Brand Image - Definition, Importance, Factors & Example
Published in Marketing and Strategy Terms by MBA Skool Team
What is Brand Image?
Brand image is an impression, view or a perspective the customers form about a particular brand in their mind which is developed over a certain time period through product experience and the brand identity created by companies. Brand image can be defined as how existing or potential customers view the brand and associate with it. It is something that eventually forms in the mind of the customer and may be same as brand identity or may be totally opposite.
Brand image depends upon how customer forms it in his or her mind. It may depend on internal as well as external factors. It may or may not be necessary to actually buy that particular product or directly visit the brand store to form the brand image. It can be influenced by other people and their experiences as well. Brand image is dependent on time also but can be altered based on a single experience which may be very good or the opposite. Mostly brand image is formed over a period of time through multiple experiences, views, opinions and facts.
The ideal scenario is that the brand image should be positive and what the company or the manufacturer wants it to be. Every company wants to position its brand in a certain way which it deems is the best way for it to be seen by the customers, that is known as brand identity.
Ideal Scenario for a company
Difference between Brand Image and Brand Identity
The figure above shows the cycle how brand identity converts into brand image and comes back to the company itself. If brand identity is in sync with the image the customer comes back to the company.
Brand Identity is something what a company wants and brand image is what customer makes of it.
The views, beliefs and perceptions of the target customers form an image in their minds defining how they imagine or identify the respective brand. Basically, brand image is the overall impression of a brand's total ‘personality’ in the consumers' mind. It is developed over time and affected by the consumer’s experience or association from all sources, as well as mass advertising.
The brand image in the mind may be made up of real data or imaginary assumptions.
The main identifier of brand image can be a unique logo or slogan, which recalls the customers of the brand’s name. The customers also recall the brand in terms of remembering their experiences with the brand- be it pre, during or post purchase. Brand identity tries to make sure that all the brand elements like logo, slogan etc. are in sync with the overall branding strategy and what the company wants the customer to perceive and understand but eventually brand image is something which is very holistic and takes into account a lot of factors.
It is a very important parameter when it comes to brand performance. If the brand image is positive, the product would rise which would result in more sales. Negative brand image will lead to opposite results. Every company should try to be realistic while identifying the brand identity of the product. This identity should be practical, objective and smart. If it is too ambitious it may lead to customers not forming the same perception in their mind.
A positive brand image is built when customers are able to recall the brand and its uniqueness in terms of the offered value proposition, relate to the organization’s way of business and its key values. Hence perception is important because it is formed completely on its own in customer's mind and cannot be measured quantitatively. It can be influenced through a good brand identity which a company can control.
Factors Contributing to Brand Image
There are a lot of factors which can lead to a positive or a negative brand image formation.
Following are the main factors:
1. Quality of the Product/Service
The quality of the product is paramount in defining the brand image. If the quality is good and customer had a good experience while interacting with the brand will make the brand identity clear to the customer. This will lead to formation of a positive brand image and lead to repeat business and word of mouth. In case of the opposite scenario, a negative image will lead to undesired results.
2. Usability of the Product/Service
Quality is one aspect but functional value and usability is another. If the product or service is too complicated or is not useful as per the customer's requirement then the brand image will get affected. Hence usability along with quality should be core of the offering.
3. Perceived value
As brand image is based on how customer sees the brand, the perceived value becomes very important factor in defining brand image. Quality and durability can be great but if the perceived value is not what customer expects, then it will have impact.
Strong associations with brand e.g. celebrity, team, cause etc. can lead to formation of a strong brand image. It can also backfire sometimes as association between the both is now formed and can keep impacting both parties leading to rise and fall in brand image.
Durability is equivalent to quality and usability when it comes to brand image. Durability also indirectly shows quality of a product. If a thing is expected to run for a considerable amount of time, stops working earlier will lead to a poor brand image.
Brand Image Example
It can be understood with BMW example. BMW as a car is associated with luxury, power and status symbol. The brand image of BMW is positive in minds of target audience and the image is of a brand which will raise their status in society and would be seen as absolute parameter of one's success.
Another example can be seen for Starbucks. It is considered a place which is associated with warmth, comfort and good coffee. The brand image for Starbucks is that of a comforting brand. People associate memories with such brands.
Hence, this concludes the definition of Brand Image along with its overview.
This article has been researched & authored by the Business Concepts Team. It has been reviewed & published by the MBA Skool Team. The content on MBA Skool has been created for educational & academic purpose only.
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