Even beginners in business and marketing have likely come across the term “Brand Image”.
Although it may seem to be solely a concern for large business conglomerates and well-known luxury brands, it is a simple marketing concept that applies to all. Small businesses greatly benefit from using this concept as a tool in their marketing strategy.
Brand Image usually refers to the qualities that a business appears to have. To further explain, it is what the consumer perception is based on. These are a few reasons to consider working on your brand image:
Brand images can garner trust from consumers, and thus create an opportunity to turn them into customers. For example, Coca-Cola has created an image that includes quality control, giving consumers the impression that their product is clean. In an impoverished town in Mexico, with water outages and scarcity of clean drinking water, people drink more Coca-Cola than water. It is safe to say they are choosing the soft drink for its cleanliness first, not for its taste.
This effect can be scaled down. A small cafe could develop its brand image as the source of high-quality affordable coffee. With time, people will trust that the cafe is the better option for a high-quality coffee, even if the prices go up.
People are loyal to their ideologies. It differs for everyone, but sometimes people are willing to pay a higher price so long as it aligns with their principles and ideologies. A very good example of this phenomenon is religion. All over the world, people are refusing service based on religious beliefs. Fundamentalist Jews might pay a premium price for kosher products, and Muslims might visit establishments that boast their no-alcohol policy. The bottom line is, brand image can create a loyal customer out of a regular consumer. For the best results, businesses usually try to broaden their brand image to appeal to the masses.
Improving the Relationship With Your Customers
As your brand image develops, you will find that you have customers that are your regulars. They are loyal to your brand because they believe in the image you have created for your brand. This has the added benefit that businesses can refine their products further based on the preferences of their loyal customers.
The buying decisions that consumers make are complex and can be influenced by multiple factors. However, it has been observed that brand image affects the buying decisions of consumers. Of course, this may in turn increase your market share, as well as your revenue. Ultimately, a good brand image will bring profits to a business, no matter its size.
This effect is also applicable to new products. For example, Apple has created an exclusive brand image that many of its customers appreciate. Due to their belief in the image, consumers are likely to buy another Apple device when thinking of upgrading their gadgets.
Referrals and Reputation
The effectiveness of a brand image is not limited to one purchase, but rather continues long after the product is bought and paid for. A good brand image will result in a good reputation. As more people perceive a business in a certain light, they will refer their friends and family to what they know is of quality. For example, The Body Shop advertises itself as cruelty-free. Consumers, after a purchase, will likely inform their friends of this and their friends might visit The Body Shop too.
Brand image differs from brand identity, but it is equally as important. Businesses that wish to be successful in marketing their products should study the perception of their consumers closely to find the right brand image and perfect it.