Leveraging secondary association


The third and final way to build brand equity is, in effect, to “borrow� it. That is, brand associations may themselves be linked to other entities that have their own associations, creating “secondary� brand association. In other words, brand equity may be created by linking the brand to other information in memory that conveys meaning to consumers.

The brand may be linked to certain source factors, such as the company through branding strategies, countries or other geographical regions through identification of product origin, and channels of distribution through channel strategy; as well to other brands through ingredient or co-branding, characters through licensing, spokes people through endorsements, sporting or cultural events through sponsorship, or some other party sources through awards or reviews.

For example, assume Burton—makers of snowboards as well as ski boots, bindings, clothing, and outerwear—decided to introduce a new surfboard called “The Dominator.� Burton has gained over a third of the snowboard market be closely aligning itself with top professional riders and creating a strong amateur snowboarder community around the country. In creating the marketing program to support the new Dominator surfboard, Burton could attempt to leverage secondary brand knowledge in a number of different ways.

Burton could leverage associations to the corporate bran by “sub-branding� the product, calling it “Dominator by Burton.� Consumers’ evaluations of the new product would be influenced by how they felt about Burton and how they felt that such knowledge predicted the quality of a Burton surfboard.

Burton could try to rely on its rural New England origins, but a geographical location would seem to have little relevance to surfing.

Burton could also try to sell through popular surf shops in a hope that its credibility would “rub off� on the Dominator.

Burton could attempt to co-brand by identifying a strong ingredient brand for its foam or fiberglass material as Wilson did by incorporating Goodyear tire rubber on the soles of its Pro Staff Classic tennis shoes.

Burton could attempt to find one or more top professional surfers to endorse the surfboard or choose to become a sponsor of a surfing competition or even the entire Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) world Tour.

Burton could attempt to secure and publicize favorable ratings from third-party sources like Surfer or Surfing Magazines.

Thus, independent of the associations created by the surfboard itself, its brand name, or any other aspects of the marketing programs, Burton may be able to build equity by linking the brand to these other entities.

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