Observations: Building Brand Equity by Managing the Brand's Relationships

Max Blackston
DCI/Research International

One of the older and simpler definitions of Brand Equity was the one coined by David Oglivy, when he said many years ago:

A brand is the consumer's idea of a product.

This could be thought of as the first principle of brand equity - that a brand is different from a product and that the difference is something with which it is invested by the consumer. Most definitions of brand equity concentrate on this difference.

Although it is the incremental, added-value qualities that make brand equity important to us, the term is often used synonymously with the total value of the brand. It is useful therefore to think of the total equity - or value - of a brand consisting of two different sorts of 'equities.' The first are those we might call the 'fundamental' equities - the classical marketing variables of product, price, and packaging - together with distribution and measured brand image. The second type are the 'added value' equities, which are usually much more elusive to define because of their intangible nature.