What is personal brand equity?
Personal brand equity is the influence that your brand has on the consumers’ buying decisions. It is the monetary measure of the effect your brand name has on the customer’s response to the products or services. Brand equity is extremely hard to quantify, but worth considering when measuring the return on investment ROI of your branding efforts. In an article published in The Balance, it described brand equity as the something that “translates into consumer goodwill and propensity to prefer or buy a branded product or service” (DeVault 2017).
As we continue to understand what personal branding is, why it is important, and how you can build it, it’s vital that we also touch on brand equity and recognize how this affects our personal branding.
The more powerful the brand, the higher the brand equity.
For example, if I was hosting a cocktail party and you are invited. Would you be more likely to come if you knew Sir Richard Branson is going to there? If the answer is yes, then Richard Branson’s brand has persuaded you into making a decision. This is the power of his brand.
And the measure of how my target customers (invitees) respond to Richard Branson’s brand is the measure of his brand equity. The important thing to remember is that the brand equity is measured in response to my target audience. So his brand equity may be different for another target audience.
Example: Jamie Oliver’s Brand Equity
Here is another example: the celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s brand equity is important to endorsing any food-related products. However, his brand equity is not high enough to endorse sporting equipment. You would need to find someone else suitable for that. So Jamie Oliver’s brand equity is a fluid phenomenon which changes value depending on the situation. To measure it, you need to find out the exact monetary value increase with his endorsement and without his endorsements. This requires looking as past data and making educated estimates of hypothetical scenarios.
Example: Stephen Curry’s Brand Equity
Two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry has been instrumental to the rise and continued success of athletic brand Under Armour. Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank was even quoted telling investors of “plans on building a billion dollar basketball brand revolving around Curry (Harris 2017).” This only goes to show how valuable the basketball star’s personal brand is to Under Armour, more particularly to the younger market.
Curry and his management team knows what the brand is about and puts a high value on the equity of his name. In an interview, Jeff Austin, Curry’s agent and managing director of Octagon Sports’ basketball division said in an interview, “Curry only endorses brands if there is a natural connection. There is a natural fit between the Curry and Under Armour because of their underdog backgrounds. The quality of the brand, the authenticity to his lifestyle, creative use of him, and, of course, a brand he uses himself is really important in a business relationship (Harris 2017).” This illustrates that the best way for Curry to elevate his brand equity is to find the best brand fit, where his fans and the Under Armour target market intersect.
4 Measures of Brand Equity
Brand equity is important in building your personal brand. Thus, it’s critical to know if you are progressing so you know what you can do to improve or pursue in order to reach your goal. Ad agency Young & Rubicam’s BrandAsset Valuator measures brand strength along four consumer perception dimensions:
1. Differentiation (what makes your brand different and stand out)
2. Relevance (how consumer feel your brand meets their needs)
3. Knowledge (how much consumers know about your brand)
4. Esteem (how highly consumers know about your brand)
These four dimensions are grouped into two qualifiers to better understand and appreciate them. Differentiation and Relevance falls under the Brand Vitality umbrella while Knowledge and Esteem belong to the Brand Stature group. This means, to understand your brand equity, you need to look at the present influence (Brand Stature) and the potential growth of your brand (Brand Vitality).
Example: Gary Vaynerchuck’s Brand Equity
Take wine expert Gary Vaynerchuck as an example. He owned and built his expertise and reputation by educating himself about wines and the business. “Vaynerchuk spent years reading wine magazines while working the cash register at his parents’ liquor store. To further self-educate, he tasted obscure fruits, grass, dirt, rocks, tobacco, and wood – all tastes associated with wine (Entrepreneur 2017).” He later on turned on the family business to the Wine Library and there, he was able to build his expertise. What started as a liquor store business has turned into a $45 million enterprise and that boy who learned the industry and business on his own is now the expert teaching and mentoring ‘millions of oenophiles through an active online forum, Twitter, and Facebook (Entrepreneur 2017).”
As he built his company, Vaynerchuck is able to concurrently build his own brand. He was able to improve his personal brand’s power as he established their business. The success of their company allowed him to own the acknowledgment and respect of the industry.
Build your brand equity through personal branding
These examples show how brand equity is essential to your personal brand. You can start by gaining a better understanding of the market, your competitors and your target audience. And then establish your personal brand positioning.
Understanding your brand equity will help you bring your brand to your desired success – which means having the power to relate, connect, and influence your target market.
“Brand Equity Models and Measurement.” Insight Association. N.p., 24 May 2016. http://www.insightsassociation.org/issues-policies/best-practice/brand-equity-models-and-measurement. 10 Apr. 2017.
Cyrus. “20 Inspiring Gary Vaynerchuk Quotes.” Goalcast. N.p., 15 Aug. 2016. https://www.goalcast.com/2016/06/21/20-inspiring-gary-vaynerchuk-quotes/. 10 Apr. 2017.
DeVault, Gigi. “6 Steps to Measure Brand Equity.” The Balance. N.p., 15 Oct. 2016. https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-measure-brand-equity-2296827. 09 Apr. 2017.
Leadem, Rose, Nina Zipkin, and Matthew McCreary. “10 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand.” Entrepreneur. N.p., 02 June 2010. https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/205885#1. 10 Apr. 2017.
McCann, Michael, et al. “Sports News, Scores and Highlights from Sports Illustrated | SI.com.” Sports illustrated. N.p., 30 Dec. 2015. http://sportsillustrated.com.ph/US/nba/2015/12/30/warriors-stephen-curry-under-armour-brand-marketing-superstar. 10 Apr. 2017.
“Measuring Brand Value. Explanation of the Brand Asset Valuator of Young & Rubicam .” 12Manage . N.p., n.d. http://www.12manage.com/methods_brand_asset_valuator.html. 11 May 2017.
Schultz., E.J. “Under Armour Has High Hopes for Stephen Curry Shoe Launch in Battle Against Nike.” Ad Age. N.p., 08 Jan. 2015. http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/armour-high-hopes-stephen-curry-shoe/296517/. 10 Apr. 2017.
Vitberg, Alan. “Developing Your Personal Brand Equity.” Journal of Accountancy. N.p., 01 July 2010. http://www.journalofaccountancy.com/issues/2010/jul/20092245.html. 10 Apr. 2017.
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