Building and improving a brand image is more than just having unique logos or visuals; it’s about connecting with the audience and leaving a lasting impression. Brand image is an important component of any business; it has a significant impact on the brand’s reputation and influences the target audience’s attitude toward the brand.
To effectively attract and retain customers in today’s fast-paced and competitive market, you must consciously maintain a positive brand image. A strong brand image separates your products and services from the competition and positions you favorably with your target audience.
In this article, we will look at the various aspects of brand image and how to use it to improve brand goals.
Brand image refers to a customer’s impression of a company based on their interactions and experiences with it.
Customers’ interactions in this context extend beyond transactional interactions such as making a purchase or using a product or service. It also includes non-transactional interactions such as seeing an ad or word-of-mouth recommendation.
Although the operative word is “image”, brand image is more than just the visual elements of a brand such as its logo or symbol; it also encapsulates intangible brand attributes such as value, simplicity, quality, and more.
As a result, every interaction a customer has with your brand, whether through social media, a purchase, or a customer service experience, shapes their perception of you.
Understanding what your customers think of your brand enables you to develop and promote your brand image positively. It’s a never-ending process of monitoring and adjusting your messaging and image to match customer perceptions and expectations.
As a result, you need to invest significant time and resources in developing brand assets and attributes such as personality, voice, and market positioning to positively influence your customers’ perceptions of your brand.
People’s perceptions of you can change as they interact with your brand, but creating a strong and positive first impression increases your chances of converting them.
First impressions are a combination of visual and emotional stimuli. As a result, you must ensure that the messaging and visual elements of new customers’ interactions with your brand are flawless and appealing.
Establishing a positive brand image allows you to connect with customers and gain their trust and loyalty. When customers have a positive experience with your brand, they are more likely to trust you.
Also, most people are more likely to buy a new product from a familiar brand than an unfamiliar brand. So you need to continuously position your brand as one that delivers on its promises and is willing to find innovative solutions to customer problems.
A positive brand image helps customers perceive your products or services to be more valuable than competitors. This increases the likelihood of customers choosing your brand over others regardless of price.
Since you have a larger market share than your competitors, you can charge higher prices for your products.
There is far too much competition in today’s world to not have a strong brand image. It would be incredibly hard for people to recognize your brand without a strong brand image.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to strengthen your brand recognition is to maintain a consistent brand image. As a result, you have to be deliberate in making your brand memorable, e.g crafting aesthetically pleasing slogans and logos.
Positive brand recognition and recall are long-term benefits of a positive brand image. A strong reputation allows you to reach new customers without relying on promotions; satisfied customers are more than willing to recommend your brand to their network.
It also makes new product launches easier because people already trust your brand and are willing to try your products without incentives.
A negative brand image can have a significant impact on a business, leading to a range of negative effects. Some of the main effects and impacts of a negative brand image include the following:
A negative brand image reduces the perceived value and quality of your products or services. It may also cause customers to avoid the brand in favor of competitors, resulting in a significant loss of revenue and market share.
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Regardless of how inaccurate customers’ negative perception of your brand is, it can severely hurt your brand reputation. It also increases the likelihood of negative word of mouth, which will make it incredibly hard to attract new customers.
For example, customers who have had negative experiences with your brand are likely to share their negative experiences with potential customers via multiple channels like social media, or review websites, further damaging your brand reputation.
The chances of successfully launching new products when you have a negative brand image are slim. A negative brand image fosters distrust among your customers, making them wary of the products and services you offer.
A significant financial side effect of a negative brand image is that partners, sponsors, or investors may withdraw their resources because it can potentially reduce their financial gains.
Create a clear and consistent brand positioning and messaging that distinguishes you from competitors and aligns with the values and needs of your target audience.
You’ll also need to create brand assets, which include logos, color schemes, typography, and other design elements that help your target audience recognize you. Aside from creating visuals, ensure your brand values and mission reflects across your organization, your products, communication channels even your work culture.
Offering high-quality products and services presents you as a brand that delivers on your promises and gives customers enough value for their money. This increases their trust in you, which strengthens your reputation and, ultimately, your brand image as a trustworthy brand.
Customer interactions with your brand shape their perception of you, so focus on providing a positive experience for them at every touchpoint. If you notice that customer dissatisfaction with your brand is increasing, create a user experience that will assist you in determining their pain points.
In addition, ask customers what they dislike about your brand and how you can improve; this will serve as a guide for developing product improvement strategies. You could also conduct competitor analysis to determine what your competitor is doing better and how you can outperform it.
Monitor and assess how customers perceive your brand by checking social media comments and mentions; you can even automate your brand monitoring efforts by using data listening tools such as Google Alerts.
You could also keep an eye out for mentions of your competitors to see what customers like about their offerings and how you can tailor your products and services to be the best option for your target audience.
Negative events can permanently damage your brand’s image and reputation if they are not handled properly. So, make sure you have a crisis plan in place that will allow you to clearly explain the situation to customers and put them at ease.
While there are many ways to assess your brand’s image, one of the simplest and most effective is through a brand perception survey. Here’s a step-by-step guide to using Formplus to assess your brand image:
Create and distribute a brand perception survey to determine how customers and members of your organization perceive the brand.
Start by customizing the brand perception survey template; it’s a collection of questions that allows you to understand how your target audience perceives your brand.
When customizing the brand perception survey, don’t just focus on how customers perceive your brand; also include open-ended questions about how you improve your products and services to meet their needs.
For example, “what attributes do you expect from a brand that sells XYZ products?” Open-ended questions like this one allow you to elicit insightful responses that will help you present your brand in a way that appeals to your target audience.
While looking for areas for improvement, you can ask questions to help you evaluate your competition’s brand performance. This will help you position your brand favorably with customers.
For example, “what qualities do you associate with these brands?” This will allow you to see how customers perceive your competitors and how you can outperform them.
Review the respondents’ responses and verify if the perception they have is consistent with the brand image you want them to have. If it isn’t, use the open-ended suggestions to figure out what you can do better.
Don’t just collect data and develop strategies; put them into action and evaluate your brand’s performance regularly. Periodic brand perception surveys can help you see how well you’re meeting your branding objectives and what you can do to improve them.
McDonald’s is a good example of a successful brand image because of its dynamic menu and consistent brand messaging and visual elements. It has built a reputation for fast, convenient food and has become a household name all over the world.
The brand has successfully adapted to changing consumer preferences by providing healthier menu options and more sustainable packaging.
Mercedes-Benz has established itself as a luxury and high-performance vehicle manufacturer. Its vehicles are perceived as status symbols and are associated with wealth and success.
The brand has also made huge investments in research and development to stay ahead of the curve in terms of technology and design to effectively appeal to its target audience.
Nike has successfully positioned itself as a symbol of professional athleticism and fitness. Its slogan “Just Do It” has come to represent motivation and determination.
It has also partnered with some of the world’s most famous athletes, which has contributed to its position as a top brand in the athletic apparel industry.
Your brand image reflects how your customers perceive your brand as a whole, including your products or services, values, personality, and more. A major benefit of understanding your brand image is that it allows you to capitalize on your strengths and present your brand to your target audience favorably.
However, building and maintaining a positive brand image necessitates consistent branding and marketing efforts. Start by creating a brand perception survey to measure and identify ways to improve your brand image.
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