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Brand awareness provides the anchor to which other associations can be linked. Recognition provides the brand with a sense of familiarity and people like the familiar. In the absence of motivation to engage in attribute evaluation, familiarity may be enough. Brand awareness can be a signal of substance. The first set in the buying process often is to select a group of brands to consider. Brand awareness can be crucial to getting into this group. Brand awareness plays an important role in consumer decision making for three major reasons. First, it is important that consumers think of the brand when they think about the product category. Raising brand awareness increases the likelihood that the brand will be a member of the consideration set. Second, brand awareness can affect decisions about a brand in the HPGD/JA16/107233
consideration set. For example, some consumers have been shown to adopt a decision rule to buyonly familiar, well-established brands. In low involvement decision settings, a minimum level of brand awareness may be sufficient for product choice, even in the absence of a well-formed attitude. Finally, brand awareness affects consumer decision making by influencing the formation and strength of brand associations in the brand image. 3.3 Perceived Quality Perceived quality can be defined as the customer’s perception of the overall quality or superiority of a product or service relative to alternatives. Perceived quality cannot necessarily be objectively determined, because perceived quality itself is a summary construct. Perceived quality is valuable in several ways. In many contexts, the perceived quality of a brand provides a pivotal reason to buy. It is influencing which brands are included and excluded from the consideration set and which brand is to be selected. A principal positioning characteristic of a brand is its location within the dimension of perceived quality. A perceived quality advantage provides the option of charging a premium price. The price premium can increase profits and/or provide resources with which to reinvest in the brand. Perceived quality can also be meaningful to retailers, distributors and other channel members and thus aid in gaining distribution. Channel members are motivated to carry brands that are wellregarded. In addition, the perceived quality can be exploited by introducing brand extensions, using the brand name to enter new product categories. A strong brand with respect to perceived quality will be able to extend further, and will find a higher success probability than a weak brand. 3.4 Brand AssociationA brand association is any mental linkage to the brand. Brand associations may include, e.g., product attributes, customer benefits, uses, life-styles, product classes, competitors and countries of origins. The association not only exists but also has a level of strength. The brand position is based upon associations and how they differ from the competition.