Fast food chain restaurants are among the many types of restaurants that are interested in building strong brands, but achieving that goal was not always easy. Despite the huge demand for U.S brands and purchasing power for foreign fast food brands existed in Malaysia, only few successful Malaysian fast food brands could have survived (Hamisah, 2009). This was mainly because Malaysian fast food brands lacked expertise in banding and marketing (Marshall Cavendish, 2009).
The main objective of this study was to develop a consumer-based brand equity model in the context of Malaysian fast food industry. Importantly, this study investigates the causal relationships among dimensions of consumer-based brand equity. In the same vein, it classifies the dimensions of Aaker’s (1991) consumer-based brand equity model based on hierarchy of effects theory, which provided the guidelines for the development for most of the available marketing models (Belch & Belch, 2009).
A total number of 600 self-administrated questionnaires were distributed via nonprobability convenience sampling across fast food restaurant brands in the Klang Valley, Malaysia. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was adopted to analyze the data. Out of 12 hypotheses, 9 statements were supported and 3 were rejected.
Importantly, brand familiarity and brand trust served as essential variables in the model. By including brand familiarity, the missing link of brand awareness could be justified as it shows the linkage between brand awareness and other dimensions. Brand trust was considered important because it was classified as an affective character when compared to others. The findings of the proposed model was simplified into four steps, each step depended upon the successful completion of previous step, in line with “branding ladder” as introduced by Keller (2001). Lastly, it provided a vital input for government assistance programmes in developing the fundamental knowledge of branding strategy among local entrepreneurs.