Brand Awareness and Familiarity in the Secondary Brand Identity (SBI)

Abstract: This study aims to investigate brand awareness and familiarity in the Secondary Brand Identity (SBI) among car brands beyond logo design or brand name. Although many studies have emphasized similar approaches to provide brand loyalty through marketing strategies, this research focuses on design attributes and characteristics as to how we respond to design attributes as brand personality. Moreover, this study demonstrates a term of SBI as a significant brand entity to engage with design values in brand signature and design originality. Therefore, this study examined five hypotheses: 1) A brand awareness would be associated with SBI regardless identifying a brand logo or mark, 2) A body silhouette would be more effective than product attributes in brand awareness, 3) Brand awareness would be different between gender and age, 4) A front grill of the car would be perceived as distinctive SBI effectively, and 5) SBI would be much more effective in a luxury brand rather than others. In the design method, a total of 10 brands (the top 5 best car and the top luxury car brands in 2018 U.S. News & World Report) were selected to compare the effects/influences. A total of 106 participants responded to 20 survey questions which are comprised of two different parts for responding to a brand name of given examples of car images. The data value was collected as a correct answer to the brand name and preferences of the survey responses per each question. Overall, the result showed that participants were most effectively aware of brands with the front grill design. In this finding, the luxury brand showed more effective brand awareness in terms of the longevity of design originality. With the second part of the qualitative survey in a small group for only three luxury brands, the result appeared similar values with the large group. An additional finding through the exit interview, the front grill design was much more familiar with the headlight as a unified form when brand awareness occurs. This refers to reason that the data value in showing a front grill was much lower in low and medium-priced brands. Therefore, the result of correct answers from showing front grill with the entire front view was higher than showing only front grill through all brands. This study will develop enhanced investigation with scientific evaluation by analysis of the statistical data through the eye tracking that explores how and what people interact within car design attributes in learning brands.​​​​​​​
Research Method: This study conducted a quantitative survey to analyze effectiveness of Secondary Brand Identity (SBI). The survey was distributed through the Qualtrics to collect participants responses. Survey questions were designed to measure the effectiveness of brand awareness based on the characteristics of the car brand. Brand confusion exists when consumers view a copycat design and mistakenly confused the copycat with the original. According to the comparative mode by Miaoulis & D'Amato (1978), van Horen and Pieters (2012), consumers readily and spontaneously compare the products that are presented based on various attributes. Thus, the SBI features were comprised of two different parts in survey questionnaire. Part 1- (Characteristic features): Front grill, headlight, rear light from Question 1 to Question 10. Part 2- (Body Silhouette): Front, side and rear view from Questions 11 to Questions 20. A total of 10 car brands (ranked on the top 5 best car brands and the top 5 best luxury car brands in the 2018 U.S. News & World Report) were selected to compare the effects/influence between the brand values and brand awareness. 
Conclusion & Discussion: This study investigated a brand awareness and familiarity with the secondary brand identity through brand attributes and characteristics in car design. Moreover, the research was to demonstrate visual perception and cognition of branding recognition in comparison with 10 different brands through a quantitative survey. According to the result of survey comprised of two different parts of brand attributes and characteristics, it was found that front grill was the most effective feature as a secondary identity. This study also found that front grill design represents a distinguished brand while front body shape and silhouette supports to unified shape of front grill design. All car brands describe different visual identities based on the front grill design, but this research found that luxury brands appeared as much more effective in brand awareness and familiarity compared with others. This result underpins that luxury brand such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz have continued to keep the longevity of design attributes and characteristics as their representative brand identity of the car design. The Cadillac brand is the only one appearing with effective characteristics with both front and rear views in terms of the brand signature with consistent design elements and shapes. However, other brands such as low and medium-priced brands often introduce a new feature to bring more attention of consumers to the instant design instead of delivery of signature of design originality. The result of analysis of survey responses shows that participants recognized two brands, Kia’s Soul and Honda’s Civic, with the rear lamp design. While most luxury brands were referred to the brand awareness and familiarity with an originality of design attributes, this study found that new characteristics of design attributes and shapes may provide an effective visual recognition by consumers in low and medium-priced market. This research concludes that brand awareness and familiarity through the Secondary Brand Identity (SBI) is importantly considered for brand recognition beyond engagement of brand identity. Effective design attributes and characteristics of SBI provides a potential longevity of market values and consumer’s satisfaction in terms of the signature of design originality, appearing especially in distinctive car brands. This study will develop enhanced investigation with scientific evaluation by analysis of the statistical data through the eye tracking that explores how and what people interact within car design attributes in learning brand.  
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