The first time the word “Brand Image” was used in the 1950s by none other than the famous advertising specialist Ogilvy, it basically means what do consumers think or perceive about a certain brand. Some of the Brands that have an exceptional Brand Image include Coca-Cola, Nike and McDonald’s. Philip Kotler, the Father of Marketing’ describes Brand Image as:
Brand image is a set of beliefs, ideas, and impressions that a person holds regarding an object – Kotler (2001)
To be the precise brand image is the brand’s tangible and intangible attributes based on the association formed consumer’s mind, the importance and intensity depend on the user’s personality, his/her approach towards the brand, social interaction, and brand communication.
If you‘re a start-up or a business that has just started flourishing, it is extremely important to build a Brand Image as soon as possible, but how do you do that? Here are some steps which will help you make and build a good Brand Image.
Business Goals / Mission and Vision
What need do you plan to satisfy by your product or service, it is very important to align your business goals with your brand image, as how do you differentiate yourself from other brands offering the same product or service, which in turn helps you gain brand value.
It is obviously clear to an entrepreneur or a businessman what the goals of the business are? What to achieve? Or in the basic terms what to sell to earn profits? The Vision is long-term like where do you see your business in 5 -10 years? And the Mission is Objective or the purpose of the business and how would you go about fulfilling the vision of the business. It has to be clear for consumers to understand hence make sure the brand image resonates with the vision and mission of your brand.
Just look at McDonald’s business goal which was fast food or quickly made burgers which at first impressed Ray Croc. Now the brand image of McDonald’s is still to serve good healthy inexpensive food quickly.
Identifying your Target Market & Brand Positioning
A very important part of your whole brand depends on who your target market or your potential consumers are, if you have the perfect product or service but you target it to the people who do not need it or cannot afford it, then that product or service fails, be very careful when identifying who will be the main driving force behind the purchase decision of your product/ service and target them.
How do you stand out from the competitors offering the same product or service? After selecting the target market think of how will you stand out in the market, which will increase your brand value.
You should do a SWOT Analysis for this, which will help you understand your strengths and opportunities, and in turn, help you create a modified brand image to break through the clutter and reach your potential consumer.
Lastly, position your brand in such a way that is unlike your competitor, for instance, NIKE and Adidas are competitors but they both position themself differently, while providing the same kind of products, Nike positions itself in a more competitive way, however, Adidas wants you to enjoy the sports you play.
Logo, Slogan and Brand Personality
This is the tricky part, till now what the work done was on the business end as in strategizing on the business end, but now consumers get to see what the brand is and what you are about. Be very careful and sharp when deciding your Logo and Slogan, it should speak to the consumer of what you are about.
Apple, when founded was known as Apple Computers Inc. as to let consumers know what the company offers, in the start most of these companies like Nike, McDonald’s, and Samsung all had their offering in their brand name, logo or the slogan. Remember that your brand name, the logo and the slogan is not your brand. They are the ways to communicate or symbolize your brand.
The arrow beneath the Amazon logo starts from A and ends at Z, depicting that everything from A-Z is available here, you have to be creative and spot-on in your logo.
Slogans have a great appeal as well, some of the most famous slogans include: ‘I’m lovin it’ and ‘Just do it’. Now they all tell a story like you will love eating at McDonald’s or after wearing Nike you will be ready. Slogans should be catchy and tempting as letting the consumer know the feeling or positive they will get after consumption of your product or service.
Brand Personality refers to the human characteristics associated with a brand, like dependable, cheerful and serious. Every Brand opts for a slightly different brand personality but industry-wise some personalities are mandatory, for instance a law firm, it should have a serious and dependable personality, on the other hand, a sports brand would be a person who is into fitness and health, a bit aggressive, etc.
Your Brand Image and Your Personality should complement each other to produce a higher Brand Value.
Finally, the time for the target market to know about your brand, you should be communicated on every channel that your target market is present on, stick to your brand image via logo, social media icon event your website design should personate your Brand Image and the Brand Personality.
Finally, for people to understand your brand image, you have to stick by the brand image throughout, on every communication, campaign, or channel your brand image should be the same.
Follow these key steps to build a strong brand image, to prolong a strong brand image, do not let your consumers forget you, always be there with the same brand image.
Do remember these are changing times, digital has taken most of the branding spaces in 2021 and more will be seen in 2022, your brand image should be integrated strongly on the digital platforms.