Keller’s Brand Equity Model

In business, there is nothing quite like the power of a strong brand. If you can build up the reputation of your brand in the minds of consumers, you will have a far better chance to continue to grow your business over time. When you think of the biggest, most-profitable companies in the world, they all have strong brands that they work hard to protect. No matter what industry you happen to be in, it is safe to say that you can benefit from the development of your brand name and image.

Keller's Brand Equity Model

This model takes the shape of a pyramid, and that pyramid has four levels. The levels of the Brand Equity pyramid are as follows –

  • Identity
  • Meaning
  • Response
  • Relationships

That list is in reverse order, meaning brand identity is located at the bottom of the pyramid, while relationships are at the top level. In order to create a strong brand for your organization, you need to make sure that you build the pyramid solidly from the ground up. To help you in that task, please read on to find greater detail on each of these four levels.


The basis of your brand is figuring out, and communicating, what your brand is all about. Not only do you need to make sure that people are aware of your brand, but you need to be sure that they are getting the right message as well. For instance, imagine that you are trying to create a brand which is dedicated to delivering high-end clothing items to the market. You are not going to compete on cost – you are going to compete on quality, and your goods will be sold for a high price relative to the rest of the market.

The Identity Component of the Model

At this first level of the pyramid, it is your job to deliver the message that you are a luxury brand offering high-end goods for premium prices. If customers don’t get that message, they are simply going to wonder why your clothes are so expensive. They need to see your identity as a premium, luxury brand in order for the rest of your marketing and pricing to make sense. This concept can be seen clearly in the automotive market. Buyers know which car makers offer luxury vehicles, so they are not surprised when those models are more expensive than the rest. No matter what identity it is that you are trying to create, be sure that this job is done before you go any further.


With a general identity in place, the next step is going to be to carve out a meaning for your brand that will begin to build loyalty within your audience. Brand meaning is going to go beyond the quality of products that you offer, or the price point that you use at market. You could build the meaning of your brand around a number of different things, including your commitment to specific social causes, your dedication to customer service, or just about anything else. The meaning of your brand is going to give people a reason to be proud of their purchases, and it will give them a reason to come back time and time again.

The Meaning Component of the Brand Equity Model

Continuing with our clothing example from above, you could attach the meaning of a social cause to your brand, along with your luxury reputation. For instance, you may publicize your offer of donating a certain percentage of your sales to important causes like clothing the homeless or something similar. In this way, your buyers will not only come to love the products you deliver, but they will also come to respect what you are doing with some of the proceeds from each sale.


Once a customer makes a purchase from your brand, what is there response to that purchase? This is where your brand has to live up to the reputation that you have attempted to build earlier in the pyramid. If those luxury clothes that you are selling for a high price don’t deliver on the quality that is expected, the response from your customers is not going to be a positive one.

However, if you do deliver great quality as expected, your brand will only be strengthened and you will have a great opportunity for growth and success. Keeping in mind the importance of the way your customers respond to your products, you always need to make sure you are delivering on your promises. Failing to deliver on expectations is one of the most-damaging things that can happen to a brand, and you might not be able to recover from an extended period of falling short.


At the top of the brand pyramid we find relationships, which is concerned with the concept of resonance. It is difficult to climb all the way to this point in the pyramid, but the brands that do make it to this point will be in line for tremendous rewards.

Relationships in the Brand Equity Model

The rare brands that land at this level are able to actually create a community around the ownership of their products – in other words, buyers of the products will feel connected to one another because they are devoted to the same brand. Customers tend to be extremely loyal at this level, and they will often buy just about anything that the brand puts out as long as it continues in same tradition as previous models or items.

Building brand equity is one of the biggest challenges that is faced by the average organization, but it is also an exciting opportunity to build tremendous value. If you are hoping to create brand equity in the months and years to come, be sure to use Keller’s Brand Equity Model as a great starting point for the process. With any luck, you will be able to take these lessons and translate them into real-world success. Not every brand is destined to become a household name around the world, but even small brands have the opportunity to grow a dedicated following which can lead them to ongoing financial prosperity.

You can read more about Keller’s Brand Equity Model in our free eBook ‘Top 5 Marketing Models’. Download it now for your PC, Mac, laptop, tablet, Kindle, eBook reader or Smartphone.

Key Points

  • If you can build up the reputation of your brand in the minds of consumers, you will have a far better chance to continue to grow your business over time.
  • This model takes the shape of a pyramid with four levels: Identity, Meaning, Response, and Relationships.
  • Brand identity forms the base of the pyramid, while relationships are at the top.
  • Brand identity is the way a business wants consumers to perceive its brand.
  • The meaning of your brand is going to give people a reason to be proud of their purchases, and it will give them a reason to come back time and time again.
  • Brand Response is an approach where brand building drives response and this in turn builds the brand in a virtuous circle of effectiveness.
  • Brand Relationships means that there is a community around the ownership the product or service made up of loyal customers.

Free Management eBooks Most Popular

Today's Top Picks for Our Readers:
Recommended by Recommended by NetLine

Free Marketing Skills Resources

See the full list of Marketing Skills eBooks, templates and checklists available for free download right now.

Click Here!