Customer-Based Brand Equity (CBBE) can be defined as the “Differential effect that brand knowledge has on consumer response to the marketing of that brand” (Keller, 2008). Building significant brand equity is very important for a brand because ultimately it results in sales and profit for the business. The Customer-Based Brand Equity (CBBE) model provides specific steps for brands to follow in order to build brand equity.

Consumers subconsciously ask fundamental questions about brands that the CBBE model has used to define the four basic but important stages of brand development:

  1. Who are you? Refers to brand identity
  2. What are you? Refers to brand meaning
  3. What about you? Refers to brand responses
  4.  What about you and me? Refers to brand relationships (Keller, 2008)

These four steps incorporate six brand building blocks that form the basis of the CBBE Pyramid. The four levels of the pyramid (figure 2) represent the four stages of the model. 1) Brand identity is described by salience, 2) brand meaning by performance and imagery, 3) brand responses by judgements and feelings and finally 4) brand relationships are represented by resonance. The CBBE model has two sides, the left and the right (figure 2). The left side is the more rational route to brand building and the right side is the emotional route to brand building (Keller, 2008). Strong Brands with strong brand equity use both sides of the pyramid, utilizing rational and emotional engagement with a brand and achieving duality(Keller, 2008).

 fig 2- CBBE Pyramid

Brand Identity-Salience


The bottom level of the pyramid is concerned with brand identity. Brand salience measures awareness of the brand. To what extent is the brand top-of-mind and easily recalled or recognized? What types of cues or reminders are necessary? How pervasive is this brand awareness? Fundamentally does your brand have both depth and breadth of brand awareness? See my previous article detailing the principles of depth and breadth of brand awareness here.

Brand Meaning-performance and imagery


Brand performance refers to how a product meets customer’s functional needs. Producing and delivering a product that meets consumer’s particular needs is extremely important in order to meet or even exceed consumer expectations resulting in positive experiences towards the brand.


Brand Imagery is how consumers think about a certain brand abstractly, rather than what the brand actual does. In other words, non-product related features. I have gone into more detail on Brand Image in a previous article here.


Brand Responses- judgements and feelings


Brand judgements refer to a consumer’s personal overall opinion of a brand which results from the different performance and imagery aspects of the brand. Customers will may take all types of judgements with respect to a brand, but four types are particularly important: judgements about quality (customer value and satisfaction), credibility (brand expertise, brand trustworthiness and brand likeability), consideration (do they even consider your brand for possible purchase use? i.e. depth and breadth of brand awareness), and superiority (do customers believe your brand offers advantages that other brands do not?).


Brand feelings are the consumer’s emotional reactions and responses towards a brand. More and more firms are attempting to tap into more consumer emotions with their brands. The following six are the most important types of brand-building feelings:

1.      Warmth: The brand evokes soothing types of feelings and makes customers feel a sense of calm or peacefulness. Consumers may feel sentimental, warm hearted, or affectionate about the brand. Hallmark is a brand typically associated with warmth.

2.      Fun: Upbeat types of feelings make consumers feel amused, light hearted, joyous, playful, cheerful, and so on. Disney is a brand associated with fun.

3.      Excitement: the brand makes customers feel energized and that they are experiencing something special. Brands that evoke excitement may generate a sense of elation, of “being alive”, or being cool, or sexy, or soon. MTV is a brand seen by many teens and young adults as exciting.

4.      Security: The brand produces a feeling of safety, comfort and self assurance. AA Insurance is a brand that communicates security to many.

5.      Social approval: Customers feel that others look favourably upon their appearance, behaviour and so on. Mercedes is  a brand that may signal social approval to consumers.

6.      Self-respect: Customers feel better about themselves; e.g. a sense of pride, accomplishment, or fulfilment. A brand like Tide laundery detergent is able to link its brand to “doing whats best for the family” to many homemakers.

The first three types of feelings are experiential and immediate, increasing in intensity. The latter three types of feelings are private and enduring, increasing in level of gravity.

Brand Relationships-Resonance


Resonance refers to the relationship built between a brand and its consumers and how customers identify with the relationship (Keller, 2008). In essence a brand is flawed and not as strong as it could be if it does not have duality which means it does not target both the heads (left side of CBBE pyramid) and hearts (right side) of the customer.

Resonance is characterized in terms of intensity, or the depth of psychological bond that customers have with the brand, as well as the level of activity engendered by this loyalty (repeat purchase rates and the extent to which customers seek out brand information, events and other loyal customers). Good examples are Apple and Harley Davidson.

fig 2.1 (Sub dimensions of brand building blocks)


Ollie W

PS The CBBE pyramid discusses utilizing rational and emotional brand attributes to enhance brand equity. It has got me thinking about benefit verse cost strategy (a fundamental micro-economics concept- easy enough to understand). I’ll talk about this soon and link from here so you can find it in future once published.

Cheers to:

Keller, K L (2001).Strategic Brand Management: Building, measuring, and managing brand equity (3rd ed.).New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.