Talking to the heart and the head

Trevor Richards

In 2004, both the advertising research foundation (ARF) and the Marketing Sciences Institute (MSI) identified brand equity as a key research focus for the next several years.

By doing so, US marketers and advertisers signalled that the problem of defining brand equity has not been fully resolved, in spite of many attempts. They also signalled that resolving the issue has become an urgent priority in an era that demands marketing be accountable.

As part of their initiative, the MSI published a paper by Keller and Lehman (1), which provides an overview of the different ways in which brand equity is currently defined. One conclusion that can be drawn from this is that brand equity is still in what may be called a pre-paradigm phase: there is, as yet, no common language, no common approach to measurement and no commonly shared theory.