Sources Of Brand Equity Essays On Friendship


Purpose – The objective of this exploration paper is to develop an instrument for the measurement of Company equity of teams participating in the Indian Premier Little league.

Methodology – An on the web questionnaire was circulated amidst the followers of Indian Premier Group. Exploratory Factor Evaluation (EFA) and Confirmatory Issue Analysis (CFA) were later on applied to the sample.

Findings –

Research Limitations/Implications – The main limitation of this research is the people size. The CFA and EFA will be performed on a sample size of around 120. However, for all functional purposes, a sample size of around 160 for every single is desirable.

Practical Implications – The scale gives the team supervision and the owners a look into the various elements affecting the Brand Equity. Some of these factors, if required, could be tweaked by the managers to improve the Brand Equity for his or her respective teams. Brand Equity could also potentially be from the economic success of the teams as was the circumstance in the German Bundesliga, talked about in a paper by Hans H. Bauer and Nicolas E. Sauer.

Originality/benefit – The Indian Premier League is in its 3rd edition and the fact that no other device has been applied but to measure the brand Collateral of the teams, makes this scale a novice concept.

Keywords – Brand, Brand Collateral, Cricket, Indian Premier League

Paper Type – Research Paper


The concept of Sports Advertising was conceived at the introduction of a Major League Baseball game to get televised on August 26, 1939 [1] . Since, Sports Marketing has scaled new heights with every passing sporting extravaganza. It began Babe Ruth who started to be first athlete to receive six figure contract. Nonetheless it was just a beginning of deriving personal success on rear of athletic accomplishment. In team athletics, the athletic victory of a team translated into rising fiscal fortunes. Sports groups were soon becoming makes that transcended the sports field.

Cricket though not precisely a worldwide sport and clearly not as popular as soccer worldwide, has its fan following. In India, cricket is the most well-known sport and Cricket stars are cared for as demi-gods. From commercial viewpoint, India is the most crucial country in universe cricket, and BCCI (Table of control for Cricket in India) decided to cash-in and initiated the competition IPL (Indian premier league). The idea was to provide the newly found out T-20 (20 overs a side) formatting in more entertaining way and at the same time provide you with youngsters to showcase their talent on big stage.

The owners who bought diverse IPL franchises happen to be big names in business, who have spent thousands of millions in buying clubs. Mumbai Indians was the costliest, and was sold at approx. 4410 million. When such an enormous sum can be invested by businessmen, it is necessary to allow them to know the brand collateral of their franchise and factors affecting the same.

This study aims to develop a scale that may measure the brand equity of IPL clubs on comparative basis. It is a qualitative research aimed at rendering IPL managers with an instrument which will help them identify the factors affecting brand collateral of their teams, elements on which their workforce is performing well, elements which want improvement. The managers may then focus on particular factors and devise strategies, approach promotion campaigns or may search for a marquee signing if this is the case.

As mentioned earlier, the aim of this research is not to measure economic success quantitatively for the clubs, but to identify factors which affect the manufacturer equity the most. This is a novel procedure of looking at company equity of IPL clubs and can have crucial implications for administration of IPL groups and can even be replicated for T20 tournaments taking place far away like Australia, South Africa, England etc.

Research Background

Efforts have been made to gauge the brand equity of activities team across the world. Factors from study papers which were relevant have been identified and adopted in producing the instrument. Eight factors were selected and items were developed to establish these factors. The following are the factors considered:


We are trying to measure brand consciousness using ‘familiarity’ factor. Right here we faced similar issue as confronted by H. Bauer, N. Sauer and P. Schmitt within their study "Customer-based brand equity in the team sport sector" in German football little league (Bauer 2004). In terms of familiarity, brands are often recognizable by almost all of the respondents in fact it is difficult to use brand awareness as deciding factor in measuring brand equity. Equivalent problem is confronted by IPL clubs as nearly every respondent is well aware of the brands. This problem is not exceptional and it takes place when the respondents will be highly knowledgeable and hence awareness factor will not provide correct measure. However, it is acceptable to utilize this procedure when elements are measured immediately. (Churchill, 1979; Jacoby, 1978). For IPL clubs, we are measuring familiarity of respondents with IPL manufacturer on basis of items such as for example news updates, brand ambassador, team logo design etc. We’ve also tried to gauge the effect of promotional actions undertaken by IPL teams in building the manufacturer consciousness and whether it affects the consciousness level in viewers.

Entire Team

Gladden and Funk within their brand image model had primarily concentrated on 3 aspects. Product related features, non-product related features and rewards (Gladden and Funk, 2001). The same was thought to be by Bauer, Sauer and Schmitt in their study on German football league (Bauer 2004). We’ve found these 3 aspects suitable and applicable to your study of IPL clubs, but we have also added one more aspect, that’s organizational attributes.

Product related features are those that are directly related to athlete (Bauer, Sauer). In an average sports team these characteristics include players, head instructor, management etc. We are thinking about these features under one factor my spouse and i.e. ‘entire team’.

Team and its own performance is a product related attribute and therefore we make an effort to measure this point by analyzing the importance of crew composition, players and coach to the respondents. We happen to be also trying to measure the value of superstar players (icon players) and how it influences brand equity. Lastly, we try to analyze impact of operations/owners as the majority of the teams are possessed by businessmen, film market personalities etc.

Regional Importance

Along with Merchandise related attributes, the studies by Gladden and Funk along with by Bauer and Sauer centered on non-merchandise related attributes(Bauer 2004). Non product related characteristics contains factors apart from those related to athletes. The non merchandise related attributes which we have concentrated upon include regional importance and stadium ambiance. The 8 IPL teams each represent major towns in India, each belonging to different region. This element tries to measure the value of regionalism of respondents in helping a particular crew. It tries to evaluate whether the support to a particular team will depend on regional commonalities. This aspect is crucial because IPL clubs have previously created advertisings adding a regional flavour to it. Therefore this study in a way would also give a indication of relevance of such advertisements in promoting the workforce. Gladden and Funk in their study had tested component ‘pride in place’ (Gladden and Funk 2001) while Bauer and Sauer got modified it to ‘regional importance’ (Bauer 2004) believing that region is very relevant element in supporting a club. Inside our study, we have preserved the regional importance aspect and studied is impact on the brand equity.

Stadium Atmosphere

Stadium atmosphere likewise falls under non item related attributes. The atmosphere in cricket stadium in India is definitely unique and intimidating for foreign players. Given that the focus possess shifted on regional clubs with each team having blend of local as well as foreign players, it is necessary to study the result of stadium ambiance while measuring brand equity. Bauer and Sauer acquired modified Gladden and Funk’s ‘product’ delivery'(Gladden and Funk 2001) element to ‘stadium ambiance’ claiming that stadium ambiance determines the entertaining value in German staff sport. In India, IPL has given different meaning to entertainment benefit to cricket with Indian followers witnessing cheerleaders for the very first time in athletics arena. Organizers also arrange for entertainment packages for admirers during breaks, making entertainment as their prime goal. Through this issue we also make an effort to measure if stadium atmosphere charges up the supporters and in addition whether it enhances experience of viewer.

Influence of Spouse and children and Friends

One of the features considered for the building of the scale for measurement of Manufacturer Equity of IPL groups is the influence of friends and family. The peer group performs a major position in the individual’s decision to support any staff as deemed by Gladden and

Funk (2001). This attribute was also identified by Bauer Hans and Nicola Sauer (2004) for the computation of Brand collateral in their analysis paper. The attribute assumes greater importance in the context of sports activities, specifically the Indian Premier League, in India since an individual is seemingly close to his family and friends. The attribute can be an adaptation of the attribute "peer group acceptance" as described in Gladden and Funk (2001). Nevertheless, switching it into "influence of family and friends" made more sense in the Indian context. The Team Company Association Scale (TBAS) makes up about the aforementioned factor when it comes to an attribute referred to as "Social interaction"

Organizational Attributes

Organizational attributes make a significant contribution in the company equity of products and services across the world. Many brands wouldn’t normally enjoy the same gain without the organizational associations as acknowledged in "Brand Equity Valuation: A global perspective" by Reza Motameni and Manuchehr Shehroki (1998). Aaker’s (1991) initial framework of brand equity recognizes the value of organizational efforts in developing the manufacturer equity for a merchandise/service. Kerr and Gladden (2008) also recognize specific company related antecedents as precursors to the buyer related brand equity. The Team Company Association Scale in the area of Sports Management produced by Ross et al. (2006) also considers Organizational attributes among the factors for computing Company Equity. Taking a cue from all the above sources, this paper also takes into account Organization related attributes("A staff loyal to its supporters" and "entertainment") for the measurement of Brand Collateral of the clubs of the Indian Premier League.

A team faithful to its fans

The earliest organizational attribute, a staff loyal to its admirers, considered in the creation of the scale for the measurement of Manufacturer Equity of IPL teams characterizes the team’s loyalty towards its admirers. The attribute is certainly adapted from the Workforce Brand Association Level (TBAS) developed by Ross et al (2006). A team devoted from its enthusiasts should ideally elicit an identical faithful response from the lovers. The manufacturer loyalty is an important contributor to the company equity as pointed out by Keller (1993). So higher the brand loyalty, higher should be the brand loyalty for these groups. Off past due in the Indian Premier League various teams have started out exhibiting loyalty towards their supporters in terms of better deals, entertainment packages and point out of the art features. All efforts to demonstrate loyalty are intended to elicit similar responses from the admirers. Therefore, the same provides been considered in advancement of the measurement scale.


The other organizational attribute considered may be the entertainment provided by the organizations owning each one of the teams. The Indian Premier Group, apart from being a system for competitive cricket, as well acts as a source of entertainment with regards to the cheerleaders, the huge scores, the boundaries and the close finishes the game provides. Entertaining teams are slated to take pleasure from additional loyalty from the enthusiasts that stick to them. Entertainment is considered among the attributes in the antecedents proposed by Gladden in the paper "An integrative framework linking brand associations and company loyalty in professional activities (2001)". The Team Manufacturer Association Scale (TBAS) also contains Entertainment as one of the characteristics in the Organizational attributes. The same has so been incorporated in the scale for measuring Brand Equity of Indian Premier Little league teams.

Fan Identification

A sense of belonging to the crew is a pivotal element in fans following various groups in various sports across the world. Hauer and Bauer consider this element in the measurement of Company Equity of teams in the German Bundesliga. Admirer identification, as an attribute, basically encompasses a sense of owned by the group. This attribute is largely drawn from Gladden and Funk (2002). The authors believe that the supporter identification would donate to the loyalty of the lovers towards the team, subsequently leading to an increased value of Brand Collateral (Keller, 1993).



Discussion and Implications

The level has been developed by adopting factors across research work over time. The factors consequently selected that can be applied to T20 being played around the world. Hence, it can be adopted to measure company equity of teams across the world.

The instrument is critical to group owners and possible buyers. Team owners purchase teams as a lucrative investment opportunity. They can decide on valuations of the workforce predicated on the brand equity the group possesses. Brand equity is a crucial parameter for such as investment since it reflects the potential of the franchise to create future dollars flows. As this potential can’t be quantified easily, qualitative analysis yields a useful decision making standards. Existing owners may use the instrument to choose on how to improve their teams brand collateral over time and thus improve the attractiveness of their investments.

DLF has paid around $50 million to sponsor the IPL over a period of five years. Hero Honda has got been selected as a co-employee sponsor for five years for a handsome sum of US$22.5 million. Beverage huge Pepsi secured the title as the tournament’s Official Beverage by signing a package worth USD 12.5 Million for a period of five years.

Like any different sport, sponsorship can be big organization in the IPL. Marketers could use the instrument developed to measure the attractiveness of sponsoring clubs taking part in the IPL. It would ease the process of deciding on the amount one is willing to pay vis-a-vis the great things about making that expenditure. Chennai Super Kings (CSK) provides sponsorship and merchandising deals with brands such as for example PepsiCo, Wrigleys, Cafe Espresso Day, Johnson & Johnson and Camlin. It earned near to Rs 20 crore through sponsorships last year and expects to notch up a much higher figure this time around.

Another income source for teams is revenue of merchandise. CSK likewise entered into a five-year merchandising contract with marketing company Oceanbed to sell a host of products, including T-t-shirts, key-chains, binoculars, hats, little bats, caps and across key retail outlets such as for example Landmark, Peter England, Reebok, MegaMart and Univercell (mobile retail major in south). Pricing is essential in marketing any merchandise and this is true for merchandise. Teams can use the instrument to assist it pricing its products.

Limitations and Conclusion

The instrument created for the measurement of Manufacturer equity of Indian Premier Group teams has certain constraints that need to be acknowledged. First of all, the sample size regarded for the Exploratory Element Analysis (EFA) and Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) were around 80 and 120. The desired size for every single of the tests should be higher than 150. However, due to the paucity of respondents, the requisite quantity could not be reached for the purpose of this research. Further more researches must therefore consider the requisite sample sizes and extend the consumption of the scale for further study.

Secondly, certain factors that are believed are Indian Premier Little league centric. Therefore, the scale cannot straight be extended for use in leagues of different sports such as for example football, hockey etc. On the other hand, the scale could be extended for employ in other sports activities by tweaking with particular parameters and introducing attributes relevant for the sport the scale is intended to be used for.

Thirdly, the level measures the brand equity of a group on a relative scale. The brand equity in this case is measured on a Likert Level. The staff that scores the higher sum on all of the parameters combined is normally assumed to have a higher brand equity compared to the team that features of a lesser sum. However, these brand equity figures are just comparative in nature. As a way to compute the actual values for brand collateral several other parameters and computations must be performed which lie outside the purview of the research.

Fourth, the scale considers the fact that the Indian Premier little league can be in its years of progress and inception. Therefore, it generally does not take into consideration factors such as for example nostalgia and team rivalry which take significant number of years. Subsequently, as the Indian Premier Little league would grow over time the same attributes might not be adequate for computing the company equity of the many participating teams. Sub-constructs such as for example nostalgia and inter crew rivalry will have to be considered as the Indian Premier League grows over the years to come.

Fifth, the scale only restricts itself to the computation of the brand equity of the many participating teams in the IPL. The level could be utilized for linking the manufacturer equity with various other parameters such as financial success, buyer loyalty etc.

Finally, the scale is developed just keeping the Indian Premier Little league in consideration. This may be extended to additional cricketing leagues(different versions) around the world with certain minor improvements to the characteristics.

Tags: Marketing

Table of Contents


1.0 Brand Equity
1.1 Brand Equity – Definition
1.2 Aaker Model on Brand Equity
1.3 Brand Loyalty
1.4 Brand Awareness
1.5 Brand Perceived Quality
1.6 Sensory Stimuli and Perceived Quality
1.7 Brand Association / Brand Image
1.8 Other property brand assets

2.0 Viral Marketing
2.1 Viral Marketing – Definition
2.2 Types of Viral Marketing
2.2.1 Active Viral Marketing
2.2.2 Frictionless viral marketing
2.3 The strategy of Viral Marketing
2.3.1 Low integration strategy
2.3.2 High integration strategy
2.3.3 Key components of Viral Strategy
2.4 Viral marketing communication
2.4.1 Viral marketing goals
2.4.2 Opinion makers
2.4.3 E-fluentials
2.5 Communication Strategy
2.6 Message transformation into a virus
2.7 Advantages and Disadvantages of Viral Marketing
2.8 Viral marketing campaigns – evaluation of success

3.0 Marketing and Social Media – Implementation of a marketing strategy
3.1 Marketing in Social Media
3.2 Marketing Actions – Social Media
3.3 Facebook Marketing
3.4 Advertising in Facebook
3.4.1 Disadvantages of advertising in Facebook

4.0 Research – Case studies
4.1 Methodology
4.2 Validity and Reliability of Case Study findings
4.3 Case Studies – Beckham, Messi & Ronaldo

5.0 Discussion

6.0 Recommendations



This paper presents the role of viral marketing in building brand equity. There are many well known theories that are generally accepted regarding brand equity (Keller, 1993, Aaker, 1991 etc.). Although these theories are quite old, they are still used in academic research. According to Keller (1993:39): “Brand equity is defined in terms of the marketing effects uniquely attributable to the brand”. Aaker (1991) elaborated the brand equity dimensions, however, his theories do not explain what the direct causes of brand equity are.

The present study is based on the existing theories on brand equity and viral marketing and provides new insights developed for the football players. There are limited research and theories on this case. The focus of the study will be on brand equity which is developed when the consumer knows the brand (Keller, 1993). The other dimensions of brand equity such as brand loyalty and perceived quality are created when the consumers know the brand. The present thesis, in particular, does not focus on the effects of brand equity but it is mostly concerned with brand awareness. This applies in case of football players and consequently, it results in a deeper comprehension on how important brand awareness is for the development of brand equity.

The present thesis focuses on a relatively new topic which is word-of-mouth through the Internet, in other words, viral marketing. Although, in recent years, there are many studies on viral marketing, however, there is little known on how effective viral marketing is and the extent on which it influences the actual behavior of the consumer (De Bruyn & Lilien, 2008). This thesis will provide a better understanding on the extent of viral marketing effectiveness on brand awareness and equity which will help in explaining if viral marketing is a useful tool to use to develop brand awareness which in its turn will result in brand equity.

All relevant marketing theories regarding viral marketing and brand equity are used as a theoretical reference when the football players branding practices are being assessed and explained.

Developing a real brand is important for a football player to continue his business career when his athletic career ends. Therefore, football players should comprehend brand management practices. The fans and the consumers in general should know the football player and therefore, brand awareness is of outmost importance.

Football players and football teams continuously try to be promoted via social media because it is a free, easy and inexpensive way to reach a large audience within a very short period of time. However, there is little known on the effects of viral marketing which the present thesis studies and more specifically it examines viral marketing effects on brand awareness, aiming at providing football players with a useful marketing tool that will help them develop their brand equity.

Key words: brand equity, brand awareness, viral marketing, football players, social media


Advertising, nowadays, has a completely different role. According to Steinberg (2004) the future of advertisements lasting thirty seconds is doubtful.

Consumers feel bombarded by the plethora of advertising messages and the vast majority of them have a negative opinion for advertising (Wegert, 2004). Furthermore, consumers feel that advertising does not offer them something new. Modern consumers may select through many mass media channels. Television advertisements decline since they are too expensive and due to the current economic crisis, the consumers have limited their advertising budgets and they are very careful on where to invest their money (Thomaselli, 2004).

Furthermore, the consumer is increasingly under control and advertisers prefer to integrate their products into a real context. Newspaper pages are full of disputes caused by viral advertisements as well as the positive results brought to the companies by viral campaigns.

The present research focuses on studying brand equity and the viral marketing methods and theories and how these are applied in the case of three world famous football players such as Beckham, Messi and Ronaldo. The first part analyzes brand equity, followed by an analysis of viral marketing and social media marketing and Facebook marketing since the September posts of the above players were studied. Analysis of the research and discussion follow. The thesis ends with conclusion and recommendations for further research.

1.0 Brand Equity

1.1 Brand Equity – Definition

It is very important for modern businesses to build powerful brands. Therefore, one of the most important marketing concepts that was developed during 1980s was brand equity. The concept of brand equity has been defined by various notional approaches and for different purposes. Farquhar (1989:120) described brand equity as “the additional element that denatures a brand into a product”, whereas Aaker (1991) defines brand equity as “ the counterweight of assets and liabilities related to brand and with the symbol it adds (or substracts correspondingly) to the value provided by a product/service to a business or its customers”. Keller (1993), on the other hand, takes more into consideration consumer behaviors and interprets brand value as the result of consumers’ response to marketing.

The product is at the core of brand equity (Keller, 2008). A product must be designed, manufactured, distributed and sold in such as way so as to create a positive perception (for the brand it represents) with powerful and unique correlations with the brand. The most important correlations are the perceived quality and the perceived value since they often influence consumers’ decisions.

The official definition used by marketers for brand equity is the following: “brand equity is the amount of correlations and behaviour on the side of consumers of a brand, mass media and “parental” company, that enable the brand to gain more sales or have a big difference between the sales price and purchase price which it would if it did not have the name of the brand” (Kapferer, 2004). Brand equity is an important intangible asset having psychological and financial value for the company (Kotler & Keller, 2006:314).

Brand equity is the added value that branded products and services have. It is reflected to the emotional effect that these products cause to the consumer, his thoughts and responses that are related to the brand while it is a priority for the decision making process. The consumers are willing to spend the above mentioned money to purchase a famous brand rather than purchasing a relative unknown brand (Gilbert, 2003).

Ho & Dempsey (2010) suggests that brand equity is defined by the customer and not the company. Therefore, the authors define brand equity as “all the relations that a consumer has with the brand that enable the brand to create bigger sales turnover than in the case where the product was not branded”.

Brand equity which is based on the customer can be defined as the differential influence of the brand knowledge on consumer reaction towards the marketing policies of this brand (Keller, 2008). A brand has positive brand equity, when the consumers react favorably towards the way this brand is promoted. Dedication is one of the main dimensions of brand equity (Beatden et al., 1992). If consumers are indifferent towards the brand while they are price sensitive then the brand has little value i.e. it has little equity. However, if a consumer purchases the same brand each time and is not price sensitive then brand equity is increased.

A brand should have high brand equity because this shows how well known it is in the consumer market and how it is positioned in the mind of consumer. As a result, a brand with high brand equity will come first into the mind of the consumers when s/he is going to buy a product of a product category. For each product category, there is a brand which is considered as the most popular.

However, if the consumer buys a brand or not, this depends on the category it belongs (if s/he is price sensitive, if s/he is loyal to the brand etc.) and if the brand satisfies him/her.

Furthermore, high brand equity provides other competitive advantages which are the following (Kotler, 1999):

- Reduction of companies marketing expenses, due to higher brand awareneness and brand loyalty by the customers.
- Higher company influence in the negotiations with the representatives.
- Higher product prices due to higher perceived quality.
- Easiness in launching new products under the same brand name.
- Defensive company position towards product price competition.

1.2 Aaker Model on Brand Equity

As it was above mentioned, there have been numerous efforts to give a complete definition on brand equity. However, there are two models used for its measurement. These two models are the Aaker model (1991) and a model from the side of the consumer (CBBE) by Keller (1993).

According to the Aaker model (1991), brand equity is reflected on the thoughts, feelings and actions of consumers that are related to the brand. According to Aaker, brand equity consists of the following features which they are interrelated:

1. Brand Loyalty
2. Brand Awareness
3. Perceived Quality
4. Brand associations/brand image
5. Other property brand assets

Aaker (1991) argues that in order to achieve consumer loyalty to the product and high brand value all the above five dimensions exist or at least several of them. In fact, the five dimensions of brand equity are closely interrelated and cause a chain reaction, from awareness to impression creation that affect the perception of the brand and then brand loyalty if the brand has positive emotional associations. All the five dimensions of brand value intend to recall memories related to the brand, to link strong emotions with the brand and therefore, to create high brand equity (Elliot & Percy, 2007).

1.3 Brand Loyalty

The first dimension that will be studied is brand loyalty. Brand loyalty refers to the extent the consumer is linked with the brand. Jacoby (1971:39) has identified it as the "preplanned behavioral reaction that occurs in one or more alternative brands within the group of brands of a product category and is a function of psychological process." Brand loyalty cannot exist without previous purchase and experience in product use (Aaker, 1991).

Brand loyalty can be considered as the core of brand equity. In essence, brand loyalty is the consumer preference attitude towards a particular brand. More specifically, it reveals how likely a consumer changes a brand, especially when the brand was launches various changes. The more brand loyalty increases, the more consumer sensitivity to competitive activity is decreased (Aaker, 1991). Moreover, the high level of brand loyalty, reveals that the consumer automatically and through unconscious processes will select the product (Kapferer, 2004). In order to ensure loyalty to the brand, the company should respect and pay attention to those characteristics of the brand that attract the consumer (Kapferer, 2004).

If consumers are indifferent to the brand and purchase a product based on the value and usefulness, then the brand has little equity (Aaker, 1991). However, if they continue to buy this brand , even when the competing product has superior characteristics , then there is real brand equity . Therefore, it should be concluded that if loyalty is associated with the product and not the brand, then there cannot exist brand equity. Moreover, if brand loyalty is high enough, then consumers may repeatedly buy the specific brand. Even if brand loyalty does not lead to recurring purchases (repurchase intention), the brand will be one of the possible consumer choices, when s/he is wishing to make a purchase (Siomkos, 1994) .

According to Elliot and Percy (2007), there is a strong relationship between high brand equity and the high level of brand loyalty. Brand equity is consisted of the images of the brand the consumer has in mind and the feelings the brand creates in his heart (Czerniawski & Maloney, 1999) and it can therefore, be regarded as an invisible bond between consumer and brand.

Hallberg (1995:48) argues that brand loyalty affects the price of the product or service, arguing that "the more the consumers are loyal to the brand, the more they will pay." In addition, brand loyalty is very important for the product as a loyal customer to the brand would entail predictable sales and profits. Besides, it is generally recognized that it is less costly to retain customers than to attract new ones.

Aaker created a brand loyalty pyramid for better understanding brand loyalty. More specifically, he distinguished five levels of consumer behavior towards a brand:

1. Switchers/price sensitive, no brand loyalty. At the lowest level of the pyramid, there is no brand loyalty. The consumer will change the brand mainly due to product prices.
2. Satisfied/habitual buyer,no reason to change. The consumer is satisfied mainly due to habit. There is no reason for brand switching.
3. Satisfied buyer with switching costs. Satisfied customer but the reason that hinders him to switch the brand is not his loyalty towards it but the cost he will have with this change. This consumer is called “focused on cost”.
4. Likes the brand, considers it a friend. The consumer appreciates the brand and s/he is friendly towards it.
5. Committed buyer. The consumer is really loyal to the brand. The brand is very important for him/her either functionally or because it expresses himself/herself.

1.4 Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is associated with memories the consumer has and are related to the brand . People often buy a familiar brand because they feel comfortable with the familiar. A recognizable brand is often preferred over an unknown one . An unknown brand has little hope of selection (Aaker, 1991).

Keller (1993:93) defines awareness as «the likelihood and ease with which brand name will be recalled to memory. » According to Grover and Vriens (2006), brand awareness is associated with the mark it leaves to the memory of a consumer and its strength, which seems on the ability the consumers have to recognize the brand under different conditions. The definition given by Aaker (1991:120) for brand awareness is the following: " Brand awareness is the ability of a potential buyer to recognize (or to recall back to his/her memory) that this brand is part of a given product category" (Aaker, 1991).

Brand awareness includes brand recognition and its recall (Keller, 2008). Brand recognition means that consumers can properly distinguish the brand as if they had come into contact with it in the past (Keller, 2008). Recognition is basically related with the brand, which has been gained from some past exposure. Research in psychology has shown that the recognition itself can lead to more positive feelings about the brand by consumers. The recall of the brand relates to the restoration of the brand in memory, when information is given to the consumer like the product category where the brand belongs to.

1.5 Brand Perceived Quality

The second dimension that is studied in the present research is brand perceived quality. Perceived quality is determined as the consumers' perception of the overall quality or superiority of a product or service associated with related options (alternatives) and with regard to the intended purpose of (Keller, 2008). The perceived quality according to Aaker (1996), is an intangible feeling towards the brand . He also claims that it is inextricably linked with purchasing decisions and loyalty to the brand .
The perception formed by the consumer for a brand is not constant but varies continuously (Buchholz & Wördemann, 2000). The perceived quality of a brand is purely subjective, so it is different from consumer to consumer depending on the reporting framework that has in his/her mind. By understanding how consumers perceive the quality of the brand, their reactions to different types of sensory received stimuli, can be predicted (Fioroni & Titterton, 2009).

Nowadays, there are hundreds of brands in the market. The key point of differentiation is the position the perceived quality has in the consumer's mind. However, it should be noted that the perceived quality differs from the actual quality of a product, which may be due to various reasons. Initially, the consumers may be negatively influenced by a poor quality product in the past. In addition, consumers rarely have all the necessary information needed to form a reasonable and objective judgment about the quality, as a result the gap between perceived and actual quality of the product grows. At this point it is fair to mention the dimensions of product quality identified by previous studies (Keller, 2008):

1. performance,
2. features,
3. adaptable quality,
4. reliability,
5. toughness,
6. usableness,
7. style and packaging

1.6 Sensory Stimuli and Perceived Quality

Consumer's perception of the overall quality of a product is the sum of seizures on specific product features like reliability, durability, etc. (Rao and Monroe, 1988). The stimulus received by the consumer by a product is a sensory message ( e.g. flavor , color , texture or even a product 's price and brand) , which activates the sensory organs of the consumer (Parducci, 1984).

The perceived quality of a product is the objective evaluation judgement of every consumer that affects consumer decision making (Boudling & Kirmani, 1993; Richardson, Dick, & Jain, 1994). The perceived quality is defined as "the perceived ability of a product to offer satisfaction ' relevant ' to the existing alternative options » (Monroe & Krishnan, 1985: 212), as a global quality assessment (Holbrook and Corfman, 1985; Lutz, 1986) and as the total of evaluations of different quality dimensions of the product, such as reliability and durability (Yadav, 1994).

The primary response of the consumer after contact with a sensory stimulus is associated with feelings and memories that are stored in his/her memory. Sometimes, the response of the consumer when contacted by a sensory stimulus is more straightforward, without making himself some cognitive effort to identify the stimulus. In these cases, the consumer shall revoke previous experiences related to the stimulus.

According to Compeau, Grewal and Monroe (1998), the existence of sensory stimuli are necessary for the consumer to move on to the purchasing decision making process. If the consumer experiences positive responses to a sensory stimulus, then the more stimulation the consumer receives, the more positive will be his/her responses to them, and therefore, the higher will be the evaluation of the quality of the product. Alternatively, if s/he experiences negative responses to a sensory stimulus, then the more stimuli are received and the more negative are his/her responses to them and the product.

Therefore, the basic assumption that can be made is: the more sensory stimuli received by the consumer, the more the approach of the product will be positive if s/he experiences positive initial response and more negative if the initial response to the stimulus was negative. Moreover, the consumer whose initial response was positive tends to have positive thoughts and feelings about the product than the one whose initial response was negative.

1.7 Brand Association / Brand Image

According to Aaker (1996), brand image is how the brand is perceived by consumers. The image consists of both ideas as well as of associations that are related not only to the physical characteristics of the brand but also with other features and associations created by advertising, word of mouth communication and experiences gained from the use of the product (O'Shaughnessy, 1995). This image is an important factor of knowledge and awareness of the brand since it is recalled before the consumer makes a purchase or contacts the brand.

Brand correlation is everything «connected» with the remembrance of the brand (Aaker, 1991). The strength of the correlations of the brand with the product category is a key to brand awareness (Keller, 2008). According to Aaker (1991) , brand equity is largely based on correlations that consumers make with the brand. These correlations can include the physical characteristics of the product, prestigious people who provide credibility to the brand and act as representatives of the brand or even a particular symbol. These correlations also give value to the brand name.

What the brand symbolizes is a mixture of promises and benefits for the consumer. The associations for the brand must be registered in the memory of consumers in a positive and unique way to enable them to build a position for the brand which will lead to a strong brand value (Elliot and Percy, 2007). Both Aaker &Keller (as cited in Elliot and Percy, 2007) agree that the associations for a brand are whatever is in the memory of consumers and is related, directly or indirectly, with the brand.

1.8 Other property brand assets

This category includes patents, trademarks and relationships of the distribution channel relationships (Aaker, 1991). The logo of a brand can affect clearly the preference by creating impressions even for quality. The funds of a brand can be valuable if competitors try to slander consumer loyalty to the brand by acting as obstacles.


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