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Executive's Guide to Brand Associations

Learn about Brand Associations and why is it important.

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Updated: 

March 18, 2022

The mental connections that a brand has with people, places, objects, and emotions are known as brand associations. Using powerful brand associations strategically will help you establish brand equity that will benefit you and your consumers.

Positive brand associations sell products

Brands have different meanings for each of us, but some brands appear to mean very clear things to a large number of people. Certain brands have an advantage because they are associated with fantastic concepts, such as SpaceX and spacecraft. Brand strategists experiment with branding concepts in order to instill meaning and generate engagement. But how do these mental models function?

A mental image or link between a brand and a concept is referred to as a brand association. Brand associations are ideas that come to mind when consumers think about a brand, such as "driving performance" for BMW or "classic" for Coca-Cola.

Strong brand associations are mental links that exist between a brand and people, places, things, and emotions. When a brand and another thought occur in the mind of the consumers at the same time, they neurologically connect and are more likely to be thought of together in the future. People may be drawn to or away from your brand as a result of these associations. Being aware of them and strategic about them will help you build brand equity.

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Why Brand Association is important

Brands live in the minds of the audience, and it is here that associations generate meanings and perceptions.

Brand associations are important because they help customers recall your brand quickly. They come together to form your overall brand identity, and you want to create it in as many meaningful ways as possible. Typically, the words associated with your brand assist consumers in making connections to your product or product category without explicitly telling your audience what you do or sell.

Brand associations, at their best, distinguish you from your competitors and create a positive image for your brand, making people want to buy your products. Understanding the different types of associations that can be formed is the first step in getting your team focused on creating them.

Types of Brand Association

There are numerous types and combinations of brand associations, but focusing on a few that are recognizable, influential, and achievable is beneficial. Here's a list of some of the most common brand association examples you can start doing.

Celebrity-based brand association

This is the most common type of product promotion brand association. The image of a celebrity is used to push products in the minds of consumers, which aids in the sale of your product. Celebrities are carefully chosen to be associated with a specific brand. Among the iconic brands,  one good example is Jay-Z and TIDAL music streaming.

Interest-based brand association

Many businesses use interest as an association factor to lure consumers. These Interests help the brand in piquing their intellect and consciousness. The company's principal goal is to stimulate interest in the minds of consumers and position the brand accordingly. Then,  this strong association positions the brand as a way to cater to the customer's interest. This type of brand association makes consumers aware that they can be part of a brand community depending on their interests.

Attribute-based brand association

A descriptive trait that characterizes a product or service is called an attribute. Brands may help their offerings stand out against their competition by showcasing differentiating aspects of the product or service they offer. This helps their customers in recalling details about their brand in connection to similar products on the market, which can help them make purchasing decisions.

An attribute-based brand association can refer to components of the product's actual physical composition as well as external aspects such as pricing, packaging, and look.

different soda brands

Attitudes-based brand association

Consumers decide brand attitudes after completing an overall evaluation. This connection is a bit hazy, but it's usually tied to product features, such as perks or benefits. These attitudes can also be tied to a particular lifestyle, such as being physically active, being environmentally conscientious, or becoming a sports or entertainment personality.

Benefits-based brand association

As the term implies, it is the product's or brand's benefits that cause consumers to have positive associations with it. These advantages can be functional in character, relating to a specific product or service, or experimental in nature, expressing client feelings while using the product or service. Benefits can also be symbolic in nature, such as a brand that assists a customer in achieving a social aim.

Other current associations with brands include luxury-based brand association (Rolex watches), founder-based brand association (Arianna Huffington and Huffington Post), character-based brand association (gecko in Geico's), tagline brand association like Nike's "Just do it," and customer-service-based brand association. For marketing strategies or any marketing campaign, a company can choose to highlight a specific type of brand association to maximize brand awareness and optimize customer experiences.  

Brand Identity: a foundation of Brand Association

Before creating any of these, it's important to first establish a strong brand identity as the foundation for a consistent experience. This is a sure way to avoid negative brand association. The team in charge of your brand's management can look for opportunities to capitalize on branding and peak moments and forge powerful connections. This is key to establishing positive brand associations and gaining loyal customers.

All of these associations are kept in your memory and combined to build your brand perception. The brand is more likely to be remembered and remembered if the link is memorable and favorable.

These linkages and associated perceptions can increase brand equity and reputation, either through repeat visits to the restaurant or through brand advocacy.

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