Putting the sense into Branding and Equity

Making sense of Brand Management and Brand Equity

As some of you may well be aware, Vicky Vaughan, the Managing Director of The Brand Surgery is studying to become a Chartered Marketer. So far she has passed the first two units: Managing Marketing (introducing a performance measurement standard into a company for increased competitive advantage) and Marketing Planning Process (creating marketing plan for an SME).

Now she is working on Project Management in Marketing and the subject is Brand Management. Naturally Brand Equity is the subject in Vicky’s mind and as such she wanted to get back to the origins of the term ‘Brand Equity’.

In the dictionary ….


  • kind, grade, or make, as indicated by a stamp, trademark, or the like: the best brand of coffee.
  • a mark made by burning or otherwise, to indicate kind, grade, make, ownership, etc.
  • a mark formerly put upon criminals with a hot iron.
  • any mark of disgrace; stigma.
  • branding iron.


  • the quality of being impartial; fairness 2. an impartial or fair act, decision etc. 3. Law, a system of justice and fair conduct. It supplements common law, as by providing a remedy where none exists at law. 4. Law, and equitable right or claim 5. the interest or ordinary shareholders in a company. 6. the value of debtor’s property in excess of debts to which it liable. 7. Brit. The Actors trade union. 8. Another name for ordinary shares

Put the words together, and what do you get? Brand Equity – and what does that mean?

  • “A brand can be said to have brand equity (also called consumer or market equity) when consumers respond favourably to it. This depends upon a combination of recognition, associations and judgements made by the consumer. Brand equity can be regarded as an indicator of the success of a brand.” (Untangling Brand Equity, Value, Assets and Health by Chris Grannell)
  • Keller (2008) defines brand equity thus: “A brand has positive customer-based brand equity when consumers react more favourably to a product and the way it is marketed when the brand is identified than when it is not”.

It seems the branding bar is always being raised higher.

Even the marketing professors of this world have raised branding expectations over the years.

  • Aaker (1991) said that: “A brand is a distinguishing name and/or symbol intended to identify the goods or services of one seller from thos of competitors”.
  • Keller (1998) says: “that a brand is a set of mental associations that add value to those already created by the product itself”.
  • And in my book, Do a Madonna, published in 2010, my definition is: “Branding is your potential customers’ experience or memory of your service or product – and your business”.

The definition of brand and brand equity has evolved even further. They emphasise on consumer loyalty and repeat purchase. Kapferer (2012)  says: “A brand consuming no loyalty is not a strong brand  …. Thanks to Web 2.0. A brand cannot be reduced to a benefit; it has to create a community. No fans, no brand! Today’s dominant role of social media is visible here. To exist on the net, a brand must have friends, followers, adepts and proselytes.”

The ladder of customer loyalty

There are all kinds of customer loyalty – from forced to loyalty through inertia to engaged (Kapferer 2012), however, the main aim, is to encourage your customers to make repeat sales and move your potential customers up the ladder of loyalty. This will be discussed in the next blog article.

It’s official – SMEs’ (in general) perception towards importance of marketing = zero

Studying towards CIM Chartered Marketer status has been enlightening especially in one area. We thought we were just unlucky with attracting SMEs who don’t value the power of marketing. However, research has proved that due to lack of resources, the importance of marketing and branding is often overlooked by SME’s.

Here is an extract from “SME brand building and management: an exploratory study” by the European Journal of Marketing available from Emerald Research: “Owing to their resource limitations and the owner/ manager’s powerful influence on decision making, small firms’ behaviors follow different patterns than their larger counterparts when dealing with marketing issues (McCartan-Quinn and Carson, 2003; Carson, 1990). Moreover, in the present global competitive environment, especially in regards to consumer goods marketing, brands provide a differentiating statement and a competitive advantage if used appropriately. It is through the development of a specific brand identity that a company makes a brand unique and conveys its distinctiveness (Srivastava and Shocker, 1991), leading to a positive brand image in consumers’ minds, and ultimately to high brand equity. It has, however, been demonstrated that SMEs have so far put little emphasis on branding (Inskip, 2004; Gabrielsson, 2005; Ojasalo et al., 2008).

If you are an SME, or you know of an SME that doesn’t want to get left behind because of lack of understanding in the subject of branding and marketing, Vicky is offering a two-hour 1-2-1 marketing strategy consultation for £170 (ex VAT), or 2-2-2- (£245 ex VAT) in the comfort of your own offices. She will relate the importance of branding to your own business and give you a prescription to follow to get you on the right track.

Call Vicky on 01903 824229 or email to register your interest.