Brand image is a set of beliefs, ideas and impressions that a person holds about a brand. In other words, brand image is how each person views the identity, purpose, and value of brands that they interact and potentially engage with. It can evolve over time and doesn’t necessarily involve a customer making a purchase or using your products and/or services.
It is not just the physical features which creates a brand but it is also the feelings which consumers develop towards the company or its product. This combination of physical as well as emotional cues is triggered when individuals are exposed to the name, the logo, the visual identity, or even the message which is communicated.
It is a difficult thing to control as you cannot guarantee how a customer will perceive a brand. That will vary from person to person. It’ll depend on their own personal beliefs, ideas, impressions, and how you tie into that equation.
But what you can do is implement a brand image strategy that gives you the best possible chance of coming across the way you want to, which will ultimately increase your company’s chances of success.
Why is Brand Image Important?
Today, many consumers (especially millennials and Generation Z) don’t buy products simply because they are the best product, but because of what they stand for. In fact, a Harvard Business Review study found that 64% of consumers say that shared values is the primary reason they have a relationship with a brand. That was by large the biggest driver, and only 13% cited frequent interactions as the primary reason for a relationship. So, communicating your values is an important part of building a brand image.
A product can be simply copied by other players in a market however a brand will always be one-of-a-kind. For instance, Pepsi and Coca-Cola taste very similar but, for some reason, some people feel more connected to Coca-Cola and others to Pepsi. Both are just carbonated drinks but they market their brands based on happiness and lifestyles that people want to buy into.
A strong brand image creates an impression, and making a good first impression is important. Be that through your website, business cards, appearance of your staff or shop. It may seem superficial but it is how a potential customer will judge you. So, employing a decent web designer like Koreti could make the difference between gaining and losing a customer online.
Your brand image is paramount to building credibility and loyalty among potential customers. If you consistently work at maintaining a stable brand image, it contributes to a consumer’s relationship with your brand. The more often you can deliver on your brand promise with a strong brand image, the easier it will be for consumers to remember your brand and what it stands for.
Having a positive brand image brings a number of advantages to an organisation:
- It increases recognition of the organisation and products – a strong brand is instantly recognisable and stands out against competition
- It generates sales – a solid brand image is a direct influence on consumers’ buying decisions. People want to buy from companies they recognise, like, and trust. So, if you manage to create a strong brand image, you’re far more likely to make a sale.
- It creates trust within the marketplace – a strong brand is instinctively trusted by customers
- It improves employee morale and satisfaction – if your brand image is linked to your mission and values this creates employee retention
- It generates referrals – A powerful brand image works like glue, binding consumers to your company, so they work with you, stay with you, and tell others about your business.
How to Build Brand Image
To build a strong brand image you need to work out what your brand is and who your audience is.
Determine your Mission, Vision and Values
Defining your company’s mission, vision and values is an important starting point when it comes to building a brand image. Everything you do and every decision you make should fall in line with your mission, vision and values. If these are strong, they will help define your brand.
Understand your Audience
Almost everything you do should be shaped by your audience: their needs, interests, desires, preferences, and expectations.
Try to cover these four bases when it comes to getting to know your audience:
- Geographics: details about their home city and country, like the climate and population – and how that influences purchasing habits
- Demographics: personal details like age, gender, education, income level, and life stage can have a big impact on the way they shop
- Psychographics: their lifestyle, interests, values, and attitudes toward different topics, which can help you better connect with them on a personal level
- Behavioural: how they behave in a shopping environment, like what they’re looking for, how they use these items, and where they are in the buying process
Create a Brand Positioning Statement
A brand positioning statement sets you apart from the competition and tells consumers exactly how you solve their needs. To create this, research your competitors and understand what makes your brand unique. Perhaps you have a strength in an area that one of your competitors is weak in. Once you understand what makes you different, create a one to two sentence statement that communicates your unique value to your customers.
Create a Brand Personality
Just like a person, each brand needs a crafted personality, voice, and characteristics. Start by choosing the tone and write down the attributes of your brand. You can also make a list of things your brand is and is not. Defining a brand personality will bring consistency to your marketing and brand image.
Create a Marketing Strategy
Once you understand what your brand is and who your target audience is you can formulate a marketing strategy to grow your brand image. Work out the best ways to target your chosen audience and use a variety of media – social media, email, advertising, sponsorship and events.
One of the most important steps for strong brand image building is to make sure your messaging is consistent. Use the same visual aesthetics across all materials and platforms. This includes photo or illustration styles, colours, icons, and fonts. Use the same brand tone of voice in your copy. The tone is critical to personality perception, so all of your materials should support it.
Brand image is important for any business. When consumers buy a product or service, they aren’t just buying a product or service; they’re buying what your brand stands for. That’s why it’s so important to design your brand image to convey exactly what you want it to say. Think about your brand image as a whole early on. Be consistent with your brand and build it from there.