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If you have a brand, you might have heard about brand equity and how it's important for your success.
But why is brand equity important? Brand recognition and brand awareness are a big part of a brand's influence on society. This influence is measured as brand equity.
In this guide, we'll go over what brand equity is and how you can build it, maintain it and measure it. Let’s dive in.
Imagine you’re walking down the aisle at the supermarket looking for a box of cereal to take home. The cereal aisle is full of hundreds if not thousands of types of cereal. From different types to different brands.
But you know what you want. It’s that box of Kellogg’s corn flakes right at your eye level at the entrance of the aisle.
There are plenty of brands of corn flakes on that aisle. Some are cheaper than Kellogg’s, and some may even taste better. Others might be healthier and free of preservatives and unhealthy additives.
But you like Kellogg’s corn flakes. The box with the big rooster on the front. That’s the cereal you always get. The only you’ve eaten since you were a kid. There’s just no other cereal you’d want.
That’s brand equity.
Here’s another example. Let’s say you’re playing with your child outdoors and they fall over and scrape their knee. You say, “Don’t worry! I’ll get you a bandaid.”
As you use the word “band-aid,” you unknowingly show the strength of the Band-Aid brand’s equity.
Putting it simply, brand equity is the way consumers perceive your brand and how loyal they are to it. Brand equity is something that’s earned over time, through hard work and analysis of growth.
When you have positive brand equity, your brand's products are easily recognizable. They're memorable and impactful and they leave an impression on consumers.
Brand equity is not something that can be achieved out of nowhere. In the realm of branding, there are many layers. Brand equity is the culmination of a process.
First, you start with a brand strategy, move on to brand value and storytelling, then you build a team for brand management to increase brand awareness. To then achieve brand loyalty and preference. And finally, brand equity.
There are a few components that make up brand equity. They are built upon the process mentioned above and are as follows.
Brand awareness is all about what and how much consumers know about your brand. The levels of brand awareness scale from people discovering your brand to choosing only your brand when they need a particular service or product.
A great example of brand awareness is when a brand is recognized instantly from their logo icon or even just their color. In some cases, a brand is recognized simply from its slogan.
Brand perception is what people and consumers feel and think of your brand. People generally have positive or negative perceptions of a brand, these are what build a generalized perception over time.
For brand perception to affect brand equity positively, then the majority of the population must have a positive perception of your brand. Good perception is built upon the way you present your brand in front of your clients. Your brand values need to match those of your clients in a way that will impact positive thoughts towards your company.
For your brand to be successful and have good brand equity, it must have a strong differentiator from its competitors. A brand differentiator is the one thing or combination of things that make a particular brand stand out above the rest.
A brand differentiator can be anything from great user experience design to top-notch customer service. Whatever it is, it needs to be special and unique. Once your brand pinpoints its differentiator you must analyze if it causes a positive or negative reaction. If it’s positive, it will greatly improve your brand equity.
Brand relevance is the measure of how relevant your brand is in its industry and niche. Relevance has to do with many aspects of the brand, from the way the messaging and copywriting are crafted to the design of the packaging.
A good way to build a relevant brand is by setting values that your brand can stand behind and believe in. This is called a value proposition.
Easily the greatest and most important component of brand equity is the power of brand loyalty. When a consumer chooses a brand they believe in, they will be loyal for a lifetime.
Not only will they repeatedly purchase from your brand, but they will also recommend it to their friends and family members.
What’s your brand’s worth? What value does it bring to consumers? When talking about brand equity, brand value is mostly a financial component. It’s essentially how much a brand is worth if it were to be sold.
This component of brand equity is a bit different than the others on this list. The majority of the components on this list are building blocks that both affect and are affected by brand equity. Brand value, on the other hand, goes mostly one way. When brand equity improves, the brand value goes up as well.
Building brand equity takes time and plenty of work. For your brand to have positive brand equity, it needs to go through some steps first.
These are the six steps a brand must follow to grow and continually improve its brand equity.
The first step to building a brand and subsequently its brand equity is to write down a set of core values. These are the cornerstones of what a brand believes in and stands for.
Brand values cover topics like teamwork, customer success, user experience and interaction.
Brand values are laid out in a value proposition. To put together your value proposition, the team has to answer a few questions about the brand.
First of all, what matters to the company, its founder and its team members? What does the brand stand for? How well does the company know its customers and competitors?
Once your value proposition is ready, stick by it and build the rest of the steps around it.
Note: Brand core values (the value proposition) is not the same as brand value, which is about monetary worth.
You can think about your brand values visually by using a template like the one below and printing it off to hang up in your office or employee break room.
The next step is to build brand awareness. This is another step that is built over time.
To build brand awareness, your brand must be seen by your consumers at the right time and in the right place. This is achieved through strategic brand placement and a marketing strategy.
You can put together your own marketing plan for building awareness with a template like the one below.
Good avenues for building brand awareness are content marketing and social media marketing, along with participation in events, brand placement and community involvement.
Word of mouth is another great tool for building brand awareness. There’s nothing better than a happy customer recommending your brand to her friends and family. Ask loyal customers for reviews on your website, social media pages or G2 Crowd.
Brand perception can go either way; positive or negative. Needless to say, for good brand equity, your brand needs a positive perception. The initial steps of perception are first impressions and reactions.
Be sure to know your client base and what makes them click. Communicate with them in a language they’re comfortable with. Consider color psychology when crafting visual marketing assets and how different colors carry different perceptions.
When a client or customer begins to show loyalty, it’s the perfect time to cement those bonds. Building loyalty with customers that are consciously aware of your brand, click with your brand values and have a positive perception.
A good way to keep your client base loyal is to stay consistent with your messaging. But remember you don’t want to bore them either. Come up with new ideas that complement your brand values and value proposition.
The way your brand deals with customer relations, good or bad, is important to building brand equity. Making customers feel heard is important for solving any problems they encounter when using your products or services.
Offer users and clients space where they can give suggestions and ideas for feature requests and new products. Listen to what they have to say and take action if a number of them ask or suggest the same things.
To continuously improve customer experience, make sure you have a strong support team. If your brand is international, keep a remote team with support help around the clock.
Implementing a social listening process is also a good idea to ensure you don't miss any online conversations about your business and can immediately work to take a negative comment about your brand and turn it onto a positive one.
Further on from maintaining a positive customer experience, brands also need to build a community. There are many ways that a brand can build a community.
For example, Facebook or Slack groups, social events, participation in conferences, summits and other virtual events, and more. Another great way to create community is through social media, mainly Twitter, where conversations are happening 24 hours a day.
So you’ve started your journey towards brand equity! But the fun doesn’t stop there. Now you have to maintain it, grow it, improve it and thrive.
Here are some tips to help.
To build brand equity your brand needs to grow. Growth and influence are what will make your brand equity soar. But you can’t grow and flourish if you aren’t authentic along the way.
Revisit your proposition and brand’s core values regularly, your brand needs to stand up for what it believes in. You need to stand behind what matters most.
Every change in sales copy, landing pages, social media campaigns, email newsletters and packaging descriptions must always stay authentic to the core brand values.
Using a brand guidelines template like the one below can help keep you and your team on the same page.
As we mentioned above, creating a community through your brand is a good way to improve brand equity over time. There are numerous ways to create community. For example;
Make sure to answer any social media post or direct message sent to your brand on any of these platforms. Create connections and treat customers like real people, not just another number.
As your brand and brand equity grows, make sure your products and services are always the best they can be.
Establish quality control processes to make sure that every time a customer interacts with what you offer, they’ll be getting the best solution to their problems.
A quality control team should check all levels of consumer interaction for your brand, from social media audits to user experience of web pages and physical products. Promptly fix what isn’t working and listen to the subjects in the user research sessions.
During quality control measures also consider the pricing of your products. Are the prices of your products close to similar products in your industry or do they vary?
Assess the quality of your offerings per your pricing and their perceived value. Rectify any discrepancies in your pricing by monitoring your target audiences and their consumer behavior with your brand.
Rebranding sometimes helps a brand gain brand equity, and in other cases, it can have a negative result. Before rebranding, make sure it’s completely necessary.
A rebrand must keep at least a little bit of the original brand to not alienate your clients. Do your due diligence and research the new words, names or colors you plan to use.
When you do a rebrand, make sure to inform your client base of the changes. Include them in the process, give them a run-through of the rebranding process and show them what’s being done.
Once the rebrand is finished, have a big launch so that everyone knows what’s going on. Use a launch roadmap template like the one below to help you out.
Whenever something huge happens in the world, your local area or your community, your brand equity will be tested. The way your brand acts or reacts to cultural and sociological events will impact how clients and customers perceive you.
You need to find ways to keep creating positive experiences with your brand. Be mindful of marketing campaigns that may sound tone-deaf.
The third part of this guide is all about measuring brand equity. To measure brand equity sustainably you must consider both quantitative and qualitative data.
There are several ways to measure brand equity but there are three main topics where everything can be grouped under.
Start by conducting a brand audit that covers all the topics below. Keep detailed records and data of the results to measure trends over time. This template below can help.
The biggest of the three brand equity metrics is financial, purely qualitative. This covers all monetary and value metrics of your brand.
Market Share: How much of the overall sales in your industry is your brand taking in. The higher the percentage, the higher the brand value.
Transaction Value of Products or Services: How much you sell your offers for. Are your products or services priced accordingly based on your brand value and brand equity?
Current and Projected Revenue: How much profits is your brand bringing in now and how much do you project to have in the future. Your profit margins and profitability have a large influence on your brand equity.
Price Premium: How much of a premium you can add to your prices that clients will still pay for. If a premium can be easily added to a product line, its perceived quality will also improve. Then people will pay more for your brand products.
Financially Sustainable Growth: How will your company grow and scale through positive brand building. Word of mouth is one of the biggest angles for sustainable growth. When people talk about your brand positively, brand equity goes up.
To measure financial metrics for brand equity, look at trends and anomalies to identify what’s improving over time.
The positive metrics are what will display a rise in brand equity. Those that aren’t working should be fixed to not damage the overall brand equity.
The second metric which can be measured is the one that deals with preference. This is a customer-based metric that deals with qualitative measures. Different from a monetary value, preference metrics are more about perceived value.
Preference metrics are measured through consumer behaviors and sentiment regarding your brand. These are measured through social media listening, surveys, focus groups and user research.
The marketers in your team should be in charge of following along in conversations on platforms like Twitter and Reddit where your brand is mentioned.
Measuring brand identity isn't a one time job, it needs continuous monitoring efforts. Keep logs of the data you collect over time like consumer perception and how it affects people emotionally.
The third metric is brand strength. This metric is all about the overall value of your brand in both qualitative and quantitative measures. The most important in this group are brand awareness and customer loyalty.
A good measure of brand strength is how a brand responds to socio-cultural events and eventual changes in the consumer base.
If a large section of the population is aware of your brand, that also constitutes good brand strength. On top of that, loyalty is also a big factor.
Measuring strength metrics can be achieved through social media monitoring and listening.
Follow your brand name and slogan on social media to see if people are talking about your brand, recommending it to their friends or leaving reviews.
To measure good brand strength, it’s not enough for people to be aware of your brand, they also need to have a positive perception of it. Bad reviews and complaints won’t positively impact your brand strength.
The best way to understand brand equity is to analyze brands you already know. We’ve put together a shortlist of 5 brands that’ll give you a great idea of how brand equity is built over time and how.
The first brand equity example of this list is Amazon, the e-commerce giant. When Amazon first came into the online market, they sold only books.
Before adding all sorts of other merchandise, the name and brand were already huge. Brand awareness was quite high and the loyal book customers didn’t need much convincing to stick around for the growth.
Some brands, like Amazon, gain equity fast by being the first big name in the industry and disrupting the norm.
Even though Amazon wasn’t the first e-commerce site, it was the one that got ahead. After thousands of e-commerce sites have been created using the Amazon model, Amazon is still the biggest and most widely used.
Amazon is one of the most valuable brands in the world. And the Amazon brand equity is beyond any other e-commerce site out there.
Most online shoppers choose to buy from Amazon first and will only shop on another site if they can’t find what they need on Amazon, to begin with.
The Amazon brand equity has got to the point where it’s an essential part of the everyday life of millions of people. They depend on it, especially during the pandemic.
But no brand is free of problems and a bad reputation. Amazon workers are overworked and at great risk of infection, yet the orders aren’t slowing down. This shows good brand strength, which is a powerful metric of brand equity.
Amazon boxes are recognizable worldwide and are a huge part of their success. The simplicity of the logo and the consistency in design has been a huge factor in their brand awareness.
Our second brand equity example is Apple.
The Apple brand is a great example of positive brand equity. Every year, millions of people around the world await the big event where new products are announced. Before and after that day, social media and press coverage are widespread.
Apple brand enthusiasts are loyal and pay high prices for new Apple products.
Apple’s brand equity is so high that even when they get rid of all the practical ports (USB and headphone jacks) on computers and phones, loyal clients still buy their products.
So much so that they also buy all the necessary items to be able to use headphones and accessories.
Every year Apple releases a new iPhone and the entire world hears about it. All aspects of the iPhone are copied by brands like Samsung and Huawei.
Their smartphones might be just as good as an iPhone but are much less expensive. Regardless, a loyal Apple customer will save the money to buy the new iPhone instead of an android that can do the same.
The brand equity for Apple is different from Amazon. Amazon is a brand that people need, while Apple is a brand that people want. Their biggest brand equity component is loyalty.
Below is the video from their event in November 2020.
Now let’s talk about Coca-Cola, a brand that has been around for over 100 years. Coca-Cola brand equity is indisputable.
Only one of their products carries the original brand name but the company has hundreds of other drink products under their umbrella brand The Coca-Cola Company. Most of their drink products are the first choice for consumers around the world.
Coca-Cola brand equity has been high for a long time and they have been careful to keep it positive as they grow. The company prides itself on being a sustainable business improving its carbon footprint over time.
They also conduct plenty of community work in all the countries they are in and support inclusivity and diversity in their teams.
The Coca-Cola Company uses design to improve brand equity. They have a system called The Design Machine which gives access to design templates to Coca-Cola executives around the world.
This helps tailor the brand assets depending on location and culture, further improving brand equity internationally.
The next example in our brand equity example list is Google. A brand that started as a search engine in the ’90s and is now so much more than that.
The greatest brand equity component of Google is awareness. The term “Google it” says it all. Everyone knows what Google is, and millions of people around the world use it regularly for their life and work.
Many wait for their almost daily Google logo customization celebrating important moments in history and current events. These are called Google doodles and a huge part of their brand awareness.
Google brand equity is like a mixture between Amazon and Apple. Consumers both need and want Google. It makes people’s online activities easier than without it. Google, like Coca Cola, is constantly improving their sustainable business practices and establishing diversity and inclusion in their teams.
These are important factors for brand equity as they harness positive emotional reactions from the consumer base. They also foster community and help start conversations between consumers and the team.
Our last example is Nike, the ultimate sports brand. Brand equity in the athletic industry is shared amongst most big brands like Nike, Adidas, Under Armour and Puma. But none is as big as Nike and it’s “Just do it” slogan.
Nike is one of those brands that doesn’t need their name on their logo anymore because they are so recognizable. No logo icon is as iconic as the Nike swoosh. Nike is one of the brands that not only offer functional products for sports and athletic activities, it also has a large client base of collectors.
Hat and sneaker collectors are a large portion of the loyal Nike consumer base. They buy the products as collectibles, not even to wear. How can you compare with that level of brand equity?
Another large factor in the Nike brand equity is their messaging to the consumers. Their TV commercials about gender equality and inclusivity are always well received and tend to make an impact internationally.
For example, the video below is one of their newest commercials.
If you made it this far, you’re probably looking for a tool or software to help manage your brand and improve brand equity.
Depending on your needs, there are plenty of brand management and brand measurement software available. But if you’re constantly creating branded content, there’s no better choice than Visme.
Visme has several tools to help you with brand management. For example:
A big part of brand equity is consistent visual storytelling in platforms such as your website, social media, newsletters, printed assets, merchandising, reports, blogs and anywhere else that needs visual material.
With Visme, all your visual brand assets can be managed in one place. Your team can work together to create new ones every time and stay in touch through the collaboration tool. You can leave messages for team members with feedback and ideas to improve the designs and stay on brand.
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To improve and maintain strong brand equity, you’ll need brand measurement as well as brand management software. Our favorites for social media monitoring and listening are Agorapulse and Talkwalker. For surveys and polls, some companies that can do it for you, like Pollfish.
If you’d like to keep brand measurement inside Visme, use our Typeform and Jotform integrations to conduct surveys of the customer base inside branded reports and digital documents. If you use brand measurement companies like Pollfish, you can import the data to Google sheets and then visualize it with Visme.