Brand Equity 101

If Apple wanted to sell just its branding (INCLUDES the Apple, Ipod, Iphone, Ipad trademarks, and the designs of Apple products. DOES NOT INCLUDE Apple’s computers, technology, vehicles, buildings), they would pull in a cozy $153 billion. Check out this list of the 29 highest valued brands in the world.

In the marketing world, “brand equity” stands for the value that marketing, public relations, and other publicity efforts adds to a product or service. Amongst business circles, this simply means more assets and an addition to a company’s overall portfolio.

Using a purely monetary example, let’s take a Sterling silver ring which costs $25 USD to make, considering the material, craftsmanship, and time. Now, this ring is quite a beautiful ring, a ring that resembles two interlaced silver bands. But you don’t know this silversmith, or his work, and at the time you make the order you don’t know how the ring will turn out. If you reluctantly agreed to make a purchase order for $25, then you have paid for the silver, the silversmith’s skill, and the silversmith’s time.

Now, let’s say this silversmith is hired by a certain well known jewelry company, and he makes the same exact ring using the same materials and craftsmanship. However, now the ring is sold for $325, and consumers are willing to pay for it. What happened? Brand equity happened.

There are many parts of brand equity, and it can inculcate many perceptions in the minds of consumers. While difficult to quantify, it is also difficult to argue that brand equity is fictitious when love-struck men are lining up to pay hundreds of dollars for silver jewelry, just because it says “Tiffany” on it. Perception of quality and brand awareness, association, and loyalty are all tied to how much money consumers are willing to pay for a brand, and thus, an indicator of brand value.

A failure to properly guard your intellectual property can lead a court to find that your rights are weak or nonexistent, and allow others to benefit from your efforts in building your brand. Registering trademarks, company names, package design, and unique store layouts are examples of methods you can use to protect your brand equity from other companies who will try to pass off their goods as yours.

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