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Using laddering to understand and leverage a brand’s equity

Brian Wansink (Founder and Director of the Food and Brand Lab and Jointly Appointed Professor of Marketing, Advertising and Agricultural and Consumer Economics at University of Illinois, Urbana‐Champaign, Champaign, Illinois, USA)

Qualitative Market Research

ISSN: 1352-2752

Article publication date: 1 June 2003


Understanding a brand’s equity is difficult for researchers. Building on means‐end theory, describes a method – laddering – which has proven useful in uncovering insights related to the source and the nature of a brand’s equity. Through laddering interviews, a meaningful “mental map” can be developed that visually links a brand’s attributes, the benefits or consequences of using it, and the personal values it satisfies. An analysis of 1,200 laddering interviews indicates that a combination of only seven basic values are at the core of most brand purchases. A number of illustrations of laddering insights and their implications for the marketing mix are given to show how laddering can help marketers understand and revitalize brand equity.



Wansink, B. (2003), "Using laddering to understand and leverage a brand’s equity", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 111-118.




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