Van Rekom, J., Jacobs, G., & Verlegh, P. W. J. (2006). Measuring and managing the essence of a brand personality. Marketing Letters, 17(3), 181-192. DOI:10.1007/s11002-006-5362-5

Brand managers constantly face the dilemma of adapting their brands to changing consumer taste without diluting the brand’s essence. This study presents an approach that can be used to establish which features constitute the essence of a brand, and how candidate new features would affect the perceived essence of the brand.We build on Ahn’s (1998) causal status hypothesis, which holds that the essence of concepts (e.g., brands) consists of those features perceived to cause most other features of the brand. We empirically illustrate how this approach provides important information about consumer perceptions of envisaged changes to an existing brand.
Keywords: Branding, cognitive causal mapping, methodology