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Retail Expert Explains the Value of Brand Equity

Retail Expert Explains the Value of Brand Equity
by Veronica Ribeiro ’17

Students in the RMI’s advanced retail senior seminar were fortunate to hear former CMO of Yahoo Cammie Dunaway share her insights on the power of brand equity and its ability to impact retailers.

To deconstruct the essence of brand equity, Dunaway asked students to share their favorite retailer and something they liked most about that company. Students listed companies such as Zara, Lush, Patagonia, Nordstrom, and Amazon; each identified an appreciation for qualities such as the company’s style, mission statement, sustainability efforts, customer service, and convenience factor.

Dunaway explained how brand equity is the value that stems from a consumer’s perception of the brand name rather than from any single product. To help us further understand the factors that contribute to strong brand equity, she outlined four key concepts of customer-based brand equity: knowledge, relevance, esteem, and differentiation.

We examined the importance of a customer’s familiarity with a brand, thinking about questions such as, “Is the retailer in a strategic location?” and “Do they do a good job of advertising, particularly to the right people?” We then considered relevance: Does the brand meet a consumer’s needs? Overall, we considered how price points, trends, and category extensions, etc., impacted brand equity.

Dunaway then discussed the importance of esteem in developing strong brand equity. According to her, esteem means that a consumer should associate the brand with quality, leadership, and reliability. It should mean that brands are transparent, involved in their communities, and offer compelling experiences. Finally, she discussed the significance of differentiation. How unique is a given brand? Is it differentiating through technology, exclusivity, or both?

Dunaway explained the financial impact that brand equity can have on a company. By considering the impacts on customer acquisition costs, retention costs, and profit margins, Dunaway proved that brand equity can and does make a concrete financial difference— something that often goes unnoticed by retailers.

Using Amazon as an example for applying our new knowledge of brand equity, Dunaway challenged us to identify the ways in which the pillars of customer-based brand equity helped make Amazon the model retailer it is today. Through our time spent with her, we learned the value of developing and maintaining strong brand equity in a company—it really does make all the difference.

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Nordstrom EVP of Merchandising - Teri
Bariquit - shares the Nordstrom Love
speaking to retail studies students in
Senior Seminar MKTG 168 about the
iconic stores history, the importance
of customer service, the 2016 Holiday
Love, campaign and the art of



Heather Woudstra, Esther Parks recruiters
for Gap inc, with Edmon Arsiaga ‘12 and
Antoinette Marrerro ‘14 from Old Navy -
shared the fabulous opportunities available
to RMI students working for the Company
established 46 years ago - growing from
a single store to a global fashion business
with five brands — Gap, Banana Republic,
Old Navy, Athleta and Intermix. Gap’s
clothes are available in 90 countries
worldwide through 3,300 company-operated
stores, almost 400 franchise stores, and
e-commerce sites and is still growing.