A brand image goes beyond simply a logo or graphic that is associated with a company.
- Although a logo provides an easy, well-recognised connection to a brand, it is not enough to simply rely on this to represent a brand’s image.
- The whole customer experience needs to be considered: logo, brand guidelines, social channels, website, and even the manner consumers are addressed whether it’s on the phone or in person.
The easiest way to first check a brand’s relevance is by imagining the way consumers would regard the experience they are offered, if it is not positive from start to finish, a brand must investigate why, and then form a plan to improve upon this. The six points below will provide a good point of comparison when figuring out how relevant a company’s brand image is.
1. Effective branding means more recognition:
Business, whether it is gained from consumers or other agencies, tends to develop from brand familiarity. Therefore, a brand image must be consistent and recognisable. Consumers and companies alike will feel more confident in purchasing the brand’s services or product, if they are familiar with the brand image, regardless if it comes from a physical or online purchase.
2. Brand image places a company above the competition:
With the current global market and the amount of advertising consumers are exposed with, it is essential to stand out from the crowd. Consumers will always have multiple choices at their disposal that might well be better than the brand in question, so it is imperative to take the time to construct an effective brand image that will resonate with consumers above other competitors.
A brand image will only continue to place a company above the competition if it remains clear and focused. It is far too easy to jump from idea to idea in an attempt to keep consumers engaged as this can sometimes have the opposite effect. It is essential to remember the company’s primary goal when carrying out a brand image - it will guide marketing efforts that save time and money - and most importantly will keep that company ahead of the competition.
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For example, McDonald's was founded in 1955, and since its inception, the brand image has been about quick and cheap food. Everything from the logo, to its restaurants, reflect and promote this message. Thanks to this consistency, customers now associate these aspects to the brand and they know what to expect when they have a McDonald's.
3. Positive business DNA:
As mentioned previously, a brand image does not just comprise of the logo. It is the full brand experience, ranging from visual elements to the manner of communication.
In order to connect with consumers, they need to know exactly what kind of company is behind the brand image - consumers are increasingly more interested in brands that share some of their values and vulnerabilities, whilst being authentic storytellers. This is the positive business DNA that a brand’s image should aspire to achieve.
4. Motivated staff:
A clear brand strategy will ensure staff understand how they should behave, succeed and how to meet the goals set by the company. The staff of a company are just as responsible for carrying the brand image as the logo, and a positive brand image will motivate and provide clear direction for staff.
5. A strong brand image develops referrals:
Brands are involved with many parts of a consumer’s life. They will wear, eat and, listen to brands on a daily basis. Without realising, they will be promoting these brands - people enjoy telling others about something they have found that they like or have gained value from using - ensuring a strong brand image is in place will increase reach and referrals from this.
This also links to a clear and focused brand image discussed in point two, whether a consumer has noticed the brand from a friend, on YouTube, TV or all three, if the core message is consistent, it will in turn, have three times as much impact.
6. A brand image is a promise:
A brand image is representative of a company, and what that company showcases is a promise given to its consumers.
A strong brand image provides a company with values and this will resonate more with consumers as, more often than not, they will invest in a company that shares similar values to themselves. Something to consider when devising a marketing strategy, as the value provided will go beyond the physical service or product sold and it is essential to deliver on this value as this is an unbreakable promise to consumers.
“It’s part of our core values to leave things better than we found them. It’s not about ticking boxes, it’s a key part of any business that wants to do good” CEO of Innocent Drinks, Douglas Lamont.
Innocent Drinks promotes their core values right through their products, to the way they hire staff - the promise they make to their consumers is evident in all aspects of the business.
Their website states their five values to be: natural, entrepreneurial, responsible, commercial, and general, and they are noticeable across the whole site and everything they do.
The most successful brand experience is grown from a good idea. It is important for any and all businesses because when a consumer is buying a product or service, their purchase does not end there. They are also buying into what the brand stands for.