Have you ever heard someone say that a person’s reputation precedes them? Apply this same situation to a brand, and you understand brand equity. In marketing, brand equity encompasses all public perceptions about your company. It is the value of your brand as a stand-alone name, separate from your products and services. Brand equity is the reason why KitchenAid can effortlessly sell appliances while a new, unknown brand will likely struggle.

It’s easy to understand the concept of brand equity, but it’s hard to build it. In this article, we’ll give you the ins and outs of how to build brand equity in a sustainable way.

What Is Brand Equity?

what is brand equity

There are many elements that contribute to brand equity and others that take away from it. You can think of your brand equity like a bank. The more deposits you make, the more it prospers. The more withdrawals you make (accidentally), the worse the situation becomes.

The simple fact that a bottle of Fiji water costs more than other brands demonstrates brand equity. They can charge more because of the perception that the product is superior (even if it’s not). This is also why knock-off apparel brands attempt to look like more prestigious brands.

Fortunately, building brand equity doesn’t have to be sleazy or deceptive. It’s really about building a reputation that is so solid, it can’t be knocked down. And there’s only one way to achieve this.

What Builds Brand Equity?

what builds brand equity

As a design company, we’ve seen countless brands fail, succeed against all odds, and (perhaps worst of all) linger on in anonymity. In truth, there’s a science behind what makes a brand keep ticking.

As the famous ad executive David Ogilvy said, “The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife.” Especially nowadays, customers are hip to all the tricks and gimmicks amateur marketers throw at them. Thus the key ingredient to build brand equity is authenticity. With that said, here are some tried and true strategies beyond simply being genuine.

  1. Create a brand messaging framework. Your messaging is the most important tool you have for creating equity.
  2. Apply Keller’s brand equity model. This model offers a clear path for creating equity.
  3. Invest in your customer experience. Several studies indicate a clear relationship between brand equity and the quality of the customer experience.

Types of Brand Equity

types of brand equity

1. Brand Identity 

This is the first facet of brand equity to master. After all, if you can’t define your brand, what hope do you have of convincing others of its value?

Exploring brand archetypes can be useful in this phase – whether you’re starting a new business, rebranding, or simply refining what you want to be known for. Brand identity is all about your values, the promise you’re making, and your brand personality. In other words, it’s how you want your ideal customer to experience your brand.

2. Brand Awareness 

To understand this facet of brand equity, it’s useful to explore what marketers call “brand salience.” When a potential customer decides to make a purchase, you want them to already be familiar with your brand. This way, you will pop into their mind first.

Interestingly, the trick to mastering brand awareness/salience is to understand the human mind. It’s been well established that a person’s brain can more easily recall what is:

  • emotionally meaningful 
  • highly relevant/personal to them
  • visual

So fusing meaning, emotion, and visual imagery in each marketing campaign is crucial. If your campaigns are mostly text and contain little more than impersonal calls to action, your audience has little reason to remember you.

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3. Brand Loyalty

Once you’ve made some progress in the areas above, you can start building brand loyalty. This is what will protect you when competitors try to steal potential customers or even current customers. If a competitor offers a first-month discount on a monthly service, what’s gonna prevent your customer from jumping ship? 

If you’re wondering how to build brand equity, the answer isn’t “offer an even bigger discount.” It’s about offering something far more meaningful than that. This could be a more personalized service or a one-of-a-kind user experience. It may even be that your values align more with the customer, or that you understand them better and you consistently demonstrate that. 

One study showed that nearly 68% of Honda customers anticipated that they’d buy another Honda in the future. The company’s affordability, safety ratings, and especially its reliability has made it a prime choice for many people (apparently Democrats in particular).

Brand loyalty answers the question “why you?” The answer will vary from industry to industry, and it will depend on your unique strengths as a business. You’ll always fail at trying to be what you’re not, so when it comes to building brand loyalty, you have to use your genuine strengths.

Chick-fil-A demonstrated a classic example of how to build brand equity with its weekly father-daughter night. One franchise owner came up with the idea, which was adopted by the entire Chick-fil-A brand across more than 2,000 stores. The tradition continues to this day and highlights the brand’s intention to make a positive impact in the day-to-day life of its customers. By offering a heartfelt invitation to families, the brand stood out from other fast food restaurants that only offer impersonal service.

Team up with Penji & Build Your Brand

The look and feel of your website, social profiles, emails, and other elements have a huge impact on your brand equity. That’s why we offer an unlimited graphic design subscription so you can get a team of designers for a fraction of the typical cost.

Watch the demo to see how you can order custom graphics right from our dashboard – email designs, landing pages, business cards, logos, social posts, and more. You’ll always need branded designs to build awareness and trust with your customers, so why not meet all your design needs in one shot?