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Industrial Marketing Management 39 (2010) 776783

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Industrial Marketing Management

Managing industrial brand equity: Developing tangible benets for intangible assets
Judith Lynne Zaichkowsky , Myles Parlee, Jeanette Hill
Faculty of Business Administration, Simon Fraser University, 500 Granville Street, Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6C 1W6

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 15 September 2008
Received in revised form 8 March 2009
Accepted 2 June 2009
Available online 21 March 2010
Brand equity
Intangible assets
BrandAsset Valuator

a b s t r a c t
Young and Rubicam's (Y&R) BrandAsset Valuator (BAV), commonly used to assess brand equity in
consumer markets, was applied to assess the brand health of an industrial B2B supplier. Customers were
asked questions about perceived esteem, relevance, knowledge and differentiation of the company to nd its
strengths and weaknesses. The results were then plotted to reveal the overall customer perception of the
company and also its competitors. Through this plot, the strategic direction how to improve the brand equity
of the company became clear. Evidence suggests that the BAV can be used in industrial markets to assess the
brand equity of the rm.
2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
The concept of brand equity, or the sustainable added value of a
brand name, has been the focus of marketing since the early 1990s (e.g.,
Aaker, 1996a; Keller, 1993). Some of the major interdependent factors
that contribute to brand equity in consumer markets are brand
awareness, brand association, perceived quality, and brand loyalty.
What every marketer is very interested in is loyalty. Measuring the
equity of a brand and determining its value are a must for predicting the
loyalty of one's present customers and also acquiring new ones. While
most of the brand equity literature pertains to consumer markets, it is
clear there is great relevance of the concept of brand equity to industrial
markets (e.g., Rauyruen & Miller, 2007), as both types of marketing
organizations are concerned about acquiring new customers and
keeping current ones highly satised.
The B2B and buyer behaviour literature highlights the value of
tangible and intangible brand assets in creating brand equity. Both types
of assets affect the customer's perception in regards to product
performance, distribution, services and company image. What differentiates companies in both markets goes far beyond the easily measured
tangible dimensions of objective product quality and price (Frederick,
2004; Michell, 2001; Mudambi, 1997). The intangible concepts of
relationship quality and relationship value are well articulated and
integrated to the B2B literature (e.g., Walter, Ritter & Gemunden, 2001;
Walter et al., 2003; Ulaga & Eggert, 2005). Capturing the value of these
intangible assets and using that information in a concrete manner to
improve the standing and perception of the company is a primary goal in
industrial brand management.

Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 778 782 7710.

E-mail address: zaichkow@sfu.ca (J.L. Zaichkowsky).
0019-8501/$ see front matter 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

The concept of branding B2B companies is not new (Mudambi, Doyle

& Wong, 1997; Mudambi 2002), but prior studies have not measured the
brand equity of the company as a whole, especially focusing on intangible
assets. It is the purpose of this study to broadly measure the tangible and
intangible assets that make up the brand equity of an industrial company
in order to be diagnostic and predictive about how customers perceive the
value of the rm. The tool that is chosen for this task is the Young and
Rubicam (Y&R) model which valuates brand equity for thousands of
consumer brands around the world, mainly in the consulting domain
(Value Based Management, 2005). While brand valuation has been clearly
established for consumer products through the Y&R BrandAsset
Valuator (Aaker, 1996b), a comprehensive approach to industrial
brand valuation, including specic dimensions relevant to industrial
brands, has not been established using this methodology.
Adapting the Y&R BrandAsset Valuator (BAV) (1994) to measure
industrial brand assets can help identify what makes the company
distinct; identify the dimensions of the brand/company that help to
differentiate it from competitors; and can help the marketing and
branding efforts to identify strengths and improve weaknesses within
the company. Using this brand diagnostic tool frequently can help
monitor the progress of the branding efforts and manage the brand
strategy accordingly. Identifying and managing a brand's tangible and
intangible assets can help to increase company protability, customer
retention, and also affect brand perception in the community.
This paper presents an initial exploratory study which examines the
application of the Young and Rubicam BrandAsset Valuator to an
industrial company in a B2B environment, in order to measure the
company's brand assets and generate a brand management strategy to
increase the strength of customer relationships. The manuscript outlines
branding in the B2B literature, and then briey reviews the concepts of
tangible and intangible assets to B2B and how they may be measured.
The Y&R BAV, as a measure of brand equity, and its relevant dimensions
are discussed. The application to the B2B domain is then carried out

J.L. Zaichkowsky et al. / Industrial Marketing Management 39 (2010) 776783

through a large scale data collection of those responsible for purchasing

from an international company. The brand equity of the company and its
competitors were derived from the analyses and plotted against each
other to give insight to how customers perceive the options for sourcing.
Finally suggestions for applications and future research are given at the
end of the paper.


to attract more business from the highly tangible cluster may focus on
the many tangible, quantiable, and objective benets of the product
itself, and of the manufacturer behind the product. These ndings are
important to keep in mind for understanding why different marketing
strategies may be needed for different types of customers.
2.2. Tangible and intangible assets create value and loyalty

2. Literature review
2.1. Adapting brand equity to the B2B market
Keller's (1993) customer-based brand equity model was applied to
measure brand valuation in a B2B context (Kuhn, Alpha, & Pope, 2008).
The research found that, amongst organisational buyers, there is greater
emphasis on the selling organisation including its corporate brand,
credibility and staff, than there is on individual brands and their
associated dimensions. In the B2B brand equity pyramid, customer
feelings are replaced by salesforce relationships in accordance with the
experience based focus of B2B brand equity. Also imagery is replaced by
reputation, focusing on the intangible brand assets most relevant to B2B
organizations. The current thinking about the B2B brand equity
structure is shown in Fig. 1.
One may think of the bottom layer as what does the customer
know about the company?, or the customer's objective knowledge of
the corporation. The second layer of performance and reputation can
be thought of the corporation and its reliability. The third and fourth
layers of the pyramid may be the more intangible assets of relationships so often thought as vital to any B2B company. The value of the
B2B brand pyramid may be in understanding that customers must
know who the company is and what it stands for, before relationships
can be built.
Mudambi (2002) demonstrated the relevance of industry segments
to different branding strategies. A survey of industry buyers categorized
respondents into three groups: highly tangible (47%); branding
receptive (37%); and low interest (14%). The major nding of this
classication is that branding is not equally important to all companies,
customers, or in all purchase situations. The branding receptive cluster
could be described as large volume, more sophisticated companies who
viewed the purchase as highly important and risky. Therefore a
branding strategy focusing on customers in this cluster might
communicate the potential importance of the purchase decision.
A strategy for the low interest group might focus on attractive
product catalogues and web sites in an attempt to increase buyer
interest in the product and in the purchase decision. Branding strategies

The industrial brand management literature presents strong and

consistent evidence for the role of intangible assets, such as competence,
attitudes, and relationships in value creation for business-to-business
rms (e.g., Baxter & Matear, 2004). Shifting trends in buyersupplier
relationships have transformed these intangible aspects of the rm into
imperative sources of competitive advantage for distributors, particularly in terms of service support. The literature highlights the causal
aspects of relationship value on relationship quality, illustrating how
companies develop close buyersupplier relationships to navigate
increasing competition. Walter et al. (2001) nd that both the direct
and indirect functions of a customer relationship can create perceived
value for the rm and Ulaga & Eggert (2006a) nd that relationship
value has a strong impact on customer satisfaction. Relationship value is
therefore rooted in both tangible and intangible asset dimensions, and
provides a basis for developing business with individual clients.
As for the lower layers of the brand equity pyramid (Fig. 1) service
support and personal interaction have been shown to be strong
differentiators, while product quality and delivery performance play a
moderate role in helping rms to improve their brand equity. Most
importantly price shows the weakest potential for differentiation in
the study by Ulaga and Eggert (2006b), solidifying a renewed focus on
intangible assets.
Relationship value in a business-to-business setting was found to be
different between buyers and suppliers (Ulaga & Eggert, 2005).
Suppliers tended to emphasize relationship benets, while buyers
focused on relationship sacrices. And relationship benets, in general,
tended to be correlated with an overall value measure. Further research
suggests that relationship value is an antecedent to relationship quality,
indicating that relationship value has the potential to increase buyers'
business with a supplier and to increase overall satisfaction (Ulaga &
Eggert, 2006b). Counter intuitively, despite the results of relationship
value on relationship quality, the impact of relationship value on both
commitment and trust were shown to be weak. Another study, close to
this area, on industry image and corporate branding found a connection
to commitment and trust through perceived relevance of the company
(Burmann, Schaffer, & Maloney 2008).

Fig. 1. A revised customer-based brand equity pyramid for B2B.

Source: Kuhn et al., 2008.


J.L. Zaichkowsky et al. / Industrial Marketing Management 39 (2010) 776783

In summary, the value of relationships in B2B is clearly evident as

industrial marketing deals with a variety of customers in varying
purchasing roles throughout the value chain and across industries.
The quality of this relationship at the organizational level is said to be
a major factor in B2B customer loyalty (Rauyruen & Miller, 2007). The
company/brand assets in the B2B setting may be systematically
measured through intangible and tangible features to understand the
value and meaning of the brand to varying purchaser requirements,
which in turn should increase loyalty.
2.3. Measuring tangible and intangible assets in B2B
Product performance, distribution performance, support services
performance, and company performance are identied as key performance dimensions with each component integrating tangible and
intangible assets to the value of the company/brand. Many products in
industrial markets have nearly identical physical specications and
performance, but certain companies successfully maintain a higher
market share, even at a premium price. The question arises as to what
differentiates the successful company from its competitors, in addition
to relationships, in the eyes of the customer. The explanation lies with
customer perception of superior value, as outlined in the four previously
mentioned purchase dimensions, shown in Table 1 and described below
(Mudambi, 1997).
Product performance is the core of the brand value base, centering
on the primary physical product or service performance. On a tangible
level it can be quantied in terms of number of defects and/or product
life, and demonstrated to the customer through statistical data.
However, Mudambi (1997) notes that while two products may have
identical failure rate histories, a production manager may rate one as
more reliable or of higher quality than the other because of prior
experience or due to other inuences. The critical point of in-depth
knowledge about product performance is that buyers can develop
expertise through their purchase experiences and this can affect the
decision process, even when alternatives appear identical (Garvin
(1987): cf. Mudambi, 1997).
Distribution performance is concerned with ordering, availability, and
delivery. Industrial manufacturers require effective distribution performance rated by tangible quantied measures, such as lead times, the
number of late deliveries, and the presence of on-line ordering systems.
Intangible elements include the ease of ordering, general reliability, and
the willingness and ability to respond in an emergency.
Support services performance includes the provision of services that
add to the basic product (Mudambi, 1997). The primary dimensions
are technical support, training, and nancial support services, as part
of the standard offer or as an additional charge. Tangibles include
which services are offered, the times and number of staff available,
and coverage of nancial guarantees. Intangibles might include
notions of service quality and the degree of rapport between the
service providers and the customer. Suppliers routinely try to
measure customer satisfaction with the service support, as distinct
from satisfaction with the product itself.
Company performance encompasses the view of the company as a
whole. The underlying assumption is that industrial purchasers prefer to
conduct business with companies that are relatively stable, successful,
reliable, and culturally compatible. Tangible evaluations of a company

Table 1
Tangible and intangible attributes for purchase decisions in B2B markets.
(Adapted from Mudambi, 1997).

Tangible attributes

Intangible attributes

Support services

Fit, no defects
Lead time
Range of services

Reliable, high tech

Reliable, no hassles
Expertise, rapport
Reputation, image

include measures of nancial stability, such as reported protability and

market share. Intangible elements include company reputation, quality
image, and country of origin. Gross (1994) described this aspect as the
relationship value, and included in it factors such as technical
potential, reliability, pleasantness, and trustworthiness (c.f. Mudambi,
These four performance dimensions of product, distribution, support
services and company can be easily thought of as brand assets within the
consumer perception framework used by marketing researchers and
managers to measure the equity of their brand in the marketplace. The
goal is to integrate these four performance dimensions to the broader
brand equity measures that are used in the consumer marketing

2.4. Y&R BrandAsset Valuator

The Y&R BrandAsset Valuator is used widely to valuate consumer
brands across a multitude of countries. It has been demonstrated in the
scholarly literature to be useful in developing brand strategy when one
has a portfolio of brands. Chernatony (1996) found that management's
adherence to the BAV taxonomies can help to overcome conicting
opinions amongst team members regarding brand categorization in
order to capitalize on the growing importance of gaining competitive
advantage through brand management.
Research has used the BAV to demonstrate a link between brand
equity and shareholder value, which could also have applications
toward industrial branding (Pahud de Mortanges & van Riel, 2003).
Here a longitudinal study (of 1100 brands over time) examined how
brand management decisions using the Y&R power grid, inuenced
brand equity. Brand equity was found to be linked to an increase in
shareholder value demonstrating that branding does not only create
value for customers but also for shareholders.
More commonly, the BAV is used as a consulting tool to help brand
managers understand their brand standing in the marketplace. Each
year about 20,000 brands are surveyed over 23,000 consumers in 44
countries (2008, www.valuebasedmanagement.net). The Y&R Power
Grid illustrates the position of a company in terms of brand stature
and brand strength as a starting point for performance measurement
and strategic brand management decisions1.
The BAV investigates the strength of brands, within and across
product categories, through four universal dimensions of differentiation, relevance, esteem, and knowledge. Differentiation is the ability to
stand apart from its competitors, or the uniqueness of the brand/
company. What does the brand have (that is important to customers)
and its competitors do not? Relevance captures the personal appropriateness and or importance of the brand to the individual customer.
Esteem refers to the perceived quality and even popularity vis--vis its
competitors. Finally, knowledge is what does the customer actually
know about the brand and understand about its identity.
The above attributes are then added to form two new dimensions
named Stature and Strength, and they are used to plot the brand
perception on an axis. Brand Stature adds together esteem and
knowledge; esteem is holding the brand in high regard, while
knowledge measures if consumers understand the brand's meaning.
Brand strength adds together relevance and differentiation; relevance
may be how well the product ts their specic needs and differentiation
may be thought of how differently the customer perceives the brand
from competitors. Brand strength is also called brand vitality because it
relates to the ability of the company to grow. One may think that if the
brand scores higher on Strength and Stature, relative to other brands,
the more loyal the customer may be because other brands just are not
For a live demonstration in the consumer market one might log onto http://www.
brandassetvaluator.com.au (2008) and click on brand demo.

J.L. Zaichkowsky et al. / Industrial Marketing Management 39 (2010) 776783

2.5. Summary of literature review and objectives of the study

The Y&R BAV captures the four dimensions of customer's perceptions of a company's brand; namely relevance, esteem, differentiation
and knowledge. These can be adapted to the B2B setting along with the
broad perceptual business purchase attribute dimensions of company,
product, distribution, and support services. That is, how does the
business customer view the company in terms of relevance, esteem,
differentiation, and what do they actually know about the company they
choose to source from? Furthermore are there different views among
different segments of customers? For example, do perceptions vary
between customers who mainly use a single supplier versus those who
have multiple suppliers?
This paper presents an initial exploratory study of how a customer
questionnaire may be used to measure the four dimensions of the Y&R
BAV with particular attention paid to tangible and intangible
dimensions relevant to industrial brands used to formulate a brand
strategy. The company used for this case has no documented brand
strategy, does not know the current value of the company brand, they
are concerned there is little community knowledge of the company
despite years of community involvement, and the company thinks its
current customers seem to know little about them.
3. The empirical study
3.1. Dataset
The company used to test out the Y&R BAV model to the B2B market
is a privately held international engineering company with ofces in
both North and South America. It has been in business for over 60 years
and acts as a supplier to many different types of companies in primary
and secondary production (e.g., mining, transportation, food processing,
utilities, etc.). It produces no goods itself, nor builds any components. It
only acts as a middle-man supplying other businesses with what they
A total list of 1850 customers, (local, national and international) who
currently purchase from Company A were given to the researchers. The
list contained email addresses and positions of all current customers who
place orders to Company A. No phone numbers or detailed addresses
were on the list and the position descriptions were extremely varied, from
engineers to ofce clerks. Therefore an on-line survey was deemed to be
the best method to collect data. A questionnaire was developed and
placed on Survey Monkey, an on-line research tool. Customers were
contacted by email, the research was explained, and then respondents
had to click on the provided link to access the questionnaire.
3.2. The measures
Questions were developed, with the help of Company A, which were
thought to best represent the company along the four dimensions of
differentiation, relevance, esteem, and knowledge. These four dimensions were matched up to the four performance areas of the 1) company,
2) distribution, 3) support services, and 4) product found in the B2B
literature. Initial questions were pretested within the company for
clarity, understanding, and direct links to the four dimensions. Changes
were made to the questions based on the feedback from the company
pretest. Some of the questions were stated in the negative to force the
respondent's attention and inuence reliability. The questionnaire was
then formatted for on-line delivery.
The differentiation questions tried to identify areas where Company
A was actually different than its major competitors: e.g., Company A
services remote areas that are not serviced by other companies and
Company A works with local communities. Differentiation was a
difcult area to develop questions and only two questions ended up
being reliable enough to represent this area. The relevance questions
related to the personal link customers had to Company A: e.g., Company


A's product lines meet my company's needs; Company A knows very

little about my technical needs (reverse); My company has a long
relationship with Company A; and It is important for me to do business
with A over competitors.
The esteem questions pertained to perceptions of a strong reputation
for Company A: e.g., Company A is respected for its effective distribution
system; Company A is not a leader in the distribution industry (reverse);
Other companies have better technical expertise than A (reverse); and
Company A provides the best service for the price charged. The
knowledge questions pertained to actual facts about Company A: e.g.,
Company A has been in business over 60 years and Company A has a
strong presence in North America. Respondents were asked to rate each
statement, on a ve point Likert scale: 1 = strongly disagree to 5 =
strongly agree. The responses to each question were added within each
dimension and then divided by 5 to give a score of 15 on each of the
four areas.
In addition to the BAV dimensions, questions were asked about
performance of Company A on key attributes usual for B2B purchase
decisions. The tangible attributes were price, product quality, and on-time
delivery and the intangible assets were technical support and customer
service. The survey went further to a branching question which divided
clients based on whether they did business with only Company A and
those who did business with Company A and others/competitors. This
question was designed to investigate whether those customers who
single sourced from Company A had signicantly different perceptions of
the brand equity of Company A than those customers who bought from
Company A, plus others (multi-sourced). Therefore each respondent was
asked if they also buy goods from a competitor of Company A. If they did
source from other companies, they were asked to name their alternate
supplier and rate that company on the same attributes of price, quality,
technical support, service, and delivery.
Lastly the survey asked a series of demographically and geographically
related questions in order to measure how representative the sample was
with regards to the client base of Company A. These questions included:
what position the respondent held within the company; the geographic
region, the major type of industry; the number of employees in the
company, and nally the yearly revenue of each company.
4. Results
Of the 1850 initial emailings, over half of the addresses were
bounced back to the researchers and not deliverable due to company
spam lters or perhaps an out-of-date contact address. There were
900 non-returned emails and 199 respondents. Of these 199, 28 were
incomplete and not used in the analyses. Therefore a total of 171
complete responses resulted in an effective 19% response rate. This
response rate is comparable to a similar B2B on-line survey of 20.8%
by Rauyruen and Miller (2007).
The prole of the sample is presented in Table 2. As the researchers
did not have detailed information about the demographics of the
companies beforehand, only the email addresses, we could not do a
chi-square test to determine the representativeness of the sample to
the population. However, Company A looked at the prole of the
sample and felt it very accurately reected their business customers,
in terms type of industry, size of company and value of orders. No
conclusions could be drawn on the sales volume of their customers or
job titles of purchasers. Of the 171 companies who responded, 38.5%
were single source and 61.5% were multiple source customers. This
was new information to Company A, as they had no records of exactly
how many of their current customers sourced from other suppliers.
The respondents were analysed for differences in company proles
between single and multiple source customers. There were no
differences between the single source customers and multiple source
customers on the annual sales revenue of the companies, the value of the
orders they placed with Company A, and the size of the organizations.
There were differences between the two groups of customers on the


J.L. Zaichkowsky et al. / Industrial Marketing Management 39 (2010) 776783

Table 2
Prole of customer respondents.
N = 171

N = 67

N = 104


Single source

Multiple source

Annual sales revenue of customer

Under $10 million
$10$25 million
$25$50 million
Over $50 million
2 = n.s.




Value of orders (yearly)

Under $50,000
Over $500,000
2 = n.s.




Number of employees
Over 400
2 = n.s




Industry sector
Pulp and paper
Forestry and lumber
Food and agriculture
Oil and gas
2 = 152, df = 5, p b .01




Job title of who is liaising order

Mechanical/technical engineer
Maintenance technician
2 = 18.4, df = 4, p b .001




industry sector, as more single source customers of Company A were in

the pulp and paper and forestry business. Also the job title of the person
who was on the contact list, or the liaise person for ordering from
Company A, was different between single source customers and multiple
source customers. More technical people placed the orders for Company
A under single sourcing, while more people strictly in purchasing
positions dealt with multiple companies. The relevance of this difference
in respondent will be discussed later.
4.1. The Y&R BrandAsset Valuator
The questions for each of the four dimensions were checked for
reliability. Overall the dimensions of relevance and esteem were very
reliable with Cronbach Alphas of .68 and .72 and each had four
composite questions. The dimensions of knowledge and differentiation
only had two questions each and had correlations of .30 and .44. These
two dimensions had factual questions in which people may have been
unsure of their answers. The respondents did not systematically answer
these pairs of questions and they likely had a rather weak cognitive
structure about the facts about Company A and/or how Company A was
different than its competitors. Nevertheless, the questions asked had
objective information that accurately reected the behaviour and
attributes of Company A. While stronger correlations would be better,
the two questions in each dimension were signicantly correlated to
each other and were added together for purposes of these analyses2.

An alternative solution might have been to pick one item to represent each
dimension. However there would have been no differences in the result.

The results showed that single source customers perceived greater

differentiation among suppliers; thought Company A was more
relevant to them; and held a higher opinion of Company A than
those companies who multi-sourced (p b .05). The means and
standard deviations for the responses to the dimensions are in
Table 3. All customers scored relatively low on knowledge, as very few
respondents could condently identify any facts about Company A.
This was despite, the fact, Company A has been in business over
60 years and many of the customers were long standing.
The dimensions of differentiation and relevance were added
together to create the dimension of brand strength (vitality), and
knowledge and esteem scores were added together to create the
dimension of brand stature. These two co-ordinates are plotted in
Fig. 2 and the distance between single source customers and multiple
source customers is signicant (p b .05). This means that single source
customers perceived the brand equity of Company A as higher than
those who used multiple sources. However, even among single source
customers, Company A's perceived strength and stature is far from the
top right hand corner of the BAV grid. As scores were closer to neutral,
rather than strongly agree, on the dimensions of differentiation and
knowledge, this brings down the perception of brand strength and
stature. The reader can see that Company A still has lots of room to
improve their strength and stature in the minds of all their customers.
4.2. Purchase attributes
All respondents were asked to rate the purchase attribute performance of Company A on price, product quality, on-time delivery, and
technical support/customer service on a scale from 1 = poor to 5 =
excellent. Here interesting and signicant differences were found
between single source and multiple source companies on their
perception of Company A for product quality, on-time delivery and
technical support/customer service (p b .01). The price of the goods
shipped was also perceived to be signicantly better among those only
buying from Company A (p b .05). See Table 4 for the results.
Looking at only the responses from the multiple source companies
between Company A and other companies they source from, no
differences were found for the perceptions on price, on-time delivery,
and quality. However, even companies who multi-sourced saw
Company A as having better technical support and after-sales service
than their competitors. This identies a great opportunity for
Company A to capitalize on these intangible assets for differentiating
itself from competitors.
4.3. Classifying groups
Discriminant analysis was used to try and reclassify the single
source and multiple source customers based on their responses to the
questionnaire to try and determine what really sets apart the two
groups. Both the four areas of BAV questions and the four purchase
attributes were put into the equation. Seventy-one percent of the
respondents were correctly classied, mainly by the questions of ontime delivery, relevance, technical support, and differentiation. The
Table 3
Young and Rubicam BrandAsset Valuator dimension scores of Company A.

(differentiation + relevance)
(esteem + knowledge)

*p b .05; **p b .01.

Single source customers

(N= 67)

Multiple source customers





3.53 (.35)


3.35 (.46)**

J.L. Zaichkowsky et al. / Industrial Marketing Management 39 (2010) 776783


Fig. 2. Perceived brand equity of Company A: Differences between single and multiple source customers.

analysis was repeated adding in the demographic characteristics of

the companies responding and this increased the classication by only
2% (see Table 5).
The main demographic variable which discriminated between the
two groups was the role of the purchaser. Based on these results, and the
previous BAV analyses, messages around the tangible benets of on-time
delivery and after-sales service/technical support were identied as the
best and main messages to use to gain the intangible benets of reliability
and expertise, which also translate into brand strength and stature.
5. Discussion and conclusions
The study investigated a real company on how their brand equity
was perceived in the marketplace. Using the Y&R BrandAsset Valuator,
questions pertaining to different areas of relevance, esteem, differentiation, and knowledge were developed and administered to company
customers along with questions about the tangible and intangible
purchase attributes. Overall the brand equity perception of Company A
was stronger among its single source customers than it was among
customers who multi-sourced. The plot of the BAV strength and stature
dimensions showed Company A has an opportunity to increase their
brand equity standing in the marketplace through improving their
customer's knowledge of the company and also differentiating
themselves in the eyes of those customers from their competitors.
Improving their standing on these two areas should, in turn, contribute
to increased perceived company strength and stature.
As the results showed that all customers had low knowledge of the
actual company facts, increasing the information available to customers
about the company was deemed a primary goal. Recommendations to

Table 4
Evaluation of company attributes by single and multiple source customers.

Product quality
On-time delivery
Technical support/customer

Company A
Single source
N = 67

Company A
Multiple source
N = 104

Multiple source
N = 104


3.33 (.65)b*
3.97 (.67)b**
3.69 (.88)b**
3.91 (.94)b**

3.38 (.72)b
3.91 (.65)b
3.69 (.78)b
3.75 (.92)c


Numbers with different superscripts are signicantly different. *p b 0.05; **p b 0.001.

revamp the company website, making front and centre information that
the company has been in business for 60 years, has established ofces in
North and South America, and list the various diverse industries it
services were made and then implemented by the company. Company
letter head might also logo the in business 60 years, to add a consistent
message. This dimension of knowledge also speaks indirectly to the
perception of reliability, through length of time in service. The reader
might think of this emphasis on knowledge of the supplier as the reverse
dimension of Anderson and Narus (2003) emphasis on knowledge of
the customer. Not only is it important that you know your customer, but
it is equally important that the customer knows who you are and the
scope of your business.
Customers, who multi-sourced, saw little differences between
Company A and its competitors, except in the area of after-sales
service and technical support. Therefore recommendations to the
company were to focus on the real company competitive advantage of

Table 5
Predicting group membership: results of the discriminant analysis.
Predicted group

Original group
Single source
Multiple source

Single source

Multiple source


50 (76%)
28 (28%)

16 (24%)
73 (72%)



Discriminating function

1. On-time deliverya
2. Relevanceb
3. Technical supporta
4. Role of purchaserc
5. Pricea
6. Esteemb
7. Differentiationb
8. Order valuec
9. # of employeesc
10. Qualitya
11. Total salesc
12. Locationc
13. Knowledgeb


Function at group centroids

Single source
Multiple source

2 = 50.4, (d.f. = 13), p b .001

*9 cases had at least one missing discriminating variable.

Performance attributes.
Y&R dimensions.



J.L. Zaichkowsky et al. / Industrial Marketing Management 39 (2010) 776783

differentiation of these two performance dimensions by articulating

this information on their web site. Messages of better on-time
delivery and superior customer responsiveness in terms of technical
support could be benecial in obtaining more company orders, as well
as further increasing the perceived esteem of the company.
One interesting fact is that the major difference in demographics
between companies who multi-sourced and single sourced was the
person who gave the order. Single source companies seemed more
likely to have the order placed by the person who needed the part.
Multi-source companies were more likely to place the orders through a
purchasing centre within the company, but they were not larger
companies in terms of values of sales orders or company revenues. It
could be that single source companies were more likely to rate Company
A higher on all the purchase attributes because the respondent was
more likely to be the person actually using the part and perhaps was
more knowledgeable. This follows from Mudambi (1997) who noted
the differences in perception due to past experience.
All respondents rated Company A higher on after-sales service and
technical support. It could be that prior experience has taught customers
that Company A is better to deal with than competitors, but as we did
not ask why, this is only speculation.
Although not directly part of this study, Company A was advised to
post information about which charitable organizations they support
in the community and for how long, and in what way. Company A was
very proud of their involvement in the community and this was very
important to the senior management. They felt it was a differentiating
factor for them, but our data showed community involvement was not
well known to their customers and therefore did not map directly on
B2B customer valuation. It may be that community involvement does
indirectly contribute to brand esteem and maybe even the dimension
of relevance, if their customers also support the same charities.
Many recommendations from this research were immediately
implemented by the company through a redesigned web site as this
was the fastest and most efcient way to address the issues raised
from this study. The outcome so far, has been increased trafc to the
web site, more Google hits, and perhaps increased brand awareness
and strength. The company needs to re-do the research in a year's
time to assess the effectiveness of the changes to the BAV dimensions
of esteem, relevance, differentiation, and knowledge.
5.1. Summary of managerial and conceptual implications
The contribution of this paper is to demonstrate that a B2C paradigm
can be applied to a B2B setting. Managers may take the ideas of customer
perceived relevance, esteem, differentiation, and objective knowledge of
their company and use these in a meaningful way through the underlying
dimensions of stature and strength. Through this BAV paradigm,
managers are encouraged to think about the four areas and how they
contribute to the overall brand equity of the rm. Once the dimensions are
mapped, managers may be diagnostic on how they may improve the
perception of their company. Knowing what areas are weakest and what
areas are strongest might be used to plan the communication strategy of
the rm.
The information may also be useful to training new sales staff within
the company, who may not be aware of the long history and meaning of
the company. All sales staff would benet from extensive knowledge of
what the company does and how it is different than their competitors
when interacting with current and future customers.
While brands are traditionally thought of as in the consumer domain,
the B2B rms also have the opportunity to examine themselves through
a branding focus. This view would add an additional set of language to
the traditional relationship paradigm in the B2B arena (Walter et al.,
2003). This research might give managers a suggestion of how to
understand and create B2B relationships and loyalty from digging deep
into the perceptions of knowledge, esteem, relevance, and differentiation of the rm. Creating the questions of differentiation and knowledge

may be extremely self-examining in a way the company has not thought

of itself before.
5.2. Limitations and future research
The current study found that the items created in conjunction with the
company and that the company was sure the customer would be aware of,
were not always the best in terms of inter-item reliability. We found
customers knew little in the way of objective concrete knowledge of the
company, and therefore the reliability or correlation between the two
measures used was below the acceptable level for reliable scaling. Clearly
more than two measures should be used and the reliability of those items
representing the construct should be above .7. We found creating multiple
good items that all could agree on was hampered by the time constraint
and lack of end customers to use in the pretest. The specic items used to
measure knowledge need to be company specic and represent concrete
attributes and the items used to measure differentiation should pertain to
actual differences between the company and its competitors. Therefore
items will need to be tailored to different rms under study.
Determining what is the appropriate level of knowledge a rm
considers important for their customers, might be a worthwhile
endeavor if that information is deemed to be important and benecial
to reect the rm. However what the rm deems important and
relevant may not be the same information the customer deems
important and relevant. Therefore the rm may needs to understand
any gaps between their perception and their customer's perception of
knowledge and differentiation.
On a more general discussion of the application of the BAV to
industrial markets, there are risks that the results may represent
industry-specic factors that are not representative of all B2B
markets. The current study used an international engineering rm
which had 60 years of experience and market activity. Newer rms or
local rms may differ, but there is no basis for suggesting any possible
systematic differences in the application. Future research that
replicates the BAV elements in other industrial marketing contexts
would be benecial to test out the generalizability of the tool.
A successful brand in the B2C domain takes into account the BAV
dimensions and combines an effective product, distinctive identity, and
added values, as perceived by customers. The Y&R BrandAsset Valuator
is relevant to industrial brand management and opens the door to further
research in industrial branding. There may be alternate models for
diagnosing the brand equity of industrial rms and perhaps this research will encourage more crossing of the B2C methodology to the B2B
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Judy Zaichkowsky is the Professor of Marketing and Communications at the
Copenhagen Business School. Myles Parlee is with Starbucks, and Jeanette Hill is with
Yellow Hat. Myles and Jeanette are graduates from the Faculty of Business
Administration at Simon Fraser University.