Have you ever wondered just how much a name like McDonalds is worth? The answer lies in the companies brand equity. A company’s brand is one of its most valuable assets; and brand equity is a measure of that value. Brand equity directly corresponds to financial performance, something a company like McDonalds knows all too well.
So how does one go from a start-up to a company with a high degree of brand equity? It all starts and stops with the consumer. Without a strong and loyal customers base, a company will simply not get to the top of the industry. They will not have any measurable brand equity. What can you do to get yourself to the top? There are many strategies that can help you build up your brand equity, but we are going to focus on a few of the more popular approaches.
As I said, it all starts with the consumer and the development of your target audience. No one company can be all things to all people, but if you identify those consumers that might appreciate your product, you can target your efforts and speak directly to them.
Get the Consumer’s Attention
One of the hardest things for new companies to accomplish is to get their name out amongst the public. Companies, especially start-ups, need to create public awareness for their product and to get consumers to notice how their product stands out from the competition. Making a good first impression is a vital part of building a strong customer base. Often this can be done with strategies like targeted advertising or providing potential customers with sample products.
Make the Public Remember Your Brand
It’s one thing to capture the attention of your target audience; it’s another thing to keep it. Your ultimate goal is to help customers make an emotional connection to your brand. By highlighting your product’s best feature(s), you can make the public perceive that there are special benefits to your products. Differentiating your product from the competition is a vital part of the branding process.
Building a Solid Brand Image
This is where the character of your company comes into play. By combining the special benefits of your products with your character, you can reinforce the public’s image of the product. As most of us understand, the brand or company’s image means everything, especially in today’s social media environment.
Reinforce the Brand Image
It is extremely important that all employees within your company work and behave in a manner that reinforces the brand image you created. Whether you have ten employees or a hundred, everyone needs to be on the same page.
It may not be hard for you to guess which companies have the highest degree of brand equity. Companies that have been around for several years and have built a loyal customer base are able to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Now, instead of building brand equity, they can focus their time and attention on retaining it.
The following companies have been given the highest brand equity rating on the Harris Poll EquiTrend Study for five years running. The study measures and compares over 1,500 unique brands in 170-plus categories. By measuring familiarity, quality, and consideration, the study is able to effectively determine which companies stand at the top of their particular category. See if any of these company names surprise you.
- Visa Hallmark Greeting Cards
- Craftsman Tools
- Target Stores
- The Weather Channel
- Michelin Tires
- Southwest Airlines
- Verizon Mobile Network
- Blue Cross/Blue Shield
- HP Printing
- Outback Steakhouse
- Pizza Hut
- Hershey’s Candy Company
How can you develop the brand equity necessary to become the next great company? Brand equity is built on a customer’s direct experience with your brand, defined as a combination of your name, logo, perceived quality, brand association, and brand loyalty. Repeated over time, this experience creates equity, which in turn created loyalty. The value of brand equity cannot be understated. Helping your customers understand how your products are different or better than the alternative is the place to start.
By focusing your efforts on your target audience and building a strong and loyal customer base, you can certainly chart a course to the top of your industry.