The concept and meaning of brand image
Fundamentally, brand image is the perception a customer has about a specific brand. It is a range of associations that form an opinion in a customer’s mind. As such, it can tell us a lot about a particular brand and its position on the market, as well as how others see it.
However, brand image also carries an emotional value. Of course, it sticks in someone’s mind as a mental image as well. But it is a reflection of a company’s character, and it draws the attention to the organisation’s vision and goals. In essence, it shows what the customers believe a brand stands for.
Positive brand image is, of course, a goal for every company. However, such an image has a unique logo that represents it in the best light possible. Furthermore, it has a slogan that gives a summary of the business and a brand identifier as well. The identifier is there to support the essential values a business has.
Consumers are subject to various influences, so it’s only logical that a variety of sources would form their impressions. Thus, many things can remind them of a brand, which is how brand image is actually created. These subjective perceptions are the basis for forming a positive or negative brand image. For example, many consider Volvo to be a safe option, while Toyota is a reliable car brand.
However, what’s interesting about brand image is that consumers are not just buying certain products or services. By buying them, they’re also buying the image that’s associated with them. Thus, brand image ought to have a positive connotation. Moreover, it should be unique and instantly recognisable.
For that to happen, companies often use specific ads and packaging. Furthermore, they use word-of-mouth publicity as well, and basically, any other promotional tool that might get them the desired brand image.
Developing a brand image
Unfortunately, businesses cannot just create brand image, as that’s not their job. One way or another, the customers are the ones who are actually the main element of this creation. Since brand image is comprised of various associations, the customers play a key role.
These associations come in the form of benefits and attributes. Brand attributes are the specific or conceptual mental and functional links that the customers link to a certain brand. They are the overall evaluation of your brand, courtesy of your customers. Meanwhile, brand benefits are the reasons why they should buy a certain product or service.
Thus, brand image takes into account:
- The product’s appeal
- How easy it is to use it
- How famous it is
- The overall value
In essence, the content your brand offers to the world is its brand image. Thus, what defines it is the mental and the objective feedback of the users of products or services. It is the takeaway your customers have after doing business with you.
So what does positive brand image entail? Well, it entails your brand meeting your customers’ needs and expectations. If you’ve successfully created such an image, then you can expect your brand value to increase. Moreover, the positive brand image should also enhance your organisation’s goodwill.
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