A few words about the power of brand associations

The strength of brand associations is a key element that determines what information is recalled from memory with the moment the user thinks of, hears or reads the brand name. Positive and strong associations evoked from memory make the user differentiate the brand from its competitors and approach it as a unique brand. In the absence of such associations, the user perceives the brand as similar to others.

The power of association that creates a brand image can be reinforced by the feelings that accompany the use of the brand, through non-commercial information such as friends' opinions and information derived from analyses and consumer rankings or the communication that companies carry out.

The strength of a brand's connotation depends on the number of sources of its origin. For example, the association of the McDonald's brand with children would be weaker if the source were only brand advertisements featuring children. On the other hand, mini-playgrounds in restaurants, children's birthday parties and toys with the company's logo have had a significant impact on strengthening this association. However, it is important to bear in mind that the strength of the association will weaken the more time passes since the last contact with the information creating the association. This time will be counted from the moment: when the brand was last used, when the last contact with non-commercial information about the brand took place (i.e. friends' opinions or analyses from consumer rankings), and finally from the moment of the last contact with marketing and communication activities on the part of companies.

This is why it becomes imperative that the messages that shape these associations are repeated as often as possible and that care is taken to ensure that they reach the target group. Associations relating to functional characteristics and benefits are formed through direct contact with the brand. In contrast, associations related to the type of buyer, the personality of the brand or the situation of use are highly influenced by the information that results from the communication. In the case where the brand is in the launch phase or the user has not yet had the opportunity to try it out, all associations associated with the brand are the result of communication.


Text author: Filip

Source: Keller K.L., Strategic Brand Management: Building, Measuring and Managing Brand Equity, Practice Hall, Upper Saddle River 1998, p.103.

Aaker D.A., Managing Brand Equity: Capitalizing on the Value of a Brand Name The Free Press, New York 1991, p.109