Customer Based Brand Equity | Keller’s Brand Equity Model

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What makes a brand strong?’ and ‘How do you build a strong brand?

These two questions often arise to marketer regarding the brand. The answer to these questions arises to the concept of Customer Based Brand Equity (CBBE) model.

Customer Based Brand Equity Model

Customer Based Brand Equity Model concept is that the power of a brand lies in what customers have learned, felt, seen, and heard about the brand as a result of their experiences over time. Customer Based Brand Equity (CBBE) Model is also known as Keller’s Brand Equity Model.

Customer-based brand equity is defined as the differential effect that brand knowledge has on consumer response to the marketing of that brand.

There are three ingredients to this definition:

  • Differential effect: brand equity arises from differences in consumer response.

  • Brand knowledge: these differences in response are a result of consumers’ knowledge and experience of the brand.

  • Consumer response to marketing: the differential response by consumers that makes up the brand equity is reflected in perceptions, preferences and related to all aspects of the marketing

According to the Customer Based Brand Equity model, building a strong brand involves four steps:

  1. Establishing the proper brand identity, that is, establishing the breadth and depth of brand awareness
  2. Creating the appropriate brand meaning through strong, favourable, and unique brand associations
  3. Eliciting positive, accessible brand responses
  4. Forging brand relationships with customers that are characterized by intense, active loyalty

These above four steps represent a set of fundamental questions that customers invariably ask about brands:

  • Who are you? (brand identity)
  • What are you? (brand meaning)
  • What about you? What do I think or feel about you? (brand responses)
  • What about you and me? (brand relationships)

Read: What is Brand Equity? Components, Importance, Examples

Brand Building Blocks of Customer Based Brand Equity

Achieving these four steps, in turn, involves establishing six brand-building blocks – brand salience, brand performance, brand imagery, brand judgments, brand feelings, and brand resonance.

Customer Based Brand Equity
Customer Based Brand Equity

Step 1:  Brand Identity – Who Are You?

In this first step, your goal is to create “brand salience,” or awareness. We need to make sure that your brand stands out, and that customers recognize it and are aware of it. You’re not just creating brand identity and awareness here; you’re also trying to ensure that brand perceptions are “correct” at key stages of the buying process.

Brand salience

Relates to aspects of the awareness of the brand. Formally, brand awareness refers to customers’ ability to recall and recognize a brand.

Brand awareness refers to customers’ ability to recall and recognize a brand.

Key Criteria for Brand Identity

Brand awareness can be distinguished in terms of two key dimensions—depth and breadth.

Depth of brand awareness
  • Ease of recognition and recall
  • Strength and clarity of category membership
Breadth of brand awareness
  • Purchase consideration
  • Consumption consideration

In other words, it is important that the brand not only be “top-of-mind” and have sufficient “mind share” but it must also do so at the right times and right places.

Step 2: Brand Meaning – What Are You?

The aim is to identify and communicate what your brand means, and what it stands for. For most customers in most situations, other considerations, such as the meaning or image of the brand, also come into play.

Creating brand meaning involves establishing a brand image – what the brand is characterized by and should stand for in the minds of customers.

Brand meaning is made up of two major building block of brand associations that exist in customers’ minds— those are performance and imagery—with a set of specific subcategories within each.

Brand Performance

Brand Performance defines how well your product meets your customers’ needs. According to the model, it consists of five categories:

  • Primary characteristics and features
  • Product reliability, durability, and serviceability
  • Service effectiveness, efficiency, and empathy
  • Style and design
  • Price

Brand Imagery

Brand Imagery refers to how well your brand meets your customers’ needs on a social and psychological level. Your brand can meet these needs directly, from a customer’s own experiences with a product; or indirectly, with targeted marketing, or with word of mouth.

Many different kinds of intangibles can be linked to a brand, but four categories can be highlighted:

  • User profiles: brand imagery associations involve the type of person or organization who uses the brand. This imagery may result in a profile or mental image by customers of actual users or more aspirational, idealized users.

  • Purchase and usage situations: a set of associations concerns the conditions under which the brand could or should be bought and used, e.g; type of channel, specific store, ease of purchase and associated rewards, if any etc.

  • Personality and values: Brands may also take on personality traits and values similar to those of people.

  • History, heritage, and experiences: Finally, brands may take on associations with their past and with certain noteworthy events in brand history.

Key Criteria for Brand Meaning


How strongly is the brand identified with a brand association?


How important or valuable is the brand association to customers?


How distinctively is the brand identified with the brand association?

It does not matter how unique a brand association is unless customers evaluate the association favorably, and it does not matter how desirable a brand association is unless it is sufficiently strong so that customers actually recall it and link it to the brand.

Step 3: Brand Response – What Do I Think, or Feel, About You?

Brand responses refer to how customers respond to the brand, its marketing activity, and other sources of information, that is, what customers think or feel about the brand.

Customers’ responses fall into two categories: judgments and feelings

Brand Judgments

 Brand judgments focus on customers’ personal opinions and evaluations with regard to the brand. Brand judgments involve how customers put together all the different performance and imagery associations for the brand to form different kinds of opinions.

  • Quality: Customers judge a product or brand based on its actual and perceived quality.

  • Credibility: three dimensions on which customer judge the credibility are perceived expertise, trustworthiness, and likability.

  • Consideration: Customers judge how relevant your product is to their unique needs.

  • Superiority: Customers assess the extent to which the brand as unique and better than other brands.

Brand Feelings

Brand feelings are customers emotional responses and reactions with respect to the brand. Brand feelings also relate to the social currency evoked by the brand.

There are six important types of brand-building feelings:

  1. Warmth: the extent to which the brand makes consumers feel a sense of calm or peacefulness.

  2. Fun: the extent to which the consumers feel amused, lighthearted, joyous, playful, cheerful, and so on.

  3. Excitement: the extent to which the brand makes consumers feel that they are energized, and are experiencing something special.

  4. Security: when the brand produces a feeling of safety, comfort, and self-assurance in the customer.

  5. Social approval: when the brand results in consumers’ feeling positively about the reactions of others to them.

  6. Self-respect:  when a brand makes consumers feel better about themselves, for example, when consumers feel a sense of pride, accomplishment, or fulfilment.

Step 4: Brand Resonance – What about you and me?

Brand resonance refers to the nature of the relationship that customers have with the brand and the extent to which they feel a deep, psychological bond with the brand.

Keller breaks resonance into four categories:

  • Behavioural loyalty: how often do customers purchase a brand and how much do they purchase?

  • Attitudinal attachment: Your customers love your brand, describe it as one of their favourite possessions, or view it as a “little pleasure” that they look forward to.

  • Sense of community: Your customers feel a sense of community with people associated with the brand, including other consumers and company representatives.

  • Active engagement: perhaps the strongest affirmation of brand loyalty occurs when customers are willing to invest time, energy, money, or other resources into the brand beyond those expended during purchase or consumption of the brand.

Key Criteria for Brand Relationships

Brand relationships can usefully be characterized in terms of two dimensions:


Strength of the attitudinal attachment and sense of community. how deeply felt is the loyalty?


How frequently the consumer buys and uses the brand, as well as engages in other activities not related to purchase and consumption.

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