Brand is the most valuable asset for any company and has been widely recognized as an essential reason for consumer choice which serve as a tool for consumers to check the differentiation of the products and their uniqueness whereby it enrich consumers trust and confidence in facilitating their decision-making process which alleviate some of the problems associated with their experience and credence qualities. Brand equity is related to consumers place greater confidence in a particular brand than competitors’ brands which enhances consumers’ loyalty and willingness to pay a premium price for the brand. In essence, firms with high brand equity gain more competitive advantage and enjoy the opportunity for successful extensions, resilience against competitors’ promotional pressures, and creation of barriers to competitive entry. Earlier research on brands by Chan et al. (2013), Fleck et al. (2012), and Thwaites et al. (2012) were conducted in non-Asian countries whereby results generated are less likely to be comparable to Asian countries like India. Further, little attention has been dedicated to understanding factors such as brand association, brand loyalty, brand awareness, and brand image that influence brand equity in India, particularly among young consumers. Jacob and Isaac (2008) stated that university students, i.e. young consumers, are among the highest contributors to the increasing number of smartphone sales, the main users of social media, and highly expose to wide array of product brands. They often look at web sites, check e-mail and spend much of their time on social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn most often via their smartphones. Thus, this study aims to examine the effects of brand association, brand loyalty, brand awareness, and brand image on brand equity among young consumers. The idiosyncratic contribution of this research arises from integration of the effects of these factors on brand equity which the study enhanced with additional information to narrow the research gap. The research makes a novel empirical contribution and provides useful insights by testing the proposed theoretical framework on brand recall and recognition in India. The project is organized as follows: the next section presents an overview of relevant literature and then proceeds to outline the proposed model. The ensuing section describes the methodology used to conduct the research and answer research objectives. Then, data analysis and discussion of findings are detailed. The final section concludes on the research findings and summarizes the implications of the study with directions for future research.
A brand is “a name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them which is intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or a group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors”. A brand represents value for customers and companies. Branding is a set of marketing and communication methods that help to distinguish a company or products from competitors, aiming to create a lasting impression in the minds of customers. – American Marketing Association.
Brands help in building emotional relationships with customers, which in turn brings tangible returns for the whole organization in terms of customer loyalty and identification of the customer to the brand. According to Kotler (2oo6), a brand adds dimensions and differentiates a product in some way from others products designed to satisfy the same need.
Brand awareness can be referred to as the degree of consumers’ familiarity with a brand. Aaker (1991) According to Aaker (1991 p.62) Brand recognition: It is the ability of consumers to identify a certain brand amongst other i.e. “aided recall”.
Measuring customer-based brand equity
De Chernatony and Cottam (2006) suggest that rather than one comprehensive methodology to evaluate brand success, there are a range of financial and non-financial measures that collectively provide the necessary insight. Agarwal et al (1996) explained that there are two different approaches to measure brand equity; direct approach and indirect approach. The direct approach tries to assess the added value of the brand and appears to be the accepted definition of brand equity. The indirect approach tries to identify the potential sources of brand equality. An understanding of these sources for a firm’s own and competitive brands is critical for the brand manager. Agarwal et al (1996) argued that both these authors (Aaker and Keller) suggest a variety of indirect measures and methods to estimate brand equity based on their frameworks.
For example, Aaker (1991) suggests using repurchase rates, switching costs, level of satisfaction, preference for brand and perceived quality on various product and service dimensions as potential measures among others. Likewise, Keller (1993) suggests correct top-of-mind recall, free associations, ratings of evaluations, and beliefs of associations as some of the measures of brand knowledge. Ravi (2005) argued that developing further insights into the measurement of consumer based brand equity is important in the face of the prominence of branding. Understanding the dimensions of brand equity, then investing to grow this intangible asset raises competitive barriers and drives brand wealth. How to measure brand equity is very important in assessing the value of brands. Further, we are going to discuss different models of CBBE.
Aaker’s brand equity model
Aaker (1992) provided the most comprehensive brand equity model which consists of five different assets that are the source of the value creation. These assets include: brand loyalty; brand name awareness; perceived brand quality; brand associations in addition to perceived quality; and other proprietary brand assets – e.g., patents, trademarks, and channel relationships.