posted at 05:50
Author Name: The Economist
No One Agrees On How Much Brands Are Worth Or Why
Bruce McColl, who as the chief marketer of Mars oversees Snickers chocolate bars, Whiskas cat food and other brands, is on record as saying that "Consumers aren't out there thinking about our brands." And however much brands may have been worth in the past, their importance may be fading. David Aaker, a business-school professor who helped spread the idea, identified three main components of brand equity: consumers' awareness of a brand, the qualities they associate with it and loyalty. Brands are a promise to consumers, it is often said; they also serve as an insurance policy to cover the cost of breaking it. Loyal consumers "Really drive brand profitability," believes Millward Brown, which is part of WPP, a big marketing group. What constitutes brand equity, Mr Sharp contends, is "Physical and mental availability", by which he means the opportunity for consumers to find products in shops and their propensity to think of the brand when shopping. The cereal-maker thinks its tried-and-tested imagery, such as Rice Krispies' Snap, Crackle & Pop, has proved its worth by planting brands in consumers' minds. Loyalty is real, but does not vary much, or show that consumers are passionate about brands. The original job of brands was to assure consumers about the quality of a product or service.

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