Building Brand Equity (Philip Kotler Summary)

Building Brand Equity as stated by Dr. Philip Kotler in his book on Marketing Management.


Marketers aim at building a consistent image of the brand across all touch point of the consumer. The touch points may or may not be initiated by the marketer. However from marketing perspective there are 3 main sets of brand equity drivers:

  1. Brand Elements (Identities making up the brand) – Names, Logo, Symbol, Characters, Jingle, Packaging etc- e.g. Packaging of Toblerone chocolates or Absolut Vodka.
  2. The Products and Services and all accompanying marketing activities and supporting marketing programs.
  3. Other associations indirectly transferred to the brand.

Choosing Brand Elements

Brand elements are those trademarkable components building a brand which serve to identify and differentiate the brand. Strong brands employ multiple brand elements. e.g. Nike – the ‘Swoosh’ logo and ‘Just Do It’ slogan. The brand elements directly affect what the consumers might think of the brand. e.g. Gati courier must be quick, Pampers must be soft to baby skin.

There are 6 criteria in choosing brand elements:

Brand Building Criteria

  • Memorable – Should be easy to memorise and therefor recall. Short names stick quickly. E.g. Nike, Tide, Ola Cabs, Lux.
  • Meaningful – Should bring credibility or suggest product ingredient. E.g. Sugar Free Low Calorie Sweetner, Khadi Gram Udyog.
  • Likeability – Aesthetically appealing. e.g. Mozilla Firephone, Sunfeast.

Brand Defence Criteria

  • Transferable – Brand should be able to extend itself to different products and product categories, different geographies. E.g. Maggi – 2 minute Noodle, Tomato Ketchup, Soup, Masala etc-
  • Adaptable – Should be able to adapt with changing times. E.g. Mircosoft, Apple.
  • Protective – Should not be easy to copy and should be legally protected. Though at times brands become generic names (e.g. Xerox, Bisleri, Dalda) but they should not lose their individual identity.

Developing Brand Elements

  1. Before fixing down on a brand name and its elements companies do a due diligence, eliminate, debate  and test the probable names on their radar.
  2. Companies nowadays deploy marketing research agencies to test brand names within the targeted market segment to ascertain its effectiveness. Apart from dedicated marketing research agencies (e.g. IMRB, IPSOS, Nielsen), leading advertising agencies have dedicated teams to do their bit of research before proposing a solution to the client.
  3. Brand elements can play a number of brand-building roles. If consumers do not examine much information in making their product decisions, brand elements should be easily recognized and recalled and inherently descriptive and persuasive. Memorable or meaningful brand elements can reduce the burden on marketing communications to build awareness and link brand associations.

Design Holistic Marketing Activities

  1. Brands are not built by advertising alone. Customers come to know a brand through a range of contacts and touch points: personal observation and use, word of mouth, interactions with company personnel, online or telephone experiences, and payment transactions.
  2. A Brand Contact can be defined as any information-bearing experience a customer or prospect has with the brand, the product category, or the market that relates to the product or service. Therefore a brand contact will not only be the store of showroom from where consumer buys the product, but also the product service centres. A classic example of this are Apple Stores and Service Centre which have similar look and feel and premium treatment for the customers. Needless to mention, Apple is one of the strongest brands in the world.
  3. Marketers can create brand contacts and build brand equity by:
    1. Clubs
    2. Consumer Communities
    3. Trade Shows
    4. Event Marketing
    5. Sponsorships
    6. Factory Visits
    7. Public Relations & Press Releases
    8. Social Cause Marketing
  4. While designing brand building marketing programs, there are 3 most important things to keep in mind :
    1. Personalization
    2. Integration
    3. Internalization


Unlike the age old marketing media of reaching out to the world via the traditional marketing medium, brands now focus on more personalized marketing to meet the current desire of consumers of more exclusivity.

With the advent of digitization, new concepts have embraced:

  1. Experiential Marketing
  2. One-to-One Marketing
  3. Permission Marketing

Another level of personalization is loyalty programmes and communication around the same to build a one to one connect with the consumers.


Integrating  marketing  is  about  collaboration of different marketing  activities  to  maximize  their  individual  and  collective  effects.  A s  part  of  integrated  marketing, marketers  need  a  variety  of  different  marketing  activities  that  reinforce  the  brand  promise. A standalone TVC campaign will deliver its own TRP numbers, a digital campaign will deliveries own impressions. But when the communication is woven across the channels (TV & Digital), the brand sticks to the consumer better than compared to either of the channels individually. e.g. Vistara’s brand campaign to launch Deepika Padukone as their brand ambassador.


Apart from the external activities focused on delivering the brand promise, marketers must now ‘walk the talk’. Internal  branding  is  activities  and  processes that  help  to  inform  and  inspire  employees. It  is  critical  for  service  companies  and  retailers  that  all  employees  have  an  up-to-date,  deep  understanding  of  the  brand  and  its promise.

e.g. Indian IT companies have a full-fledged internal branding team in place which runs internal branding campaigns as efficiently as external campaigns.



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