Today's business arena requires both a business owner and a marketing department to explore the limits of their creativity to have a strong brand image. Whatever industry you are in, having a strong brand identity helps your business set itself apart from your competitors and shift potential customers' focus towards you.
The best results are achieved through planning so a brand strategy is crucial. If you are looking for a brand image example, take a look at Coca-Cola's brand identity. The strongest brands invest in creating an effective marketing strategy that sharpens their competitive edge. Before anything else, we need to discuss what makes a brand image strong.
What Makes a Strong Brand Image
It is important to consider that your brand image is based on someone else's perception, not yours. This means that you have no direct control over it, but you do have influence over factors that influences their perception. These key elements must be the focus of an effective brand strategy:
Your name is the first thing that identifies you and the same is true for brands. Your brand name defines who your business is, makes the distinction between you and your competitors, and is your business's first impression. Also, it is shaped by customer experience: a good customer interaction reinforces the image while a bad one tarnishes it. Choosing a name is not as simple as picking something that sounds "cool." Consider these three characteristics when you choose:
- Original: This may seem especially hard to do with so much competition around, but an original name is still attainable. Take for example Starbucks, which is not as abstract as most people think. It is from the classic book "Moby Dick" where Capt. Starbuck likes coffee.
- Memorable: Memorable brand names play on an emotional connection with customers. Coca-Cola, for instance, associates its brand with a way to "choose happiness."
- Simple: Lastly, your brand name needs to be easily understood. Fancy-sounding names are tempting to use but if it isn't easy to pronounce and doesn't explicitly convey the brand's message, then it is ineffective.
Next to your brand name, your logo is also one of the most recognizable features of your brand. The most famous brands in the world are known for their logos alone, with some going as far as becoming fashionable icons in clothing. Much like your brand name, the logo must be simple, memorable, and original. Also, make sure that the logo is usable in various mediums and capable of fitting in common shapes. If you want to take your logo design to the next level, consider having a context-aware logo.
Consistent Brand Identity
With the help of a brand style guide, you can maintain a consistent brand image by applying your design standards in all parts of your branding process. Visual elements, color schemes, and other visible elements must be the same throughout various platforms: business cards, social media graphics, web design, as well as the theme of your establishment. A brand book becomes the basis for the brand's look, visual style, and feel, making sure that the design choice for whatever aspect aligns with the brand's image.
Boosting brand awareness helps in attaining a strong brand identity. This is done correctly by understanding your target audience. Focus advertising efforts on the prospective customers you want to reach. Your marketing materials must be found on platforms that your target customers frequent. Addressing the needs of your key audience comes before saying what your brand wants to say.
According to Global Banking and Finance, 71% of consumers prefer to buy products or services from brands they know. This makes customer loyalty a high priority. Make no mistake-- brand memorability doesn't have to come at a high price, either. The simplest of strategies, such as excellent customer service, authenticity in marketing communications, and maintaining high standards of service or production, are critical elements in keeping your loyal customers.
Becoming a Thought Leader
Attaining the position of a thought leader in your field is an effective means of strengthening your brand image. Being a thought leader means that your brand is recognized as an expert in your niche. Your brand becomes the go-to for anyone who needs information about your expertise, whether these are current customers or prospective customers. Thought leaders are often featured in news articles, blog posts, industry journals and are invited to speaking events, webinars, and podcasts.
How to Build a Strong Brand Image
The best way to create and maintain a strong brand image is by having a well-coordinated marketing strategy that combines the use of owned, earned, and paid media.
The Mission and Vision
Start the journey with an idea of where you want to be. Your brand image must be anchored to your mission statement, vision, and values. Otherwise, inconsistency with these ends up damaging your brand image.
Your brand's visible elements have a huge impact on your overall image. The visuals are the first thing that your audience notices, so the way your brand presents itself is important. If your website has a poorly done layout or content that your customers find unattractive, this will drive them away. Consider investing in a design team or outsourcing the design work to make your website more visually appealing.
Business goals, both short-term and long-term, establish your priorities and set your business on a path to success. Building a brand image without knowing these is not only a waste of valuable time but also a waste of resources.
Brand Positioning Statement
The most valuable brands understand the need for a brand positioning statement. This statement addresses both your customers' needs and tells them that you can meet these needs better than your competition. When done right, it creates a lasting impression on your customers.
Unlike a mission statement which is primarily a public statement about what your company wants to achieve, a brand positioning statement summarizes the value that your product, service, or brand brings to your target market. To understand this better, here's Coca-Cola's brand positioning statement as seen via Hub Spot.
"For individuals looking for high-quality beverages, Coca-Cola offers a wide range of the most refreshing options — each creates a positive experience for customers when they enjoy a Coca-Cola brand drink. Unlike other beverage options, Coca-Cola products inspire happiness and make a positive difference in customers' lives, and the brand is intensely focused on the needs of consumers and customers."
Your brand persona defines your image. It must be simple, relevant, and with similar traits and characteristics to your customers. The brand persona is responsible for articulating your product benefits and key identifiers, so it must be reflected consistently in your tone, promotional content, and social media.
In contrast to advertising and marketing, public relations (PR) is a more subtle approach to sending out your message to your customers, making it fit for boosting your brand image. Good PR helps in establishing a connection with consumers since it is about telling your brand's origin story. The goal here is to use any compelling angles of your story to create a positive brand image and present this to your audience.
Social Media Presence
Out of all the marketing channels that we have today, maintaining an online presence is the quickest to rise on the list of priorities. Social media channels are valuable tools for sharing information and interacting with your audience, often credited with increasing website traffic and improving your image both to new and current customers.
Customer Service Standards
Happy customers stay happy when the excellent product or service is paired with good customer service. There may be various advances in technology that address the need for humans in the customer service process, consumers still appreciate (and sometimes prefer) a human presence. Highly trained, empathetic customer service staff are still a necessity.
Benefits of a Strong Brand Image
The benefits of a strong brand image go beyond lead conversion. Instead, most are long-term benefits that will help your business in the long run.
- Consumer Confidence: A recognizable brand image consistently used on various mediums implies confidence in what you have to offer. This gives them the idea that you are deserving of their business.
- Trust and Loyalty: Your brand is a representation of your values. This helps you establish emotional connections with customers especially when they share the same values. Unlike any other relationship, emotional connections make it easier to develop long-term relationships with your customers.
- Commitment: Investing in your brand image is a matter of personal pride and commitment, and nothing attracts customers more than the shared idea of achieving success.
- Stability: Customers want to work with businesses that project a long-term vibe. They want the assurance that they can rely on you and that you are here for good. That is what a strong brand image tells people especially when they see it regularly.
A strong brand image requires patience and dedication. You may not be able to control how your customers' minds work, but you have a hand in influencing how they see your brand. Bide your time in providing your customers the best possible experiences and you will soon attain the perfect brand image you desire.