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Both of these brand equity models have been extended by
researchers to better capture specific features of brand equity,
such as social image (Lassar et al., 1995), symbolic utility
(Va?zquez et al., 2002) or willingness to pay a price premium
(Netemeyer et al., 2004). However, as brand equity is
inherently multidimensional, there is yet no consensus on the
most important features to study. Thus, the essential
dimensions developed by Aaker and Keller are still used in
most of the alternative models (Biedenbach, 2012).

The research about brand equity has been mainly focused
on the B2C context. Indeed, very few studies have investigated
brand equity in B2B markets. Of those papers examining the
equity of professional brands, the majority are based on
exploratory research and use the model developed by Aaker
(1991) or Keller (1993). Gordon et al. (1993) were the first to
provide evidence of the existence of brand equity in the B2B
sector. Investigating brand loyalty and positioning, they found
that brand awareness has a positive effect on brand
associations with different image dimensions.

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In addition to brand loyalty, brand awareness has been
identified as an important element in the equity of professional
brands (Mitchell et al., 2001). van Riel et al. (2005) identified
brand awareness as well as brand quality as the main
dimensions of professional brand equity that have a direct
impact on positive brand associations.

Hutton (1997) showed that brand knowledge has a direct
influence on the “brand-equity behavior” of buyers, which
includes the willingness to pay a significant price premium for
their favorite brand, make referrals and extend their brand
preference to other products with the same brand name.

Finally, all of the recent research on brand equity in
industrial markets has utilized Keller’s model, including for
the analysis of professional financial services (Taylor et al.,
2007), logistics services (Davis et al., 2008) and electronic
tracking for waste management (Kuhn et al., 2008). This
widespread acceptance of Keller’s model is likely because of it
being the most comprehensive model available in the

The first element of Keller’s model is customers’ awareness,
reflecting the fact that a brand has no value or equity if clients
do not know it. Keller considers two types of brand awareness:
brand recognition and brand recall. The former is based on
stimulus and is triggered at the moment when a customer sees
the branded product. The latter depends on memory recall,
reflecting the moment at which customers remember the
brand because they need a product. Thus, brand recall is also
referred to as top-of-mind awareness (TOMA). Although
TOMA is not an indicator of intention to purchase a brand, a
high level of TOMA has been shown as an indicator of a
strong preference for (Woodside and Wilson, 1985) and
loyalty toward (Buil et al., 2008) a brand.

Hence, TOMA is an important part of the equity of a brand.
As such, the first objective of this exploratory research is to
determine whether CGBs with an existing high level of
awareness in consumer goods markets have a different degree
of brand awareness compared to EPBs dedicated solely to
industrial markets. 

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