Leveraging Secondary Brand Association to Build Brand Equity

There are various ways to create brand equity. Brand elements offer many alternatives style, logo unique selling proposition etc. Then there are marketing strategies aimed at product, price and distribution network. Here focus is on product and its attributes, correct and convincing price structure, and finally choice of product reaches consumer. Marketing communication is also strategic with respect to build brand equity with choice of medium (TV, radio, etc) and sales/consumer promotion. But what would be course of brand building for brand extension? Here brand has to draw some brand elements and brand knowledge from already developed brand, which has already created impression in consumer’s mind, thereby leveraging secondary brand association to create brand equity.

Marketers have various options available to them to facilitate leveraging process. These options are association with companies, countries and distribution channel. Next set of options relate to brand image and they are in form of brand ambassador, event sponsorship and other related activities. Secondary brand association has its importance when consumers are not aware of the new or upcoming brand. This leads to indifferent approach from customer towards brand. However, if consumers do not have knowledge of associating company than there could be no knowledge transfer and cannot translate into benefit for the brand. Even if the consumers have brand knowledge how much relevance it holds for the current brand also has to be ascertained.

If a company is to introduce a new brand the first step of association is with corporate brand if it exists. For example, Nokia, when it introduce mini laptop it was referred as Nokia 3G Booklet there are creating association, as consumer are already aware Nokia mobile phones. Along with company, country of origin can also be relevant source for brand association, for example BMW and its association with Germany. Top class and renowned German engineering process gets linked to brand BMW or other car coming out of Germany. Another valuable association is through channel distribution; if company already has a strong retail level penetration then introduction of new brand will have its benefit. But here question is raised concerning brand positioning, if retail network is catering to high end brand, that distribution network will not relevant for low end brand.

Above listed of association within current company’s infrastructure, however association can also be developed with brand from different company. This concept is called co-branding, for example branding of airlines referred to as Star Alliance consisting of 16 airlines. Benefit with this kind of association is that there definite decrease in cost of introducing of brand plus positioning becomes easier. However, companies lose charge or control to the overall brand development process as it is peg with other brands. Lost in the crowd is another problem leading from brand associations.

Another way of association is through usage of logos, characters from brands, franchise of other product category. For example, Sony’s PSP coming out with console featuring characters from Star Wars. But strategy has a drawback, sometimes popularity character may last just for a movie or a season, in that case, brand has to undergo another round of association. So choice of right character as shown by Sony is important. Celebrity endorsement is another way of association, for example, Tiger Woods endorsing product Gatorade. However this also has challenges if that celebrity is involved endorsement many other brands. This could lead to dilution or recall value of brand. Also if fortunes of celebrity goes turtle brand are also in for some pounding. Event sponsorship is another way for brand association but again right choice of event is very essential to make the brand relevant among consumer. Another form of endorsement is from third party for example dental association certifying toothpaste brand.

Marketers some come up with right mix of above strategies to convey right brand knowledge to consumers. It has its challenges but overall success of secondary association in building strong brand equity cannot be ignored.


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