Delving into Brand Equity with Ananya Huria [Undergraduate]

Ananya Huria is an undergraduate international business and entrepreneurship student working on a research project with Dr. Esra Memili and Dr. James Milanese. Ananya sat down with UNCG Research to tell us about her work, how she got started in research, and how it influenced her career path.

Tell us about your research!

Brand equity- it is a value held by a logo or a brand name of a company. For example, the name Coke or the Nike Swoosh has some financial value to Coke and Nike. As soon as a new product is launched in the market with a Nike swoosh on it, it can sell for a premium price. But how do you know what the real worth is of the four letter word “Coke” or a simple logo? That’s what I am interested in researching. My research involves combining marketing concepts, such as brand image and associations, with financial tools, like cash flows and net present value, to formulate a method to calculate a dollar value for brand equity.

How did you get started?

I find the concept of brand image quite intriguing, especially in our current postmodern consumerism driven world, where we can’t imagine a market without brands. The more I studied marketing techniques and brand management, it fascinated me how we as customers associate certain qualities with certain products. And for the longest time companies have been using these associations as attractions. Then, last semester (my junior year), I took a finance class. We studied stock valuation techniques. I thought that if GAAP has standardized methods to calculate what the tangible assets are worth, there must be a way to calculate intangible assets. Goodwill is not a new concept for companies; they have recognized the benefits of having a strong positive image. So, I approached my finance professor and discussed this idea with him.

What was the best or coolest thing about engaging in your research? What was the most challenging? What was the most unexpected?

You know, when you are working on a long mathematical problem that seems never ending, but when you finish it and get that figure… it is the best feeling in the entire world! I am not a finance major, but the finance part of the research just makes it fun. I get to learn new tools and be more creative. It is also the most challenging part of my project, as well as combining it with the branding concepts.

Who have you collaborated with and what was that experience like?

As my project involves two different areas of business, brand management within entrepreneurial corporations and asset valuation, I am working with two faculty members in the Bryan School. Dr. Esra Memili is an assistant professor of entrepreneurship, and Mr. James Milanese is a lecturer in the department of accounting and finance.

How do you think your research has impacted you or will impact you in the future?

I want to pursue brand management as a career, so having an understanding of the numbers and knowing how to calculate a brand’s actual worth would give me an advantage as a creative manager. Also, many researches are currently being done on how companies can use brand equity as a strategic growth tool. I want to be able input in these findings.

What brought you to UNCG?

I came here to pursue my undergraduate degree in business administration. Over the years it has led me to research opportunities and a double major in international business and entrepreneurship.

What do you plan to do next?

An MBA degree is next on the list, but before that I want to work and gain some experience. Hopefully I will find a job that takes me to New York or London.

Article author Eun-Ju Seo is a Media and Communication Intern with the UNCG Office of Research and Economic Development. She manages the UNCG Research Perspectives blog, which highlights the research and creative activities of our distinguished faculty, staff, and students. Eun-Ju is a music education major in her junior year. Her passion for communication led her to her current position.

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