(Customer Based) Brand Equity Model (Keller)

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Description of Keller's Brand Equity Model. Explanation.


Customer Based Brand Equity Model

The Customer Based Brand Equity Model (CBBE) by Keller. Description

The Customer Based Brand Equity Model (CBBE) by Kevin Lane Keller describes the process of building a strong brand.

The CBBE Model is based on the branding idea that in order to build a strong brand, you must shape how customers think and feel about your product or brand (see: Positioning). You have to build the right type of customer experiences around your brand, so that they have specific, positive thoughts, feelings, beliefs, opinions, and perceptions about it. When you have strong brand equity, your customers will buy more from you, they'll recommend you to other people, they'll be more loyal, and you're less likely to lose them to competitors.

The six dimensions of Keller's Brand Equity Model

The model describes six dimensions of "brand-added value", defined by Keller as "The differential effect that consumers brand knowledge has on their response to the marketing of that brand". These 6 dimensions are: brand salience, brand performance, brand imagery, consumer judgments, consumer feelings and brand resonance.

The four steps of Keller's Brand Equity Model

According to Keller, there are 4 steps that one should follow in a fixed order to build and manage a brand that customers will support. Together these 4 steps make up his pyramid-shaped CBBE model. They represent 4 fundamental questions that customers will ask (subconsciously) about the brand. The 4 steps to build strong customer brand equity are:

  1. BRAND IDENTITY - Who are you?
    In this first step, the goal is to create the identity of the brand and "Salience" (awareness) about it. You have to make sure that your brand stands out. And that customers recognize it and are aware of it. Is the brand easy to recognize, is it top-of-mind and is it mentioned spontaneous? A clear association must be established in the mind of the consumers between the brand and its product class (see: Segmentation). The brand perceptions should also be "correct" in the various stages of the buying process.

  2. BRAND MEANING - What are you?
    In step 2 you identify and communicate what your brand means, and what it stands for. There are 2 important building blocks in this step: "performance" and "imagery":
    • "Performance" reflects how well your product actually meets your customers' needs (functionality). Such performance consists of 5 subcategories:
      • Primary characteristics and features
      • Product reliability, durability, and serviceability
      • Service effectiveness, efficiency, and empathy
      • Style and design
      • Price
    • "Imagery" means how well your brand meets your customers' needs on a social and psychological level (values and meaning). An increase in brand imagery can be achieved directly (experiences with a brand) or indirectly (advertising, word of mouth).

    Ultimately, the two dimensions serve to achieve certain brand associations that are both strong, positive and unique (in this order). The scores on these dimensions can be seen as an important indicator for any future brand loyalty.

  3. BRAND RESPONSE - What (do I think or feel) about you?
    There are 2 main ways in which customers may respond to a brand: by making "judgments" and by expressing their "feelings":
    • "Judgments": Customers constantly make judgments about your brand. Judgments fall into 4 subcategories:
      • Quality: Customers assess a product or brand based on its actual and perceived quality.
      • Credibility: Customers assess credibility in three dimensions:
        • Expertise, including innovation
        • Trustworthiness
        • Likability
      • Consideration: Customers assess how important your product is for addressing their unique needs.
      • Superiority: Customers assess how good your brand is compared to brands from your competitors.
    • "Feelings": Customers also express how your brand makes them feel. This may be directly about the product/brand, but could also include emotional responses how the brand makes them feel about themselves. In the CBBE model, there are actually 6 positive brand feelings:
      • Warmth
      • Fun
      • Excitement
      • Security
      • Social approval
      • Self-respect

  4. BRAND RESONANCE - What about you and me?
    In this phase the question is answered whether the consumer wants to enter into a (sustainable) relationship with the brand. If he / she is willing to do this, there is real brand loyalty. The consumer then identifies to a large extent with (the values of) the brand and is willing to invest in the relationship. This will manifest itself in repeat purchases, a reduced susceptibility to information from competitors and willingness to pay a slightly higher price.
    "Resonance" is at the top of the brand equity pyramid. Because it is the hardest, but also the most rewarding brand equity level to accomplish. Resonance exists when the consumer has a high level of awareness and familiarity with the brand and holds some strong, favourable, and unique brand associations in memory. Resonance consists of 4 subcategories:
    • Behavioral loyalty: This includes regular, repeat purchases.
    • Attitudinal attachment: Your customers love your brand or your product, and they see it as a special purchase.
    • Sense of community: Your customers feel a sense of community with people associated with the brand, including other consumers and company representatives.
    • Active brand engagement: Customers are very loyal to your brand (even when they are not buying or using it). Examples: brand club memberships, participating in online forums or marketing events, and registering as follower or "friend" in certain social media.

Source: Keller, K.L., 1997, 2012, "Strategic Brand Management - Building, Measuring and Managing Brand Equity", Prentice Hall, Pearson.

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