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Building Brand Equity
Journal of Public Policy and Marketing
Building high brand equity has been an elusive goal for fine marketing minds, in part, because it seems like an abstract concept. Chris Pullig helps explain brand equity in What is Brand Equity and What Does the Branding Concept Mean to You?:
High brand value, a brand with high equity, means that the brand has the ability to create some sort of positive differential response in the marketplace. This can mean that your brand is easily recognizable when encountered in advertising or seen on a yard sign. It can mean that your brand is one of the first ones recalled when a relevant prompt is used ? "who would I call to discuss listing my house?" It could mean that individuals would be willing to pay a premium price for your brand's offering.
One approach to improving brand equity is through corporate societal marketing. Corporate societal marketing is marketing that is designed to benefit society. The marketing initiative uses company resources but does not necessarily have an economic objective.
Steve Hoeffler and Kevin Lane Keller explore corporate societal marketing in Building Brand Equity through Corporate Societal Marketing. Hoeffler and Keller explain, "One factor driving this growth in CSM is the realization that consumers' perceptions of a company as a whole and its role in society can significantly affect a brand's strength and equity.(78)"
To simplify, people prefer brands that help others. One example of a brand that demonstrates strong corporate societal marketing is Whole Foods, Inc. Through their Whole Planet Foundation that assists with micro-financing to supporting local farms, Whole Foods pursues a range of initiatives that have built a positive brand image that makes employees proud of working for Whole Foods and makes customers feel confident that their purchases are supporting a well-intentioned company.
Hoeffler and Keller explain that CSM programs can build brand equity through the following six means:
CSM capitalizes on the fact that the more time an individual spends with a brand, whether through thinking about a positive program, seeing the brand sponsor society-improving activities, or exploring the brand's website, the more likely people are to have a positive feeling about the brand, recommending the brand to other people and buying from the brand.
The internet, and more specifically, online video, creates a way for companies to leverage CSM and reach even more people. Whether offering training tutorials on a subject matter, raising money through an online campaign, or even just sharing the benefits of a CSM campaign through video, having a portal of interactive videos helps companies further improve their brand equity by sharing their progress in an easily consumable manner.
Companies also have the opportunity to host CSM activities through the internet. For example, a brand could host a series of free training videos on a subject matter in which they are experts, but underprivileged individuals may not be able to access through conventional means such as classroom instruction. For example, an energy company may demonstrate how people can check their homes to ensure they are not wasting energy. Or a health insurance agency can have an interactive diet program available on their site that demonstrates workout tips and tracks food so that people may monitor their health progress.
Companies today have more resources than ever to reach out to potential buyers and leave a positive impression on them.
To learn more about the benefits of Corporate Societal Marketing, visit JStor.