Brand Image – The Essential Branding Metric For Every Business

Branding – the one buzzword that excites any marketer. Every business that evolved into a successful brand had a strong branding strategy in place. 

While talking about a brand, you might often hear the terms ‘brand image’, and ‘brand identity. Though both these might sound very similar, they are quite different from each other. In fact, understanding the nuances of these terms will be a great first step in branding.

Now, let’s talk about the term that confuses many, brand image. What really is a brand image?

A brand’s name is a word but the ‘brand image’ is an emotion it stirs up. To put it in simple words, it is how your customers look at your brand.

Announcing the launch of your brand takes one simple social media post or a single ad on print or digital platforms. But it takes around 5-7 impressions for your customers to remember your brand or even start identifying it. So, launching a business is easy but creating a brand and shaping the brand image takes consistent efforts. 

Brand Identity vs Brand Image  

Before we talk about the ways in which you can build your brand image, let’s find out how brand image is different from brand identity.

Brand Identity

When you launch a business, you have a specific idea in your mind. You might have crafted a personality for your brand. You might have imagined a brand that is ‘young’, ‘powerful’, or ‘sophisticated’ among many things. Such terms you define as descriptors for your brand will then form the basis for your brand’s identity. 

Based on this you create your logo or even the brand name for that matter! And this identity you build from scratch would be your brand identity. It is your definition of what your customers should think of your brand. 

Brand Image

Brand image is how your customers see your brand. It is the kind of emotions that customers associate with your brand. Sometimes these emotions align with the descriptors you define for your brand. But sometimes, branding does not go as planned. And this happens when you have great ideas but poorly executed graphic designs or weak marketing strategies. 

Brand image is a subjective term and you cannot create it overnight. It is not something you buy, it is something you meticulously put together piece by piece over the years through consistent service and intelligent and mindful marketing 

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To know how to shape your brand image, you should understand the factors that influence it. We’ll talk more about the factors affecting brand image later. But before that let’s talk about brand image in simple words. 

When you launch a business, you know that there are already many more businesses out there that offer products and services very similar to yours. So, to make people come to your brand, you would be working on aspects beyond the core offerings. These are the efforts you make to shape your brand image. 

When people see something about your brand that makes it stand out, when they form a nice opinion about your brand, they are likely to choose you over your competitors. That’s the strength of the brand image. 

In short, the personality you give to your brand is the brand identity and how your customers actually look at your brand is the brand image. 

Why Should You Worry So Much About Brand Image? 

1. It makes people choose your brand in a competitive landscape 

Your brand image influences how well your brand performs in a competitive space. 

For example, there are so many smartphone brands out there. Samsung has the largest market share. But still, Apple has its own special place. Why? The way people look at an iPhone is so much different from the way they look at a smartphone from any other brand. 

It’s not just about the aesthetics or the features alone. But on the whole, iPhones have always been associated with words like “premium” and “reliability”. That’s an example of a strong brand image. 

And what can this brand image do for a business? Look at Apple again. There are many who find the iPhones to be slightly overpriced for the features they offer. We are all well aware of the endless memes that pop up when a new iPhone announcement is made. All these do not affect the sales of iPhones. People still buy them. 

So, when you have established a credible brand image for your business, people stick around.  Even when the competition grows in your segment. They try your products and stay loyal to the brand. They do not hesitate to pay a little extra when they trust the perception they have about the brand. 

Source: Bored Panda
2. Brand image is that which makes a sale happen 

The irony is that efforts to build a brand image do not directly target increased sales but they do pay off in the form of a revenue boost. Let’s give you an example. 

Most people in the world would identify the logo below- 

Source: Wikipedia

The simple Swoosh of the Nike logo triggers so many emotions. It makes people think of ‘sports’, ‘victory’, and of course the tag line “just do it”. But, have you seen their Instagram page? Take a look at one of the posts from their page. 

As you can see, there is nothing about the brand itself in this post. But people love it because the brand manages to capture the many emotions of sports and sportspeople. Its marketing puts the target customers and sports as heroes rather than focusing on the brand. That’s one reason why most people love the brand. 

The social media pages of Nike have never been about the brand itself or the products. But that does not change the fact that the company’s revenue in 2021 was 44.54 billion U.S. dollars. And how is that possible? Because of the trust, the “brand image” that Nike has built over the years. 

One thing to note here is that all this did not happen overnight. Years of consistent communication with its customers pay off. 

3. Establishes trust and earns customer loyalty 

In the e-commerce industry, there are so many brands, but 89% of US shoppers prefer Amazon to other e-commerce websites. That is the kind of trust that Amazon has earned. And this trust was not built overnight. Years of consistent customer service quality and strong branding have gotten Amazon to this place. 

That’s the magic that a good brand image can create. It creates not just customers but loyal customers who will continue to trust and support your brand over the years. Businesses with such loyal customer bases will be able to confidently expand their reach and diversify their offerings as well. 

Things That Impact Brand Image 

There are so many aspects that can affect the image your customers have of your brand. Every product they buy, every conversation they have with your brand or your teams, every ad they see, and every social media post they interact with can make or break your brand image. 

Knowing that brand image has a strong role to play in the performance and growth of a brand, how do you build yours? You should start by understanding all the factors that influence brand image directly or indirectly. 

Here are a few of them. 

1. Customer service 
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When there are two restaurants near your place both with great ambiance and delicious food, which one would you choose? Probably one where you get timely service or where the staff is more courteous. After all, it is all about the service. You should understand that your customers will also be making such comparisons constantly. 

There are several aspects of customer service that affect the experience 

  • Presence of multiple easily-accessible channels to talk to the customer care team
  • Timely response 
  • Fast and relevant resolution of issues 

Providing all these will create a positive brand image and strengthen your customers’ trust in your brand. 

For ecommerce businesses a major share of the experience is online and so your app and website graphics and many other design aspects will be important for effective customer service too. 

Kimp tip: The human aspect of customer service has a direct influence on your customer’s perception of your brand. But there are ways in which you can make the experience better for them. This could come in the form of an attractively designed landing page for your digital campaigns or point-of-sale materials for your stores. Kimp’s Graphic design team can help you design all of these and more. 

2. Social media interactions 
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When you frequent a neighborhood store, you might end up striking a conversation with the store owner or the staff at the billing counter. When you have a pleasant experience interacting with them, you might end up choosing their store over others. 

Such interactions for ecommerce businesses and others in the digital world happen through digital channels like social media platforms. So, a strong social media design strategy and creative social media content are important for your brand image. 

Below is a Tweet from Netflix on its Twitter page:

Source: Twitter

(This is about the very popular series on Netflix, Stranger Things, in case you didn’t know it already)

When you see a post like this, can you stop yourself from commenting or sharing the post? This is a great example of Netflix using social media to consistently sharpen its brand image and gives us all seriously branding lessons. Brand image is something you build post by post or rather, Tweet by Tweet as in this case! 

Every single interaction you have with your customer on social media will define how they look at your brand. While Netflix managed to do it without visuals in this Tweet, take a look at this post from Netflix’s Instagram page-

Simple graphics but with Netflix’s signature “witty” copy does the trick. Sometimes, all you need to trigger great social media interactions would be a graphic design subscription that promises you a continuous flow of creative visuals. That brings us to the next factor that affects the brand image, which is design quality! 

3. Graphic design 

Graphic designs you use for your business come in all shapes and sizes. From the simple business card, you give your vendors, to the pamphlets for your store, magazine ads, and packaging design, every single visual entity of your brand has a role to play. Not to forget the design assets like logos, product mock-ups, digital promotional materials, and others! 

Businesses trying to strengthen their brand image without due attention to their graphic design will be like an English coaching center advertising their services in a poster with spelling mistakes. Poor graphic design makes your brand look less professional. Product design flaws affect sales directly but graphic design flaws in your marketing efforts will affect customers’ opinions about your brand. 

Every dollar spent on graphic design is an investment you make to build a good brand image. It is an investment you make to show customers that you are serious about your brand and this makes them take a closer look at your brand’s personality.

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Kimp tip: Graphic design can sometimes feel like a time-consuming task. But wherever your brand appears, good design can make it look better. By working with Kimp’s graphic design team you can be sure that you get the best quality graphics designed for all your marketing efforts. 

4. Newsletters 

Email might be one of the oldest and most commonly used tools in marketing but even today, nearly 89% of marketers turn to emails for lead generation

Emails have the potential to convert a lead into a customer for your business and also retain your existing customers. But emails are not just about text content anymore. 

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The above email design captures all the essential elements that drive conversions. 

  • A loud and clear image to grab attention 
  • Color scheme that aligns with the brand logo colors
  • Visible positioning of the logo for instant brand recognition 
  • Crisp copy
  • And a lot of symbols and other imagery to break down the content 

When you manage to establish a similar framework for your email designs, you end up creating a lasting impression on your customers. As a result, when they open an email, they will instantly know when it is from your brand. Continuous interactions through such engaging emails can strongly build your brand image. 

As customers keep seeing such well-crafted emails in their inbox regularly, they start looking up to your brand as an authoritative name in the industry. 

Work With Kimp to Get Graphic Designs to Support Your Brand Image 

Brand image is a subjective term and each customer looks at your brand in a different light. Consistent visual content would be one way to influence the opinion of each customer. When you are sure about the message you want your brand to convey and when you have designs that convey this message accurately, then your customers will also start looking at your brand differently. So, work with Kimp’s graphic design team to create the best ads, social media images, videos, and other graphics that can make your brand image shine. 

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