If growing volume is the goal, then salience is the next most important consideration after meaning. But salience is not simply top-of-mind awareness triggered by the category name; our pilot work confirmed that salience is best measured in association with category needs. For example, British Airways was the strongest brand on traditional top-of-mind awareness for the airline category in the UK. But when we applied a needs-based approach to salience, it was easyJet that came through as the most salient brand. That's because easyJet has built an extremely strong association with low price, one of the most important category needs. So, to build salience, you must not only shout louder than the competition, but you must shout about things that relate to category needs.
TO COMMAND A HIGHER PRICE, BE DIFFERENT
If your objective is to sell your brand at a higher price, focus on being different. For an example of great brand differentiation, we can look to Apple, the most valuable brand in the world according to the 2011 BrandZ Top 100. Though Apple does well on each element, its most outstanding performance in nearly every category and country is on being different. The basis for this success is Apple's consistently great product innovation, but Apple also goes beyond functional differentiation to project a unique personality and a clear set of values.
Not all product innovations can capture people's imaginations as the Macintosh, the iPhone, and the iPad have done, but all brand owners should work to establish genuine points of meaningful product differentiation. And even where there is limited scope for functional differentiation, brands should still strive to differentiate through their personality and values.
CONSIDER THE POWER OF THREE
The most successful brands are not just meaningful, just different, or just salient—they are all three. Don’t sell your brand short by using a myopic model of brand building that only acknowledges one of the three ingredients. Instead, acknowledge the importance of all three and use consumer insight, knowledge of the category, and brand objectives to identify the best area of focus.