Imagine that you are buying a refrigerator. There are tons of choices. In fact, a new brand offers a refrigerator with all the features that you want and it comes at a very affordable price. Despite this, you ended up buying one from LG, even if they are more expensive. After all, LG is better because they are a high-quality brand, right?
If you think like this, you are not the only one. According to studies, 58% of people prefer buying from brand name products over generic brands. Their main reason for this is that they think those products have higher quality and more trustworthy compared to generic brands.
It all boils down to brand image. Even if two products have the same quality or materials, if one brand has built a better brand image or reputation, customers will prefer them over the other.
But how do you build your brand image? Let’s take a deeper look at it, and see what you can do to build a strong brand image that inspires loyalty and trust from your customers.
What is a Brand Image?
Brand image is defined as “a symbolic construct created within the minds of people, consisting of all the information and expectations associated with a product, with a service, or with the companies providing them.”
To put it simply, brand image is how your customers perceive your brand. It’s whether they see your brand as high-quality or low-quality, affordable or luxurious, durable or flimsy, etc.
Your brand image is more than just your logo design, your brand name, or your website. It’s your overall branding efforts, plus the experience that you provide or promise to your customers, that leads to their positive or negative perception of your brand.
Why Does A Brand Image Matter?
Having a strong and established brand image has a lot of positive impact on your business. Like with our LG example earlier, lots of people buy from specific brands just because they expect a positive experience with them due to the image associated with that brand.
Some people also buy brands to fit in. If everyone is buying this specific brand, people will purchase it as well so they won’t look out of place. But to begin with, people will only buy that brand if they have a strong brand image. That is, if they are perceived as high-quality or the “better” choice compared to their competitors.
Aside from those, there are lots of other reasons why brand image matters. Some examples are:
It boosts your brand awareness, as having a good brand image will lead to more people talking about your brand.
It gives your brand a good first impression, making it easier for you to attract new customers.
It boosts trust in your existing customers, therefore increasing brand loyalty within them. It can also lead to your existing customers acting as your “brand ambassadors”, by recommending your brand to their family or friends.
It gives you a positive reputation, making you a preferred brand compared to your competitors.
It leads to more sales and profits down the line.
How To Build Brand Image
While you can’t exactly create your brand image (as you can’t control how your customers will feel toward your brand), you can do a lot of things to influence and build their perception of you. Here are some examples:
Build a great brand identity
Your brand identity is the collection of elements of your brand — your logo, color scheme, slogan, brand voice, etc.
Your brand identity is what makes you recognizable to your target audience. It’s what makes you stand out amongst other brands. If you don’t have a clearly defined brand identity, your audience will have a hard time remembering your brand.
To build a great brand identity, start first by having a well-designed logo as it is the first thing your audience will see of you. Make sure you have a unique and memorable brand name as well. If you’re having a hard time coming up with a name, play around with a business name generator online to help give you some ideas.
Use color schemes, illustrations, graphics, and photography that work with the image that you want your brand to portray. Then, apply these visual elements to your marketing materials such as posters, flyers, business cards, packaging, or website.
Provide quality products
All the marketing and branding efforts in the world will not matter if your products are not high-quality to begin with.
Focus on providing products that answer your customer’s needs. To do this, start by doing a comprehensive market and product research. From there, you can devise a proper product strategy — you’ll know your goals and the features that your product needs to meet them. Make sure that you also have a quality management system in place, to ensure that your products always meet your standards.
Make use of social media advertisements
In our digital world, more and more people are now spending time on social media. In fact, people spend an average of 2 hours and 31 minutes on it per day. If you want to reach your customers and craft your brand image, social media is the way to go.
Your brand needs to be present on social media platforms. Identify the platform that your customers use, and make sure that you have a page in there. This also makes it easier for you to build your brand identity and engage your customers.
You can also influence your brand image through your posts, and through paid ads platforms like Facebook Ads.
Focus on your customer’s experience
A great customer experience can be derived in two ways – from your product itself or from your marketing/branding efforts.
For your products, you can do this by ensuring that you consistently provide reliable and high-quality products all the time, incorporating innovative features such as dynamic QR codes. And in the event that there is an issue with your product, you need to provide prompt and helpful customer support. All of these will lead to more happy customers.
For your marketing efforts, one example could be your website. Having a well-functioning and easy-to-navigate website will give a more positive impression to your customer, compared to when your website is slow, laggy, and not visually appealing.
Take note of little details
All the little things can add to a high-quality image of your brand.
For example, print your business cards on premium paper. Always use high-quality images in your materials instead of relying on generic stock photos. Use more sophisticated words in your product descriptions. Make sure that your product videos are always well-shot and well-lit.
Another example is your packaging design. 61% of customers say that they are willing to make repeat purchases of a luxury product if it came in premium packaging. This is because having great packaging justifies their decision of purchasing a more expensive product, and reiterates to their minds that the product is more high-quality.
Every brand dreams of being perceived as a high-quality brand. After all, customers would always prefer buying a high-quality product over a low-quality one, right?
However, showcasing your product’s quality can be a lot more difficult than you think. Even if you crafted a great product, if it doesn’t come across as high quality to your customers, it’s pointless.
This is why building a great brand image plays a more important role than you might think. Your brand image can make or break your brand, and is what separates a popular brand from the rest.
Brand image is built over time, and not created in a snap. Take note of the tips above to start your journey of creating a strong brand image that will give you lots of benefits in the future.