Skip to main content
Log in

Cultivating service brand equity

  • Published:
Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science Aims and scope Submit manuscript


In packaged goods, the product is the primary brand. However, with services, the company is the primary brand. This article, based on primary research with 14 mature, high-performance service companies, makes a case for service branding as a cornerstone of services marketing for today and tomorrow. The article presents a service-branding model that underscores the salient role of customers' service experiences in brand formation. Four primary strategies that excellent service firms use to cultivate brand equity are discussed and illustrated. Branding is not just for tangible goods; it is a principal success driver for service organizations as well.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others


  • Aaker, David A. 1996.Building Strong Brands. New York: Free Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Beers, Charlotte. 1998. “Building Brands Worthy of Devotion.”Leader to Leader 11 (Winter): 39–42.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Berry, Leonard L. 1999.Discovering the Soul of Service: The Nine Drivers of Sustainable Business Success. New York: Free Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • — and A. Parasuraman. 1991.Marketing Services: Competing Through Quality. New York: Free Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gilly, Mary C. and Mary Wolfinbarger. 1998. “Advertising's Internal Audience.”Journal of Marketing 62 (January): 69–88.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gordon, Seth. 1998. “Permission Marketing.”Fast Company 14 (April–May): 198–212.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hudler, Donald W. 1996. “Leadership With Enthusiasm.” A speech at Texas A&M University's Center for Retailing Studies Fall Symposium, Dallas, October 17.

  • Keller, Kevin Lane. 1993. “Conceptualization, Measuring, and Managing Customer-Based Brand Equity.”Journal of Marketing 57 (January): 1–22.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Peters, Tom. 1997.The Circle of Innovation. New York: Knopf.

    Google Scholar 

  • Richards, Stan. 1998. “Building a Brand.” A speech at Texas A&M University's Center for Retailing Studies Fall Symposium, Dallas, October 8.

  • Schultz, Howard. 1997.Pour Your Heart Into It. New York: Hyperion.

    Google Scholar 

  • Storch, Jerry. 1998. “Building a Brand at Target Stores.” A speech at Texas A&M University's Center for Retailing Studies Fall Symposium, Dallas, October 8.

  • “Strategic Lessons From the World's Best Brands.” 1998.Leader to Leader 10 (Fall): 54–56.

  • Thurow, Roger. 1998. “A Sports Icon Regains Its Footing by Using the Moves of the Past.”Wall Street Journal, January 21, pp. A1 and A8.

  • Webber, Alan M. 1997. “What Great Brands Do—An Interview of Scott Bedbury.”Fast Company 10 (August–September): 96–100.

    Google Scholar 

  • Zeithaml, Valarie A. 1981. “How Consumer Evaluation Processes Differ Between Goods and Services.” InMarketing of Services. Eds. James H. Donnelly and William R. George. Chicago: American Marketing Association, 186–189.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Additional information

Leonard L. Berry holds the JCPenney Chair of Retailing Studies and is a Distinguished Professor of Marketing and Director of the Center for Retailing Studies at Texas A&M University. A former national president of the American Marketing Association, he is the author ofDiscovering the Soul of Service andOn Great Service and coauthor ofMarketing Services and Delivering Quality Service, all published by Free Press (New York). He received the 1996 Career Contributions to Services Marketing Award from the American Marketing Association. He also has been recognized twice with the highest honors Texas A&M bestows on a faculty member: the Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching (in 1990) and the Distinguished Achievement Award in Research (in 1996). He is a board member of CompUSA, Genesco Inc., Hastings Entertainment, and Lowe's Companies, Inc.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Berry, L.L. Cultivating service brand equity. J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. 28, 128–137 (2000).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: