Customer Focus article: “Customer-Centered Brand Management” by Rust, Zeithaml, and Lemon

Brand management still trumps customer management in most large companies because it is seen as growth stimulant. When brand management is emphasized within the scope of customer service, the large corporate goal of growing customer equity is gained. Customer equity is focus of any successful brand because it no longer becomes about the brand but rather making the brand what the customer wants. Customer equity is defined as “the sum of the lifetime value of all the firm’s customers, across all the firm’s brands.” The value of the brand ultimately depends on the customers opinion of the brand or equity in the brand. The authors give ways to craft customer focus in the branding:

  1. Make brand decisions subservient to decisions about customer relationships.
  2. Build brands around customer segments, not the other way around.
  3. Make your brands as narrow as possible
  4. Plan brand extensions based on customer needs, not component similarity
  5. Develop the capability and the mind-set to hand off customers to other brands in the company.

When building customer equity, building brand equity is an important event in sequence to the process. By overcoming the blind spots in the brand management,  executives can deliberately form customer point of views that elevate the importance of the customer in the brand development.


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