Secondary Brand Associations

Secondary Brand Associations

Brands may have a relationship with other entities, which can be used to help consumers understand their knowledge. These linkages can lead consumers to believe that the brand may have some of the same associations or responses as the entities they are linked to.

The brand borrows brand knowledge from other entities and possibly brand equity depending on how they respond. Indirectly building brand equity involves leveraging secondary brand associations.

If an existing brand lacks positive brand associations for building a strong brand, secondary brand associations can be very important for creating positive, unique, and strong associations. It can also serve to strengthen existing responses and associations in a new and unique way.


The strength of the association between the brand and the company, as well as any existing brands, is determined by branding strategies. There are three main branding options for a new product. 1. Make a brand new. 2. Modify or adopt an existing brand. 3. Combining an existing brand with a new one.

Existing brands can be linked to the corporate brand, such as Samsung, or a specific product, like the Samsung Galaxy S4G mobile phone.

A family or corporate brand, in particular, can provide a lot of brand equity. A corporate brand might evoke associations with common product attributes, benefits or attitudes, people and relationships, programs and values, and corporate credibility.

Countries and Other Geographical Areas

The brand may be linked to more than just the company making the product. Secondary associations can also be made with the country or geographical location where it originated. Many countries are known for their expertise in particular product categories or their ability to convey a certain type of image.

The world is evolving into a “cultural bazaar”, where consumers can choose from a variety of brands that originate in different countries based on their opinions about the quality and image of these products or brands.

A consumer can choose to wear Italian clothes, to exercise in U.S. sports shoes, to listen to Japanese or Korean music, to drive a German car, or to drink English ale.

Brands with strong national ties might reflect a conscious decision to maximize product utility, communicate self-image and appeal to consumers.

Many brands can create strong points of difference because consumers identify with and believe about the origin country. For example, consider the following strongly linked brands and countries:

  • Levi’s Jeans – United States
  • Chanel perfume – France
  • Cadbury – England
  • Barilla pasta – Italy
  • Gucci purses and shoes – Italy
  • BMW – Germany

It is a common legal requirement for the country of origin to appear on a product or package. As such, associations with the country of origin can almost always be made at the point of purchase and could influence brand decisions.

It really comes down to relative importance and how the country of origin or other geographical regions are used in the marketing program. There are potential downsides to being strongly associated with a specific country or geographic region. People’s perceptions may be affected by events or actions that are associated with the country.

Channels of Distribution

These secondary brand associations are created by retailers through the brands and products they sell and the methods they use to market them. Many retailers advertise aggressively and promote directly to customers in order to shape their image.

Based on where the brand is sold, a consumer might draw certain conclusions about it. “If it’s sold at Nordstrom, it must have good quality.” A consumer may perceive a brand differently depending on whether it’s in a store that is regarded as exclusive and prestigious or in a shop that is more accessible to bargain shoppers.

A brand can either gain or lose store image associations. A natural growth strategy for many high-end brands is to increase the customer base through new distribution channels. However, such strategies can prove dangerous depending on how customers and retailers react to them.


A brand that is already established can leverage associations by linking to brands of the same company or another. When two or more brands from the same company are combined into one product or are marketed in a similar way, co-branding (brand bundling, brand alliances) takes place.

Co-branding has the advantage that products can be uniquely and convincingly placed by virtue of multiple brands involved in the campaign. The co-branding strategy can create compelling points of difference or points of parity for the brand, or both.

It can increase sales in the target market and open up new channels and consumers. Kraft added Dole fruit to their popular Lunchables Lunch Combinations line for children partly to address nutrition criticisms and health concerns.

Because it combines two familiar images, co-branding can lower the cost of product launches. This allows for faster adoption. The co-branding process can also be useful in learning about customers and how they approach other companies. Co-branding can be a valuable way to create a unique product in a variety of categories, especially in low-difference areas.

Co-branding has potential drawbacks. Consumers may perceive a brand as being too aligned with it. Expectations of consumers regarding the involvement and commitment to co-brands will be high.

Negative repercussions could result for all (or any) brands if they are not satisfied with their performance. Consumers may not be as sure of the brands if they are distinct. There may be an overexposure risk if the other brand has entered into multiple co-branding agreements.

This could dilute any association. This could also lead to distractions and a loss of focus on the existing brands.

Marketers need to be careful when entering into and executing co-branding ventures. Marketers must make sure that the co-branding ventures are a good fit for their values, abilities, and goals.


Licensing is a contractual arrangement that allows firms to use logos, characters, and names of other brands’ elements in order to market their brands for a fixed fee. A firm “rents” another brand in order to increase its brand equity. Licensing has become a popular way to build brand equity.

In recent years, entertainment licensing has been a very lucrative business. Some examples of successful licensors are movie titles and logos such as Harry Potter, Transformers, and Spider-Man, and comic strip characters like Garfield and Peanuts characters.

There are also television and cartoon characters from Sesame Street and The Simpsons, SpongeBob SquarePants, and SpongeBob SquarePants. Marketers spend millions every summer on movie tie-ins to find the next blockbuster franchise.

Legal protection can be provided for trademarks by licensing. The brand name can be licensed for use in specific product categories to prevent potential competitors or other companies from legally using it.

Coca-Cola, for legal protection, entered into licensing agreements in several product areas including radios and glassware. It turned out that the licensing program was so successful that the company sells many products bearing the Coca-Cola brand directly to customers.

There are risks associated with licensing. If marketers use a saturation policy, a trademark could become too exposed. If a brand licenses to a product with no apparent relationship, consumers may not be able to understand the marketing and motivations behind the product. The brand’s reputation could be tarnished if the product does not live up to expectations.


It is a well-known marketing strategy that uses well-known, admired people to promote products.

These strategies are based on the idea that celebrities can draw attention and influence perceptions of a brand through the inferences consumers make about that famous person. It is hoped that celebrities’ fans will become advocates for their products and services. Celebrities must be well-known enough to increase awareness, image, responses, and response for their brand.

Celebrity endorsers should be well-known and have many useful associations, judgments, and feelings. He or she should be trustworthy, trustworthy, attractive, likable, and have specific associations that could relate to products. Oprah Winfrey is a remarkable person for building and leveraging a highly trusted brand.

Marketers need to strategically select and use celebrity spokespersons. First, select a well-known celebrity with a strong brand association.

The brand and celebrity must have a logical connection. This will reduce confusion or dilution. Jackie Chan, a popular Hong Kong actor, has been accused of endorsing too many products. These include electric bikes, antivirus software, and frozen dumplings. Many of the products that he endorses have had problems.

Celebrities must ensure their “brands” are managed well by them. Anyone with a public profile should think about how to manage their brand image, even if it is only within the company.


Event organizers have their own associations, which may be linked to sponsors’ brands under certain conditions. Brand equity can be enhanced by sponsorship events. Sponsored events may help to increase brand awareness, add new associations or improve the strength, favorability, and uniqueness of existing associations.

Credibility is the main way an event can create associations. The event can make a brand seem more trustworthy, trustworthy, or expert. This will depend on the events that are chosen and how the sponsorship program integrates into the overall marketing program.

Third-party Resources

Marketers can also create secondary associations by linking their brands to third-party sources in many different ways. The Good Housekeeping Seal, which has been used for decades as a symbol of quality, offers product replacements or refunds for any defective products up to two years after purchase.

Brand perceptions and attitudes can be improved by endorsements from respected magazines such as PC Magazine, American Dental Association, or carefully chosen Elite critics on the online Yelp consumer review website.

A whole new generation of online opinion leaders is emerging with the rise of blogs and social media. These individuals can have a significant impact on the fate of brands. Many have credentials from established businesses and organizations.

Walter Mossberg, a Wall Street Journal technology columnist, and Kara Swisher, a colleague, have launched, a technology-focused Web site.

Marketers can “borrow” brand equity from other sources, regardless of how a product’s branding is done, its nature, and supporting marketing programs. If the brand associations that are affected by the secondary associations are not strong enough, it may be worth creating them.

Secondary associations may be especially useful for linking positive brand associations that can serve as points of parity or for creating distinctive brand associations that can act as points of differentiation in brand positioning.

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