What is Brand Image and Why Is It Important?
Brand image is more than just a logo that identifies your business, product, or company. It is a combination of brand reputation and brand association that consumers make based on every interaction they have with your business.
Entrepreneurs often associate a brand image with unnecessary expenses that add no value to their existing product offering. They are so focused on making their offerings the best that brand image is forgotten. Most business owners, especially small business owners don’t really think about their brand image until there’s a problem with the image they’re developing.
The reality, though, is that brand image matters, and it matters a lot. Here’s why brand image goes beyond branding as we know it:
Defining Brand Image
Brand image is the perception of the brand in the mind of the customer. It is a collective of beliefs, ideas, and impressions that a customer holds regarding the brand.
In other words, brand image is how each person views the identity, purpose, and value of brands that they interact with. The thing about the brand image is that you can’t fully control how each customer will perceive your brand, because it varies from person to person. But what you can do is implement a brand image strategy that will increase your company’s chances of success.
It’s important to note that even those who do not need or use your products or services can form associations and create an image of you in the same way, so the brand image is essential across the board.
Difference of Brand Image from Other Branding Elements
Difference Between Brand Image and Brand Identity
Brand identity is how the brand wants the customer to perceive it. It’s how the company portrays itself to the customers. It focuses on what the company is trying to communicate about itself. Brand identity is fully controlled by the brand.
Brand image is how the customers actually perceive the brand. It’s the customers’ perspective of the brand. It is how the customers actually see the brand based on their interactions. The company has less control over its image and always strives to align this with the brand image that actually exists in consumers’ minds.
Difference Between Brand Image and Brand Awareness
Brand Awareness is the recall factor associated with a brand. It focuses on how consumers can think of a brand when they begin looking for a product or service they need or want. It’s all about brand salience and how prominent a brand is in a consumer’s mind. If people are easily able to identify the product brand in terms of its physical features or recognize it, the product is said to have good brand awareness.
Brand Image is basically what people think about the specific product sold by the company. It focuses on the brand associations and perceptions built-up over time which paints a picture of the brand overall. They are abstract ideas and psychological associations that influence people’s decision-making. A good brand image translates to people associating positive emotions with the brand.
Importance of Brand Image
Establishing a Competitive Advantage
Brand image can positively impact brand equity and is therefore important when capturing a larger proportion of the market share. This allows companies to charge premium prices, which customers will actually be willing to pay for. Implementing brand or product extension strategies will be more successful since consumers view you positively and already trusts you.
Establishing a Good Reputation
A positive brand image suggests that existing and potential customers see your brand as one that satisfies or could satisfy their needs whether it’s through physical product attributes and benefits, or more intangible benefits such as affordability. Basically, having a positive brand image means having a good reputation.
Reflection of Good Management
Your brand image can be seen as a reflection of how well your business is being managed and how well your business meets the needs of the market overall. This will impact how well you can compete with competitors and other industry leaders.
How to Build Brand Image?
Build Your Brand Identity
A company can’t control its brand image but can manage its brand identity well since a company’s brand identity is something that the company can fully control. Therefore, it’s important to truly understand what you want your brand to be perceived as, and communicate this effectively to the market through relevant channels that can convey your brand’s identity and value well.
This ensures the company can build up positive associations, which are then converted into the perceptions comprising the brand image.
Likewise, it’s important to make sure that your values are relevant and relatable to your target audience. Being customer-centric enables you to indirectly impact the associations consumers form towards you, allowing you to influence the creation of brand images in the subconscious of these consumers.
Build Your Brand Position
Positioning concerns how you intend to deliver value in a unique and personal way to your target consumer. When you know who your target consumer is, what they like or dislike, and what their problems are, then you can begin to understand the best way to approach them.
Your competitor most likely serving your target market as well, so understanding their appeal and approach, as well as their strengths and weaknesses, allows you to learn from them and discover opportunities. Differentiators are reasons why your audience will remember you.
Create Positive Customer Experiences
Brand image is primarily formed through direct experiences customers have with your brand. Therefore, making a good impression becomes crucial.
It may be through a smooth and easy online experience, excellent customer service in a physical store, or seeing how effective it is through a friend.
This means you need well-trained and enthusiastic employees working for your company, as well as having a clean physical store that is easy to navigate, or attractive packaging that conveys your desired identity.
Invest in Effective Marketing
What’s the point of formulating your desired identity and attempting to shape a consumer’s image of your brand if you can’t communicate that value to your consumers? Brand image can be influenced by creatively advertising what you stand for, thereby creating strong, unique, and relevant associations in consumers’ minds.
How to Improve Brand Image?
Because companies can only influence brand image and not control it, it’s important to improve your existing brand image as best as possible. This can be done very practically in several ways, here is a brand strategy example:
Monitoring word of mouth, which can contribute to the formation of perceptions that comprise the brand image
Ensuring consistent delivery of the value you promise to consumers in your positioning statement
Continually communicating your unique values and attributes through marketing strategies
Providing high-quality products or services, focusing on the customer experience
The brand image relates to how consumers view your brand, your offering, and what you stand for. It’s essential in developing strong brand equity and therefore competing successfully in the market. Knowing and communicating what your brand stands for and creating positive customer experiences are significant ways you can indirectly build your brand image. This is why it’s good to learn from the best and read about branding from the best branding books so you can expand your horizons and be good at what you do. Your brand isn’t gonna build itself.
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