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How Batman beat Superman with brand equity

Years later, as Superman is puttering around his home in the Fortress of Solitude, he tells visitors that he’s happy and enjoys retirement. But Lois Lane, his ageless girlfriend of 70+ years, tells a different story.

“He’s OK until he hears about another new Batman movie — then he gets really angry,” says Lois. “He sits and stares into space. That’s bad enough, but then his Laser Vision starts burning holes in the Fortress walls. One time he burned all the way through and started a forest fire.”

It goes back to the 2016 movie Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The plot has Batman fearing that if the actions of Superman are left unchecked, he’ll endanger humanity. Batman decides to take out the Man of Steel, using several high-tech weapons loaded with kryptonite — the element that’s deadly to Superman.

Of course the script was determined by DC Comics and the movie studio, and they wanted to bet the future on one of the two superheroes. They chose Batman — but why?

Batman and his team kept building his brand and kept him in the public eye with toy sets, the Batman Lego movie and more. Superman’s weakness wasn’t kryptonite, it was complacency… and Batman had a secret weapon called Brand Equity.

What Is Brand Equity?

The Oxford Dictionary describes Brand Equity as “The commercial value that derives from consumer perception of the brand name of a particular product or service, rather than from the product or service itself.”

Brand equity is the level of value and influence a brand name has in the minds of consumers, and the value of having a brand that is identifiable and well-thought-of. In other words, if your brand has more brand equity than your competitor’s, customers are more likely to choose yours.

How To Build Brand Equity

Building Brand Equity requires careful, smart and planned messaging across paid (advertising), earned (press coverage) and owned media (your website and social media). It needs to be produced, placed and managed on continuous basis.

Your messaging must focus on these four goals:

  1. Establish a “Clear and Obvious Differentiation” between your product or service and those of your competitors.
  2. Your product or service must be perceived as “Needed and/or Highly Relevant” in the marketplace — and ideally, in the world.
  3. You can’t have high brand equity unless your brand is “Well-known and has High Name Awareness.” Once the messaging is created for goals #1 and #2, use lots of paid, earned and owned media to build brand name awareness.
  4. With great success comes great responsibility, and so it is with great brands. Once you have lots of name recognition and awareness, you need to reach out and create partnerships, connect with the (global or local) community, share your knowledge and be a leader with goals beyond profit. That might be done with donations or with increasing employment, or pushing for change within your industry. These efforts create “Earned Esteem with Clout and Influence.”

Clear and Obvious Differentiation and being perceived as Needed and/or Highly Relevant gives you Brand Strength. Becoming Well-known and with High Name Awareness and having Earned Esteem with Clout and Influence gives you Brand Stature.

Brand Strength combined with Brand Stature results in Brand Equity and a highly successful brand.

Can you come back after losing brand equity?

Yes, but you have to redouble your efforts on those four messaging goals.

Let’s hope Superman can do it too. Lois says if he burns any more holes in the wall, she might head back to Metropolis and look up Jimmy Olsen.

About The Author

  • Author | George Farris
George Farris is CEO and Senior Brand Coach at Farris Marketing. Connect with George on LinkedIn using the icons above.

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