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Definition: Brand image

What is brand image?

Brand image is the general impression, perception, and associations any given customer has about a brand. The perception of a brand’s image is influenced by a multitude of factors such as their prior experiences with the brand, its products/services, and how much they personally relate with the brand’s identity (i.e. its visual brand elements, values, and cultural relevance in society). Strong brand identity = Positive brand image.

Why is a strong brand image important?

Building a strong, uniquely recognizable brand image helps to foster closer relationships with a brand’s customers and drive higher brand equity. Particularly in the digital era where competition for consumer attention is fierce, a strong brand personality that people can relate with can make all the difference in differentiating a brand from its competitors.

That’s why it’s becoming increasingly common for organizations to hire brand managers for the purposes of establishing a brand image that has maximum appeal to its target audience, while also ensuring a brand’s identity is consistently communicated across all customer touchpoints—both online and offline.

Here are some common reasons why investing resources into maintaining and improving brand image is so important:

  • People pay a premium if they resonate with a brand’s image: While we all like to think we make purchasing decisions based on rational reasons, this isn’t really reflected in reality. Just take Apple. They’re the most valuable brand in the world not because they produce great products, but because their iconic, unconventional, and emotionally-driven branding has enabled them to build a staunchly loyal following that buy their products not because of their features, but because it’s an “Apple iPhone”. Brand equity in action.
  • Customers remember you: We’re visual creatures, and a recognizable logo and color palette can really stick in the minds long after a customer has scrolled past your latest marketing ad.
  • It fosters credibility and consumer trust: We like what we’re familiar with. By building a brand that audiences recognize and have had prior experience with, they’re much more likely to purchase again and stay loyal to your brand.
  • It helps you stand out from competitors: Brands are having to compete on the same channels using the same technologies and often the same marketing tactics. If your product and sales pitches are interchangeable from one competitor to the next, your brand image can be the key deciding factor in a consumer making a purchase with your brand as opposed to others.

If you’re looking for tips on how to build a culturally-relevant brand image that audiences will remember, check out our guide: Global brand building: How to be more than just a commodity.