Applying Keller's Brand Equity Model in a B2B Context: Limitations and an Empirical Test
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It has been recognised that brands play a role in industrial markets, but to date a comprehensive model of business-to-business (B2B) branding does not exist, nor has there been an empirical study of the applicability of a full brand equity model in a B2B context. This paper is the first to begin to address these issues. The paper introduces the Customer- Based Brand Equity (CBBE) model by Kevin Keller (1993; 2001; 2003), and empirically tests its applicability in the market of electronic tracking systems for waste management. While Keller claims that the CBBE pyramid can be applied in a B2B context, this research highlights challenges of such an application, and suggests changes to the model are required. Assessing the equity of manufacturers' brand names is more appropriate than measuring the equity of individual product brands as suggested by Keller. Secondly, the building blocks of Keller's model appear useful in an organisational context, although differences in the subdimensions are required. Brand feelings appear to lack relevance in the industrial market investigated, and the pinnacle of Keller's pyramid, resonance, needs serious modifications. Finally, company representatives play a role in building brand equity, indicating a need for this human element to be recognised in a B2B model.
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