Brand Equity Research – The Name Game

CMO EXCLUSIVES | February 28, 2013

by Marianne Moore
Partner Strategic Services
Stein + Partners Brand Activation

Here we explore the important (but sometimes overlooked) step of making certain you understand the value of your brand’s current name. Certainly there are many times when a new name is called for, but often we are too quick to jettison the old and bring in the new.


  • The objective of a brand equity study is to get the most relevant and insightful information regarding your company name.
  • Results can clearly show whether a name change is strategically warranted.

It is imperative that we first ask the following questions:

  1. What attributes does the customer associate with the current name?
  2. How does the current name compare to the competition?

A brand equity study is a simple yet effective way to answer these questions. Brand equity research uses a methodology that asks your customers and prospects for the associations and values they ascribe to your current brand name. It can be quantitative (e.g., a robust online survey) or qualitative (e.g., one-on-one interviews or focus groups).The objective is to get the most relevant and insightful information regarding your company name.

An equity study can measure customer/prospect attitudes and perceptions of the current name in terms of relevance, uniqueness, and how compelling it is. Additional findings can identify the desired category benefits and how well the current name aligns with those benefits.

These results can clearly show the present-day equity of the brand and whether a name change is strategically warranted.

An added bonus is that while conducting brand equity research, you might just end up also identifying the essence of a potential new name; this can surface organically through the study. The research, for example, can show emerging customer/prospect needs due to changing market dynamics, or discover a previously unidentified category benefit that is of greater value to your audience than the benefit associated with your current name.

Our agency recently conducted brand equity research for a company that needed to rebrand due to business line expansion and an acquisition. The original company and acquired company both had strong levels of awareness and very positive brand equity.

Taking the results at face value, you’d think we’d keep both company names. What we discovered through deeper analysis changed the internal conversation: The value of the existing brands was anchored in their past, not their future. Our research findings further showed a marketplace that was dynamically changing and customers who were looking for a future-forward company.

We ended up jettisoning existing names and creating a new one oriented around a future vision. That rebranding campaign will kick off soon, so in my next post I’ll be able to provide more details of this exciting case.

Meanwhile, the earlier installments in the name game series can be found at the following links: Step One: The Strategic FrameworkStep Two: Customer Insight, and Step Three: Competitive Analysis.


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1 Comments to “Brand Equity Research – The Name Game”

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