Building universal brand equity

Date of publication: September 1, 1994


This paper compares the nature of the response to advertising in different parts of the world. The paper shows that people's reactions to advertising are a normal part of every individual’s repertoire of response behavior employed in all manner of quite ordinary situations. The paper identifies four basic patterns of response that people make to advertising no matter where or how they live in the world and irrespective of what type of stimulus material used. This overall similarity in the way in which people respond, no matter what stimulus is presented to them, means that for advertising pre-testing, category and country "norms" can be replaced by four universal norms that reflect the level of an individual's personal interest in that particular advertising material, at that place, at that time. One of these four response patterns is associated with effective advertising and this pattern is capable of being evoked by advertising in any form anywhere in the world. When advertising material achieves this level of response, it is extremely likely that it will be a very effective piece of advertising, adding to the core values that define the brand’s equity. Advertising responses that correspond to any of the other three normal response patterns are most unlikely to add any value to the brand.

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