What’s it: A brand image is a consumer’s impression of a brand. A brand is an essential part of marketing success because it acts to differentiate the company’s products from competitors’ products through names, designs, symbols, and other features.
But, even though it is different from competitors, just having a brand is not enough. Companies must develop a brand so that it gives a positive impression on the minds of consumers. In the end, a positive impression will make customers loyal and willing to buy back products at a later date.
What are some examples of brand images
An image is often associated with the brand’s personality, namely the brand’s emotional element. Indeed, the two are similar, it’s just that they take a different point of view. The brand image is from the consumer’s point of view, while the brand personality is from the company’s point of view.
Okay, right away, I’m going to take five examples of global brands and customer impressions.
- Coca-Cola refers to a soft drink which describes happiness, joy, and sincerity.
- Apple delivers technology that is innovative, imaginative, inspirational, and suitable for lifestyle.
- Nike is synonymous with sports shoes that are associated with toughness and fun.
- Amazon stands for sincerity, care, and competence.
- McDonald’s means family-friendly fast-food restaurants at affordable prices.
You may have a different impression of these brands. Indeed, the image of a brand depends on your experience when interacting with them, either directly or indirectly.
How a brand image differs from brand identity and brand personality
Brand identity represents a visible element of a brand. That includes typography, logos, colors, or packaging. It should describe the brand personality and what impression or image the company wants to create. Meanwhile, brand image is about consumer perceptions of the brand.
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Brand personality takes human psychology to be immersed in a brand, such as imaginative, happiness, and resilience. It should be reflected in the brand identity or the message that the company communicates through its promotional channels.
A brand will have a strong image if the brand personality matches the personality of the customer. In other words, the customer impression is the same as what the company wants to create. These similarities ultimately create a bond between brands and customers.
Why is brand image important in marketing
Brand image is essential to successful marketing and product sales and a source of competitive advantage. If the company has a strong positive brand image, customers will be loyal to its various product lines. They are willing to buy without a doubt. That way, customer money continues to flow to the company.
Broadly speaking, a strong brand image benefits a company for the following reasons.
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First, a successful and proven brand image creates customer loyalty. The price increase is less likely to affect customer interest in the company’s products. In other words, it creates an inelastic demand.
Second, it provides an opportunity to offer a premium price. Even though the price is higher, consumers still desire it. Take Apple, for example. When launching a new variant, consumers are willing to buy it and are even willing to queue up. In fact, the price is higher than similar products.
When a strong brand image and reputation for quality makes it easier for companies to attract new customers. The company’s efforts to attract new customers may be lighter. Customers are often happy to recommend it to their friends or family members.
Fourth, a strong brand image reduces the marketing costs of new product lines. If customers have a strong bond with a brand, they will love its other products too and without question. That is why Apple has successfully launched product lines such as mobile phones taking advantage of its previous product’s success, the computer.
Fifth, the brand image ultimately acts as a barrier to entry. High loyalty increases switching costs. They are reluctant to switch to competing brands, let alone a new company brand.
How to identify a strong brand image
You can identify the various successful brands around you, both from local companies and multinational companies. One of the signals that a brand has a strong image, in my opinion, is when you mention something, you will immediately remember the brand. For example, when you say “searching,” maybe you will quickly mention Google. Another example;
- Sports shoes mean “Nike.”
- Soft drink means “Coca Cola.”
- Spreadsheet means “Microsoft.”
For local brands, you know it better than I do.
How the company creates a strong brand image
Companies can take several attempts to build a strong brand image.
- Creating a brand personality, i.e., what impression the company wants to convey through its brand. Personality determines the bond between the customer and the brand.
- Developing a memorable brand. It’s a great way to get a brand stuck in people’s minds, make it easier for them to associate the brand name with the brand personality and company offerings. It eventually encourages them to engage more deeply.
- Creating a unique selling proposition. It differentiates the company’s brand from competitors’ brands and is why customers are willing to buy.
- Strengthening the impression of the brand through advertising campaigns or other promotional mixes. Companies ensure the messages they convey are consistent across promotional channels and with brand images. The cost factor is usually another consideration.
- Sustaining unique competitive value proposition over time. It becomes a tough task because of the dynamic market and competition. The company’s value proposition may be unique and different from its competitors. Still, it may no longer be relevant to consumer desires. Or, it is no less competitive because competitors have succeeded in creating better ones.