Innovations in Defining and Measuring Brand Image

Martin S. Roth, Boston College
The purpose of this session was to present new and innovative research in conceptualizing and measuring brand image. Brand image can be defined as the meaning consumers develop about the brand as a result of the firm's marketing activities. Thus brand image encompasses the holistic interpretation consumers have about a brand, and the meaning, or personal relevance, they ascribe to it. Understanding and managing brand images are thus central to the satisfaction of customer needs. For managers, measuring brand image is important both for determining the brand's position vis-a-vis competitors, and to insure that target markets internalize the brand's marketing cues in the manner intended by management.
[ to cite ]:
Martin S. Roth (1994) ,"Innovations in Defining and Measuring Brand Image", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 21, eds. Chris T. Allen and Deborah Roedder John, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 495.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 21, 1994      Page 495

INNOVATIONS IN DEFINING AND MEASURING BRAND IMAGE

Martin S. Roth, Boston College

The purpose of this session was to present new and innovative research in conceptualizing and measuring brand image. Brand image can be defined as the meaning consumers develop about the brand as a result of the firm's marketing activities. Thus brand image encompasses the holistic interpretation consumers have about a brand, and the meaning, or personal relevance, they ascribe to it. Understanding and managing brand images are thus central to the satisfaction of customer needs. For managers, measuring brand image is important both for determining the brand's position vis-a-vis competitors, and to insure that target markets internalize the brand's marketing cues in the manner intended by management.

The first paper by George Zinkhan and Penelope Prenshaw examined consumer images of the "good life," and how these related to brand names. Data collected across multiple countries was presented. The paper "Good Life Images and Brand Name Associations: Evidence from Asia, America, and Europe" is in the Conference Proceedings.

The second paper by Marty Roth reported findings of a study investigating the effectiveness of brand image research techniques and formats. Four research techniques (free association, brand personality, brand symbols, and brand personification) and two formats (moderated focus groups and surveys) were compared for their ability to elicit brand image information. Data was collected for two products C Reebok athletic shoes and Haagen-Dazs ice cream. Elicitations were examined across multiple image dimensions (e.g., features and benefits, uniqueness, usage occasions). The imagery information elicited was then related to purchase intentions and purchase frequency. Results were presented showing that research techniques vary in their ability to capture various dimensions of brand images, and that some imagery dimensions are more effective than others in explaining consumer purchase intentions and product usage frequency. Taken together, the results provided insights into selecting research techniques and formats for capturing the most meaningful image perceptions consumers possess about brands.

The third paper by Robin Higie and Gerald Zaltman showed an application of the Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique for capturing brand images. The paper described the ten steps used to incorporate visual and verbal information into mental maps representing how consumer think and feel about brands. Their paper "Using the Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique to Understand Brand Images" appears in the Conference Proceedings.

A concluding discussion by Susan Nelson highlighted the practical applications of the three research projects. In particular, increased client and research supplier attention to brand image, brand equity, and corporate identity issues reinforced the importance of the research presented. Suggestions for continued theory development, method advancements, and practical applications were offered.

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