Packaging Innovation
brand equity pyramid
April 24, 2015

What packaging designers can learn from the brand equity pyramid …

Keller’s brand equity pyramid is a valuable instrument for marketers everywhere. However, packaging designers can make use of the tool as well to create packaging designs that will have a lasting impact on consumers. Let’s dive into some marketing theory!

What is the brand equity pyramid?

For a product to be successful on the shelf, you need to strengthen your customers’ perception of your brand. To do so, Kevin Lane Keller, marketing professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, distinguishes four steps to effectively shape how customers feel and think about your product.

The four steps are:

  • Identity – who are you?
  • Meaning – what are you?
  • Response – what do I feel about you?
  • Relationships – what about you and me?

Step 1: identity

Product packaging plays a crucial role in customers’ perception of a brand. It serves as a means not only to protect a product but also to identify it and, as such, create brand awareness. In order to do so it’s important that you know your customers. What kind of packaging do they prefer and what perception do they currently have of you. If you want to change that perception, it might be a good idea to improve upon the packaging.

Step 2: meaning

What does you brand mean and what does it stand for? “Performance” and “imagery” are key features here. The first describes how well your product meets customers’ demands. If your brand performance demonstrates reliability and durability, your packaging should too. Imagery refers to how well your brand meets customers’ needs on a social and psychological level.

Step 3: brand response

What do your customers feel or think about you? Brand judgments falls into four distinct categories: quality, credibility, consideration and superiority. All of these can be influenced via packaging.

Step 4: brand resonance

Resonance sits at the top of the brand equity pyramid because it’s the most difficult level to reach. You have achieved brand resonance when your customers feel a deep psychological bond with your product. Packaging may strengthen that bond, when all previous steps of the pyramid are taken successfully.