The same can be said about a brand… or to be more precise, a brand image.
A brand image is the view of customers, both current and potential, has about a brand. The impression they have about the brand’s ‘personality’ can be either real or imaginary, and it is about the good qualities or shortcomings.
Imagine an animal – the dove. When one thinks of this docile bird, it is associated with the idea of peace, tranquility and calmness. When you talk about Dove, the personal care brand, it represents beauty, strength, feminism and diversity.
Brand image is the objective and mental feedback of the consumers when they purchase a product. Positive brand image is exceeding the customers’ expectations, and this would also enhance the goodwill and brand value of an organization.
Let’s take a look at Reebok – you would think of attributes like running, endurance, and health. If you think about 7-Eleven, you would associate it with availability and convenience.
The idea behind brand image is that the consumer is not purchasing just the product or the service, but also the image and values associated with that product/service.
Brand image should be positive, relevant and instant. It can be strengthened using brand communications like advertising, packaging, word of mouth, customer service, retail layout, marketing promotions and events. Your customer’s entire experience with you, really.
Of course, there are brand images which are negative. This includes True Fitness, where the branches in Malaysia and Thailand were abruptly closed down middle of this year. The brand, to most of its gym goers and workers, bring about disappointment, dissatisfaction and mistrust.
In essence, the brand image is like a presentation of a company personified as a person. Like a celebrity. Like how one day Shia LaBeouf can be a well-liked actor, and the very next day, be hated due to his stunts and crazy antics.
Brand image is paramount in building credibility and loyalty among potential customers. Social media specialist, speaker and author Simon Mainwaring points out that it takes effort in order to build your consumer’s relationship to your brand.
“Transforming a brand into a socially responsible leader doesn’t happen overnight by simply writing new marketing and advertising strategies. It takes effort to identify a vision that your customers will find credible and aligned with their values,” he said.
So remember, when customers purchase a product or service from you, they are not merely purchasing a product or brand; they are purchasing what your brand stands for.