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Aaker versus Keller's models: much ado about branding

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Brands are said to be the most valuable assets of businesses. Arguably the most prominent brand management models presented in the extant theory are Aaker's brand equity model and Keller's customer-based brand equity model (renamed to brand resonance pyramid). These models were developed predominantly from a business-to-consumer (B2C) product context. But in the 21st century services and the business-to-business (B2B) context are more relevant than ever. Important research questions are therefore: Can these models be used unadapted or should it be adapted to guide brand management for B2B services in general and B2B services brand building within the African context specifically? There is a perceived urgent need for an amended brand management model for B2B services. To answer the research questions raise above, a series of studies have been initiated, which will span a number of years. This paper, however, reports on the theoretical framework for the series of studies, namely which one of Aaker or Keller's models should be chosen and applied or tested for possible adaptation for an African B2B service context? Aaker and Keller's models have not been compared yet and it is not known whether to use any one of the models, both or a combination as brand management guide. The building blocks of the two models have different labels and the models have different layouts. At first glance Aaker and Keller's models (Figure 2) appear to be dissimilar, but are they? The article begins by introducing the two models and then the marketing mix is overlaid onto Keller's model because it is through the marketing mix that brand equity is created. A table is presented considering the parity between the two models and this is represented visually by colour coding the models. In the end the findings reported here show substantial similarities when the models were compared. Therefore, there is no need to allocate resources to apply both models, rather the brand resonance pyramid is proposed for the application during the next phase of the journey towards an amended African B2B services brand management model. KEYWORDS Brand equity, customer-based brand equity, brand awareness, brand imagery, brand loyalty
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