When it comes to branding, I think it’s safe to say that everyone’s end goal is to achieve brand equity. Brand equity, the inherent value a brand generates when it has become recognizable beyond measure. Brand equity can lead consumers to purchase a brand’s products unequivocally, despite their competitors having comparable and more economical products. Brands such as Coca-Cola, Apple, Netflix, Disney, and McDonald’s, for instance, are extremely recognizable, memorable, and often preferred over similar brands due to their proven superiority in quality and other factors.

But how does a brand achieve this omnipotence in a competitive market? It doesn’t happen overnight, but the Brand Resonance Pyramid provides a good framework for how brands can reach the ultimate loyalty from consumers. The pyramid, consisting of six building blocks within four steps, is comprised of Brand Salience, Performance & Imagery, Judgment & Feeling, and Brand Resonance at the top.

Brand Salience

Brand Salience, the first step of brand-building essentially refers to a brand’s ability to be recognized by consumers. Salience sets the expectation of what a brand’s product offering can do for a consumer based on how well they are able to identify the brand to begin with.

Performance & Imagery

Once the consumer has decided to see what the hype of a product is, they venture into the performance & imagery stage of the pyramid. This is where they decide if the brand was able to deliver on that expectation they formulated in the salience stage and make decisions on factors like the product’s performance, reliability, physical appeal, and price.

Judgement & Feelings

The penultimate stage of the pyramid consists of the elements of judgment and feelings. At this stage, the consumer is making a decision (or judgment) about how they feel about the brand. What does the product’s quality say about the brand? Does the brand have credibility based on the consumer’s positive experience and consideration of the brand? More importantly, does the consumer believe the brand to be superior to its competitors?

Brand Resonance

Finally, at the top of the pyramid lies the brand’s resonance – its ability to inspire consumer loyalty and ultimately generate brand equity. Consumers have reached optimal levels of awareness with this brand, creating a relationship with the brand that transcends mere conscientiousness.

When a brand has reached the resonance stage, it is safe to say that despite the competition, consumers will feel a strong attachment to the brand and its products, choosing that relationship and security over anything a rival may offer. Consumers that have attained brand resonance tend to engage more with the brand and are interested in building community with other consumer who enjoy the brand as well. They are willing to defend the brand and pay more for the products it generates, for that matter.

Started From the Bottom, Now We’re Here

Understanding the Brand Resonance Pyramid is crucial in the marketing process and ensuring a brand’s ultimate success. The pyramid, which describes the building relationship a consumer has with a brand, dictates whether a brand will ascend to the highest heights, or remain stagnant without truly reaching brand equity. Studying trends and consumer behaviors is very important for marketers developing brands to ensure that their target audiences are meeting healthy milestones in awareness. Although success may not happen overnight, just remember, when you’re trying to reach resonance, take it one step at a time.

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