Achieving brand admiration requires keeping the company’s end game— creating brand equity— in mind. Our brand admiration framework offers unique causal insights into how brand managers can strengthen the equity of a brand, regardless of where in the company’s business hierarchy the brand resides (e.g., a branded product variant, a branded product, a branded business unit, or a branded company). Admired brands induce brand loyalty and brand advocacy behaviors, creating opportunities for efficient profit and growth. Brands that commit to the following have the best chance of reaching the status of the most admired brands.
1. Brand managers should focus on building, strengthening, and leveraging brand admiration because it (1) represents the most desired brand-customer relationship state, and (2) it has enormous payoffs for a brand and a company.
2. Building, strengthening, and leveraging brand admiration is relevant to all types of brands— regardless of whether they are in a B2B or a B2C market, or whether they are products or services, celebrity brands, place brands, or entertainment brands. Some markets (such as B2B markets) will have the most to gain by thinking through the 3Es and identifying opportunities to drive brand admiration, since many are blind to the critical role of enticing and enriching benefits in building and sustaining brand admiration over time.
3. Marketers control the extent to which they build, strengthen, and leverage the admiration of their brand by the extent to which their brand offers benefits that are known to underlie human happiness; that is, the extent to which the brand enables, entices, and enriches customers.
4. Building brand admiration is not limited to external customers. It starts with building brand admiration from within. Given companies’ ongoing efforts to attract and retain talent, internal brand admiration building efforts are critical.
5. Brand managers need to think carefully about customers’ need profiles and how to offer enabling, enticing, and enriching benefits in a consistent and complementary way. These activities build the two foundational components of brand admiration: brand-self connections and top-of-mind recall of a brand.
6. Brand admiration ranges on a continuum from high to low, with some brands being more admired than others. But even the most highly admired brands can use a set of value-enhancement strategies to continually enhance admiration for their brand.
7. Once a brand is admired, companies have the opportunity to leverage brand admiration using product and brand extensions for efficient growth. Good extensions reinforce the brand’s core identity, broaden it to include other associations, and facilitate future growth options.
8. Brand managers have a variety of brand-naming choices when extending their brands. Ideally, brand-naming decisions will be made within the context of the company’s entire brand architecture.
9. It is possible to measure brand equity. Our novel brand equity measure has powerful conceptual and measurement advantages over other financial measures of brand equity.
10. Finally, companies can and should construct a brand admiration dashboard to map brand health over time and identify and prioritize areas in which continued efforts at improvement should be made.
Following this framework will help you reach that precious goal of building and strengthening brand admiration, fostering brand advocacy and loyalty behaviors, and enhancing the financial value of the brand to your organization.
Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: C. Whan Park, Deborah MacInnis and Andreas Eisingerich, excerpted from their book, Brand Admiration with permission from Wiley Publishing.
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