Leadership brand positions are built over time in a very specific progression through four consumer perceptions: differentiation, relevance, esteem and knowledge.
Differentiation: This is the foundation stage and it is when great brands are born. Differentiation is the brand’s ability to stand apart in the market and is the extent to which it is perceived as being unique, different and distinctive. Without this foundation, a brand will not survive as the market evolves.
Relevance: This is about how appropriate the brand is to the target customer’s wants and needs. Without broad relevance, a differentiated brand may be a niche brand.
Brands that achieve high levels of both differentiation and relevance can lead or even define a category and thereby strongly contribute to operating income.
The next two foundation blocks to high brand equity are esteem and knowledge, which in combination define brand stature. Leadership brands excel in both brand strength and brand stature.
Esteem: This is about how good a target audience feels about a brand and comprises quality and popularity as the critical dimensions. Being held in esteem helps a business cope with downturns and bad times.
Knowledge: The market knows and understands what the brand stands for, what the company’s products and services are and knows the positioning, promises and values of the brand. This is the result of all communication and experiences that the market receives over a period.