Brand equity refers to the marketing effects or outcomes that accrue to a product with its brand name.. And, at the root of these marketing effects is consumers’ knowledge. In other words, consumers’ knowledge about a brand makes consumers respond differently to the marketing of the brand.
Who Controls Brand Equity?
In Web 1.0 days brand equity was controlled by one way communications to the public using multiple mediums of communications. Catchy advertising and slick marketing messages were used to capture consumers attention to brand offerings. Billions were spent running banner advertisements all over the web and billions more spent on TV ads all aimed at catching our attention and tempting us with value propositions. Whether the brand experience was good or bad consumers did not have the means for mass distribution and sharing their experiences with other consumers.
Has Control Shifted?
Michael Emerson ,chief marketing officer, Aprimo writes: In marketing, we are trained to think that brand value comes with complete control and execution, but now we need to understand that our customers also have a say in how our brand is communicated.
Today Web 2.0 enables connected conversations to flow like swelling rivers of influence. These conversational rivers build momentum as consumers communicate both good and bad experiences with brands. Anything and everything about any brand is fair game for consumers eager to express their experiences. Promises of product or service delivery not met or continuous poor customer service can become a swelling river that gains significant momentum at the click of a mouse. Control over brand equity has clearly shifted.
What Can Brands Do?
There are five things that all brands will need to do in order to shift the conversational rivers and leverage them into protecting and building brand value. These are:
1. Recognize that a shift has occurred, ignoring it will be to your detriment
2. Engage in the conversation. Not engaging means you don’t care what the customer has to say
3. Admit your short comings, denying it will make things worse and everyone already knows
4. Fix the obvious and tell the customer what your doing to fix it but most of all fix it.
5. Stop the old and start the new. Marketing, PR and overall communications need to change. Start by changing your thinking.
Not only has the rules of your game changed but the customers have created an entirely different game. Not participating in the new game will cost you and your shareholders dearly. By the way, the conversational rivers are reaching your shareholders who are concerned about your brand equity. Are you? If so do something which clearly communicates to the people that you not only are listening but that you can hear. There is a difference.
What say you?