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How to Build Brand Equity If you’re like most successful marketing executives, you understand just how crucial it is to build brand equity. The emotional attachment that links consumers to your product, as opposed to any other, translates into steady cash flow and a fantastic public image, two key ingredients that solidify your company’s position as a market leader. While most advertisers would agree there are certain basic principles of product branding, each advertiser takes a slightly different approach when it comes to launching a marketing campaign. What follows here are the most widely used steps to build brand equity. 1. Target your audience. The surest road to product failure is to try to be all things to all people. 2. Get the consumer’s attention. Here’s where a sound advertising strategy comes into play. Your goal is to create public awareness and then build on that brand. You do this by getting consumers to notice that your product stands out from the rest. a. Design an advertisement in the form of a mailer or an e-mailer. b. Alternatively, send out samples of a new product to a target group. Whichever form you choose, make sure you’re making a great first impression. 3. Make the public remember your brand. Your objective is to make consumers feel an emotional attachment to the brand. a. Plan your marketing campaign around the most distinctive feature of your product, such as its authenticity, high cost or reliability. b. Design marketing materials that help consumers link to the brand by making them perceive special benefits in your product that they cannot find in others. i. For example, advertisements for costly designer handbags create the impression that consumers who purchase them will look like Hollywood socialites. Consumers who view these advertisements accept that the distinctive feature of the handbags-high cost-creates added value that boosts the image of anyone who buys them. 4. Build a solid brand image. Once again, consider your product’s special feature. Add to that the character of your company. Combine these two factors to reinforce an image of the product that reflects favorably on its manufacturer or provider. a. Pick one or two characteristics of your company and emphasize those in every advertisement. Distinctive characteristics include excellent customer service, company executives who are renowned experts in a field or a commitment to social responsibility. 5. Reinforce the brand image within the company. Make sure employees at every level of your organization work and behave in a way that reinforces your brand image. a. Design orientation programs that introduce new hires to your company’s brand image. b. Emphasize your brand image in all employee communications, such as brochures, employee manuals, a company intranet and corporate newsletters. c. Create incentives for employees at all levels who successfully communicate your brand image to the public. i. For example, write an article in the company newsletter that showcases an employee who went beyond his stated job duties to assist a customer with an urgent request.