The fact of the matter is that there is no consistent standard with which to measure brand equity.  By brand equity, I mean the power of a brand, not it's market value.  If my terms have been confusing to anyone, I apologize.  Brand equity, as Rodger's article put it so well, is like a mysterious pond from which managers draw their ability to build customer relationships, sell products, and develop their business.  The pond may be deeper at times, or shallower, but we assume it will always be there in some form.

Measuring the pond's volume is the hard part.

Almost everyone referred to the emotional aspect of a brand.  While brand recognition is the "mindshare," an emotional attachment to the Zales jingle, contoured Coca-cola bottle, or Starbucks logo is the "heartshare."  It is harder to win and can only be gained when branding "flows from the heart" (thanks Cleon!).  We can measure market recognition of a brand as easily as we can its market value, but knowing "if an affinity for a trendy brand will stick through the decades" is an elusive art (thanks Molly!).

Asking someone today to gauge their loyalty towards a specific brand gives you zero insight into the brand's true potential.  This is a statistic that must be measured over time - the change in day-to-day customer loyalty gives you an idea of the brand's strength, particularly when paired with the ebbs and flows of market sentiment.

Knowing that 86% of people prefer Coke to Pepsi (note: random statistic that I made up!) on February 11, 2008 doesn't show much.  Knowing that, after a massive negative PR article on the 12th, that 80% of people still prefer Coke to Pepsi tells you the power of the Coke brand.  It's more elusive, and potentially more expensive, to figure out but is really the idea we're after.

What are your ideas on how to measure this long-term affinity for a brand?  How would you do so in your industry?  Would knowing your brand equity affect the way you do business?