Donald Lehmann

The Structure of Survey-Based Brand Metrics

Coauthor(s): Kevin Lane Keller, John Farley.


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Perhaps because of its importance, brand performance has been approached in several different ways by several different researchers employing several different measures. Lehmann, Keller, and Farley examine a broad range of these measures to explore their overlap and to uncover core underlying dimensions and the structure of brand performance metrics that balance parsimony and completeness. They also examine how different dimensions of brand performance and profiles of leading brands vary by country (i.e., the United States and China). The results suggest that brand performance can be usefully characterized according to six factors: comprehension, comparative advantage, interpersonal relations, history, preference, and attachment.

These six factors inform several key issues about brands, branding, and brand performance. First, they tap into a broad range of aspects of the brand and vary in terms of tangibility, relationship to the product, level of abstraction, and self-orientation. Thus, the authors' analysis reinforces the observation that no single measure fully captures the richness of brand performance; multiple sets of measures and factors must be employed.


Second, there is a logical sequence to the brand performance factors: (1) comprehension; (2) comparative advantage, interpersonal relations, and history; (3) preference; and (4) attachment. The relationships among the six factors are consistent with classic models of consumer decision making and brand building that involve a hierarchy of effects — from simple, basic aspects of brand awareness and knowledge to more involved consumer loyalty relationships.

Third, the study results point out the importance of brand intangibles. In an increasingly less differentiated world, marketers may need to transcend the physical product to create more abstract associations. Lehmann, Keller, and Farley identify two factors of brand image that are not directly related to product performance (history and interpersonal relations) and deserve greater attention.


Finally, the results show that the structure of brand performance in the current setting was fairly similar across countries. However, although the ratings of the brands within categories varied significantly, country and category factors explained more variance than the specific major brands. In other words, there is a clear distinction between categories and between leading and secondary brands, but not necessarily as much distinction between the strongest top brands within a category, at least within the brands studied.

Source: Journal of International Marketing
Exact Citation:
Lehmann, Donald, Kevin Lane Keller, and John Farley. "The Structure of Survey-Based Brand Metrics." Journal of International Marketing 16, no. 4 (2008): 29-56.
Volume: 16
Number: 4
Pages: 29-56
Date: 2008