One might say that brand, as a concept, is almost as old as humanity itself. We can consider it like this, if we think of it, for instance, as first used to manage, differentiate, or separate, a community of people, fraternal organizations, lodges or lobbies, or cattle belonging to different owners. However the term itself gains acceptance and exclusivity in the consumerist society, where economy specialists related and allocated the term brand in order to differentiate a product, or service from another.
In the past century the competition has grown, more and more products and services where created, sharing similar characteristics, offering similar qualities, resembling end results. The brand itself, as a name-differentiation concept, became not enough to persuade consumers to choose one product over another. It needed personality, uniqueness, and an added value to become more attractive. Brand equity was born.
This concept might also not be a new one. Clever salesman, communities, even empires valued the power of symbols and their added values, in order to leave their marks in the minds of the masses. For instance, we can talk about a brand-communication strategy regarding the Roman Empire, the Neo-Nazi swastika, or more recently USA (the Obama-campaign). The Bible itself can be considered a more than successful PR strategy, maybe even one of the earliest pull-campaigns. These examples have intense, well-determined personalities, communicate firm ideas in a universal language and are impossible to be mistaken. (They can be misinterpreted, misused, but that is not the topic of discussion.)
Brand equity received substantial attention in the past decades, becoming a research and study worth phrase. For marketing specialists, it can be directly linked to consumer´s feedback, regarding how they feel, think and act towards a brand, eventually marking its market value, market share and prices. It can be considered as the combination of a series of elements that can give prestige to a brand, or on the contrary, discredit and punish vile, unconsidered actions.
In a commercial sense, brand equity wants to establish a human kind of relationship between a brand (product/service) and a human being. By becoming “human”, brands must consider all that this implies, the relationship-factors, the communication language, the imperfections, flaws, that all mortal beings share, and also our mortality. In an extreme definition, I might say, a brand, thru brand equity, longs to be human, but in a vampyric, immortal kind of way. In other words, (commercial) brands, thru brand equity, want to step out of the shadows, live amongst humans, but preserving immortality (they want to stay forever in our consciousness) and keep on sucking our blood (our money) till we drop dead.