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Understanding a brand's equity is difficult for researchers. Building on means–end theory, we describe 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 750 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, Brian (2003). Using Laddering to Understand and Leverage a Brand's Equity. Qualitative Market Research, 6(2) 111–118. doi: 10.1108/13522750310470118.