular product or service.

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There are several aspects of brand equity that convey the value it may or may not possess at any given moment, or over a longer period of time. Brand awareness and associations are two key aspects of brand equity. On this page, we’ll describe how they’re measured and how they can be used to inform effective brand positioning.

Brand Equity Research

Brand awareness and perception assessments

The purpose of brand awareness and perception assessments is to track changes in awareness and perceptions of an organization’s brand, often in relation to competing brands. These assessments take place over an extended period of time to inform business strategy and marketing tactics.

Brand awareness and perception assessments are designed to answer the following questions:

  • What is the awareness of our brand?
  • What are the perceptions of our brand?
  • Are we making progress toward key perception change goals?
  • How do we understand the value of our brand and what adds to or subtracts from it?

Researchers can assess brand awareness and perceptions using both aided and unaided questions. With an aided question, the respondent is provided with the name of your organization in the question and/or answer scale. For example, one aided question would be: “Are you aware of XYZ Computers’ offerings in the laptop computer market?" An example of an unaided question, where your organization is not named, might be: “Which single laptop computer company comes to your mind first?”

Brand awareness is the first step in creating brand equity. Awareness equates to online traffic and having prospective buyers show up at your stores. Building a brand is a process: What begins with brand awareness becomes brand associations and, if those associations are consistently positive, brand loyalty.

Brand attributes and associations

The purpose of measuring brand attributes and associations is to understand the functional, physical, financial, social, and psychological aspects of your brand, as well as to determine how customers think and feel about a particular product or a class of products. Brand attributes and associations provide the fabric of brand loyalty and equity research. Loyalty and equity are largely the result of the associations and attributes of a brand.

Attributes include basic product features, as well as more advanced attribute/personal image congruence measures. For example, statements like “This laptop is reliable and trouble-free,” and “This laptop is attractive and stylish,” are statements reflecting brand and/or product attributes.

Associations are found in how customers think and feel about a product and their personal viewpoints about the product class. Some examples of associations are security and safety; trust and confidence; dependability and freedom; and power and control.

What is the relationship between brand equity research and brand positioning? The term “positioning” reflects a marketing strategy. A brand is said to be positioned effectively when its appealing characteristics have been implanted in the minds of consumers, so much so that the brand is differentiated from other offerings in the market. Those appealing and differentiating characteristics are often identified and/or developed through brand equity research. Gauging your brand equity through research can and should be used to inform effective positioning.