Brand Equity: What it is, why you need it, and how to build it

9 March 2022

How powerful is your brand in China’s marketplace?

The answer to this depends on your brand equity. So just exactly what is brand equity?

Brand equity is the consumer perception of your brand; in other words it is your brand’s reputation in the marketplace. Specifically, it is the multifaceted value of a brand based on consumer awareness and perception of your brand name, your products, your messaging as well as consumer loyalty.

Brand equity develops and grows together with a consumer’s experiences with the brand. These are the core elements of positive brand equity:

Why is it important for you to build good brand equity? Strong brand equity comes with many benefits, such as:

  • Greater market share – get a competitive edge in the marketplace. Your brand needs to stand out from the crowd and appeal to your target consumers, in particular in saturated industries
  • Greater consumer loyalty – cultivate brand evangelists and reduce your vulnerability to competitor marketing efforts
  • Increased marketing efficacy – less resources needed to market your product because word-of-mouth will do the heavy lifting
  • Increased profitability

Building Brand Equity

So how do you build brand equity? Keller’s Brand Equity Model, also known as the Consumer-Based Brand Equity (CBBE) model, is a universally recognised approach to defining and understanding the brand equity process. There are 4 major steps to strong brand equity: Identity, Meaning, Response and Relationships. Let’s look at these one by one.

  • Brand Identity

This is all about building brand awareness. To effectively develop brand awareness, the brand needs to have a strong brand identity, enabling consumers to recognise the brand easily. Everything from naming to logo design, product design and advertising work together to construct your brand’s identity.

  • Brand Meaning

Your brand needs to communicate what it stands for. Coordinate marketing efforts to clearly convey how well your products meet the needs of your consumers, and what commitments your brand is focused on. For example, if your brand is genuinely dedicated to being environmentally responsible, you could consider developing loyalty from like-minded consumers and construct a team of members who identify with and support those values. You can develop greater brand meaning through targeted marketing, word-of-mouth and positive direct consumer experiences. The important thing to bear in mind here is that you can tell your consumers “this is what our brand is about”, but they may not see it that way. But the way they see your brand is extremely important, because they are in control when it comes to defining how they perceive it.

  • Brand Response

Consumers respond to your brand through judgments and feelings (which are derived from their experiences with your products and services). Judgments are things such as quality, credibility, how relevant your products are to consumer needs and whether your products are superior to those of your competitors. Positive feelings include warmth, fun, excitement, security, social approval and respect.

  • Resonance

This is the most difficult stage in the CBBE pyramid. Resonance refers to building deeper consumer relationships. Your consumers need to have formed a deep psychological bond with your brand in order for you to establish resonance. At this stage, loyal consumers make repeat purchases and feel a personal attachment to your brand or product. They might feel a sense of community with other consumers and company representatives. And they can be actively engaged as brand ambassadors by taking part in online chats, attending live-streams, visiting pop-up shops and other offline events, and following your brand on social media, such as WeChat, Xiaohongshu, Douyin or Weibo.

Climbing the Pyramid Towards Results

You know what they say, a good reputation takes 5 years to build and 5 minutes to destroy. The same applies to brand equity. Let’s get right to it and talk about how you can climb the CBBE pyramid towards better, stronger brand equity.

Resonance is the most important part of the CBBE pyramid and is also the most difficult to establish. In order to get there, you need to make sure that your products are localised to your target market and match the addressable expectations of your audience. If consumers don’t like your product, then the door to developing resonance has been slammed shut.

To get started, in-home usage testing (IHUT) can help you determine what your ideal consumers like and dislike about your brand and your product. Through proper testing, you can identify areas for improvement before making a negative impression during your launch. We covered this in our thorough three-part series on IHUT so we won’t go over it too much today — check it out here!

After you’ve optimised and localised your product for your consumers, it is time for you to focus on developing the reputation of your brand. Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), with their massive followings, can provide a big boost to your brand’s reputation and authority.

Next, you need to make your brand omnipresent across social media. For starters, your brand needs to be searchable with high-value results on Xiaohongshu, Weibo and Douyin. Then, with social media omnipresence, you need to penetrate a wider spectrum of the market. This is where Key Opinion Consumers (KOCs) do their magic. With their permeating presence on all of the major social media platforms, KOCs will help your brand become visible across social media and across a wide variety of industries.

Once you’ve taken care of these steps, it’s time to resonate with your consumers! You need to cultivate a community of brand evangelists who are loyal to your brand and will take every opportunity to recommend your products to their family and friends. The idea of brand resonance and why it is called “resonance” is because your brand needs to resonate with your consumers. When your brand resonates with consumers, they connect with it on a very deep level and feel completely in-sync with your brand.

There is no quick-fix way to develop resonance with consumers. Loyalty and consumer evangelism takes time and effort to build. One thing that you can do at the onset is to make a dashing first impression. When your brand makes its debut on China’s e-commerce platforms, all eyes will be on the customer reviews section. By working with a pool of everyday consumers, you can facilitate authentic purchases of your products and receive genuine reviews to understand how your release is going so far and what changes if any need to be made to prepare for the long run.

PJdaren boasts China’s largest pool of KOLs, KOCs and everyday consumers. When leveraged properly, these resources combined form the most efficient, surefire way for you to boost your brand equity in China. Check out some of our case studies and learn more about the steps you need to take to become a powerful brand in the world’s most competitive consumer market!

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About 评价达人 – PJdaren:

Since 2016, PJdaren has helped some of the world’s largest brands build trust, collect insights and drive sales in China by engaging Key Opinion Consumers (KOCs) and Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) through our state-of-the-art influencer marketing platform.

Our software and services connect brands with our over 4 million-strong KOC and KOL community. We facilitate targeted, authentic conversations and content, enabling brands to capture the market with measurable results.