“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos”
In the current market scenario, where consumers are all for branded items, building a brand image has become an indispensable part of running a business. Consumers often associate brands with social status. A brand image ensures a loyal customer bank, who trust your product and are ready to vouch for you.
Brand image in simple terms is the impression of the product on a customer, the response to the product, and in other words, it is how well a product has been received in the market. It is equivalent to that of a report card for the business. It speaks for the quality of the product and your position in the market, and also about the overall performance of a brand in the market.
But what if you are building a personal brand? For Freelancers and Entrepreneurs, it’s also important to build a brand image. Today, there are so many influencers who have a strong brand image that companies pay them millions for sponsorship.
They say, “Building a brand image for a business takes more time than building a personal brand image.”
That doesn’t mean building a business brand image is difficult. The key to differentiating you and your business from your competitors is to build a brand image.
Why You Need To Build A Brand Image?
Whether you’re an Entrepreneur or Freelancer or business/company, you need a brand identity. With new and ambitious groups materializing in the market every day, it is imperative that your brand stands out. In such a case, building a strong brand image is the answer to it.
Every industry is exploding with creative ideas, every day new products are launched and in the cutthroat business scene, a solid brand image can be a long-term asset.
Surveys have time and again touted that consumers prefer buying a new product in the market from a brand they already associate with. In the wake of a sudden boom of social media and other content sharing platforms, building a brand image has become easier than in the past.
The brand image of a company is not bound to just its product but also to its social values, partnerships and customer interactions. Creating a brand image is eventually creating a reflection of the product reception in the market and the company’s ethical values.
Having a good brand image means several things, for instance cutting down on marketing costs because your brand is recognized by real as well as potential consumers, it also means that the brand name does all the talking.
Setting up of a brand image is not an easy task, it doesn’t happen overnight, it is an eternal process which involves customer satisfaction, partnerships, and most importantly gaining trust from customer.
Building a brand image can be broken down into a few basic rules, which will help in building a firm foundation for the brand image on which further improvements can be made.
15 ways on how to build a brand image
1. Brand logo and tagline:
A brand logo and tagline are how a customer identifies a product and recognizes it. Every big brand today has its own brand logo and a tagline unique to it. A tagline defines what the brand stands for.
An example of a popular tagline can be “Just do it”, the tagline has become synonymous with Nike and what it stands for. It is necessary that every brand has an apt tagline that encapsulates their social values in addition to outlining their product.
The brand logo is equally important in building a brand image. A good brand logo can impress minds and elevate them from non-customers to potential customers. A bad logo might adversely affect the brand image by making a not so remarkable impression on the customers.
A good brand logo and a notable tagline can ensure a solid foundation for your brand building.
To create Logo you can use some free/paid tools:
- Canva – Free/Paid. You can create so many other things using Canva such as infographics, social media posts, blog banner, templates, etc.
- Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator – Paid. Use it only if you are professional or know some basics about it. You can easily create complete branding of your business through this.
- UpWork – Paid. If you don’t want to create a logo by yourself hire a professional to do it. It can cost you around $10 – $10,000 depending on your needs and the professional you are hiring.
2. Build a Website Which Speaks Your Brand Image
It wouldn’t be a surprise if our era would be named the web era. So, it is important that your product has a presence on the web. Consumers when in need of a product first tend to google their needs and find the most relevant product. So only if you have a presence on the web the product will be discovered.
Also, a good website will reflect positively on your brand image and give a boost to your brand image.
To create a business you need a domain name, hosting, and web design. When deciding domain name stick with your brand name or your personal name. Don’t include symbols (;:”*#@$<), articles (the, a, an) and use .com.
You need to go for a self-hosted website.
There are many free blogging platforms but if you seriously want to consider building a brand online you need to invest in a self-hosted website. As self-hosting websites look more professional and build trust within customers, it’s important to invest in them.
Self-hosting a website is not expensive, it costs around $50 – $250 per year. So it’s actually a lot affordable. Most self-hosted website offers 12 months of hosting and 1 domain.
Once your blog receives enough traffic you can upgrade to a higher level, but right now start with the basic plan.
When you have to register your domain name and get hosting for your website, you can go for SiteGround. It will actually help you boost your traffic and increase your search engine ranking. (Read on to know reasons why to choose SiteGround).
- 2055+ Top experts and users have reviewed SiteGround as the best hosting provider.
- Reliability: Your website will be available 24/7/365 without facing any downtime.
- Superfast servers: All SiteGround servers are highly optimized for speed. They are equipped with the latest hardware like SSD drives and custom software to make sure that your site is super fast. This will help your website index fast by search engines.
- Top-Notch Customer Support their customer support is fantastic, to say the least. They offer 24/7 phone, live chat, and ticket-based support.
- Free CDN and SSL They offer instant setup of Cloudflare’s free CDN and free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt. (which is necessary to make your website secure).
- Multiple Server Locations They have data centers on three continents. You can choose the location you prefer during the signup.
- Pricing: It’s effective and better than any other hosting provider.
- You can start with a WordPress Hosting site as a beginner, dedicated to your website.
I have worked out a deal with SiteGround where you can get started for just $3.9 (normally $11.6).
Next, you need to update the DNS so that the domain is hosted on SiteGround. The nameservers will have been sent to you in the welcome email from Siteground.
This will be your WordPress dashboard. Now you can customize your website as per your wants, add plugins, manage users, comments, setting, pages, blog posts and more. You don’t need to know any technical information to work on WordPress.
The last step you need to do is redirect your website from HTTP to HTTPS. Though SiteGround will automatically add a security certificate to your domain. But if you need to make sure you can check the configuration.
3. Identifying the target audience.
Products don’t work in a one-size-fits-all fashion, every section of consumer needs the product tailored to their needs. Hence, companies need to identify their target audience and define them. The target audience constitutes the largest share of the product consumers, which makes it very important that the target audience is identified and defined accurately.
Only when the consumers can relate to the product, they would find the necessity to buy and use them. While building a brand, products offered need to be customizable so that the target audience can be large.
Customizable products also help in dissolving boundaries across different consumer groups. Only when the needs of the target audience are identified and addressed, the product will meet the expectations of the consumer.
4. Identify your business goals, objectives and mission
A business goal is the ultimate destination that dictates the directions that your brand will take. A business objective navigates the entire journey of a brand, every step of the way. A mission is an internal engine that keeps your brand up and running.
Identify your goals, determine the objectives, and define your brand’s mission. They should be clear, concise, specific, and in-sync with one another. These three will govern the course of action that you’ll be taking to build your brand’s image.
For Example, The idea of vision, mission, and values let’s take a look at Slack, an online communication platform for businesses. Their vision is to “make work-life simpler, more pleasant and more productive.”
Their mission — how they’re doing this — is by working with global partners and developers to “build apps and integrations that streamline work, automate mundane tasks and bring context into conversations.”
By simply reading their vision, you get a sense of what the successful platform values: simplicity and productiveness in a pleasant workplace.
5. Define your brand’s persona
Give your brand identity. Despite being different from the brand image, having a brand identity is equally important in the process. Perform a self-analysis of your brand. Paint a self-portrait, rather. Your brand identity is an amalgamation of the brand’s values and characteristics. This identity will allow your target audience to recognize your brand easily.
Your brand identity can be represented by anything from a mascot to an idea. It is, in fact, a visual representation of what your brand is, what it does, and what it signifies. Brand logos are the most common visual aids, but there are more – including but not limited to, characters, colors, iconography, typography, and layouts.
Brand identity is a unified embodiment of all these things together. Each of the elements should be coordinated with the brand’s message as well as with each other.
In order to ensure immediate recognition, one must take a unique approach. This cannot be done by simply following the trends and doing what your competitors have been doing. In the process, if you try to fit in, you’ll lose. Being red in a world of yellows will let you stand out.
It will require good research. Closely monitor your competitors and follow every tiny change in the market. It is always better to take an educated route instead of a spontaneous action. The analysis of the market and your competitors will help you understand what works and what doesn’t.
Envision your brand as a living, breathing person. Give it a face with an appropriate logo, dress him in attractive colors, offer it a unique accent in terms of fonts, bestow it with a zealous attitude and then present it in a relevant, striking layout.
6. Develop your key message
Humanity is a selfish kind. They do not want anything that does not create value for them, in some way or another. Value is the main determiner of a brand’s success. Each brand exists because of the value it imparts to its audience. If a brand does not provide value, it might not as well exist.
Your brand’s key message is a string of words that will be used to communicate with your target audience and to convince them into switching to your valuable brand. The key message relays the strengths of your brand, thus creating a powerful brand image in the audience’s mind. It is a presentation of the Unique Selling Propositions of your brand.
The first and foremost step while creating a strong key message is to identify your brand’s USP. Subsequently, broadcast that USP to your target segment using an impactful key message.
A key message can be either told in a sentence or through a story. The idea is to express your brand in clear, simple, understandable words. It should be able to articulate the value and thereby, sway the audience.
7. Public Relations and Marketing
We cannot go talking about the brand image without discussing the significance of public relations. It can either make or break everything that you and your brand have strived for. Having a competent public relations team will allow you to control the perception of your brand among the audience.
The PR helps establish your brand among the industry leaders by ensuring proper dissemination of the brand’s key message while promoting the brand in a positive light.
Marketing is the conclusive step that drives sales by promoting a brand’s USP to the target audience. At this stage, it’s time to drop the curtains and let the world see the picture that you have painted.
In this day and age of digital marketing, it has become imperative that you monitor all the available online as well as offline marketing channels, and leverage them to advertise your brand.
As content remains the marketing king, social media channels and emails offer a robust and intimate way of connecting with the target audience. Implementation of appropriate Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tactics make it easier for the customers to find you.
Television, radio, and print have been at your service for decades and still act as a key portion of a brand’s marketing mix.
At the time of developing a marketing campaign, do not deviate from your brand’s goals and mission. The campaign should be developed in such a way that it highlights your brand’s key message while still remaining in its character. An advertisement for knee cap replacement surgery at a Children’s clinic wouldn’t make any sense, now would it?
Be creative, but do not go crazy with it. No one would take a medical journal seriously if it is typed in Comic Sans. Every aspect of your brand’s identity should be taken into account while advertising your brand. Do not confuse the audience. If they are confused, they cannot trust you. And if they cannot trust you, well, that more or less ends the game for you.
The saying, “First impressions are last impressions” is a myth. Yes, it sure helps if you manage to leave a mark on the very first go. But, if you can not, no need to be demoralized. Give yourself a second chance. Start again from scratch.
At any stage, you might feel that the brand’s image is not quite what you expected it to be. There was maybe a PR scandal that degraded your brand’s reputation or there is a change in the brand’s mission statement. In such scenarios, you have the choice of rebranding.
Proactive rebranding is done if you want to pre-emptively grow your business by tapping on new opportunities. On the contrary, Reactive rebranding is a method of attenuating and mending a wounded reputation in the market.
All the touch-points in the rebranding process remain the same as those in the original process of building a brand image. However, this time you have to be even more sensitive since your brand has already established itself in the minds of the audience.
Rebranding is often a huge gamble, especially proactive rebranding. As big an annoyance a change is, it is absolutely necessary to stay relevant in the game. Snapchat had to bid adieu to thousands of its followers when it had altered its layout. The backlash received by Gap on changing its logo is another example of unsuccessful rebranding attempts.
Once users get familiarised with a brand, they get emotionally invested in it. Any modification may trigger an outburst. This is why it is crucial to be highly sensitive. Take baby steps and see how it is working with the audience.
Keep taking feedbacks from both internal as well as external stakeholders. Use those feedbacks to amend and better your strategy. A poll is a great way to understand the psychological position of the end-users on the rebranding process.
9. Promotional Partnership
No company is big in its day one, it takes time for any brand to spread its wings and achieve heights. A promotional partnership can give your product the much-needed exposure to the consumers and pave way for building your brand image. The business will reach people outside its current captive audience.
A promotional partnership with a big gun would give a push to your brand image. When another big brand attaches itself to you, your presence will be felt in the market space, their brand image will now help to build a brand image for the new product. It could help the business gain trust among consumers because people who trust your partner will inherently trust you.
And in case it’s a new market, a promotional partnership can help in building a solid consumer base with help from the partner company’s consumer base. Also tying up with agencies to promote a product can also help in gaining momentum in sales of the product.
10. Identifying suitable advertising platforms
Identifying suitable advertising platforms has a lot to do with your target audience. Building a brand image will need the brand to be advertised in the right places in impressive ways. Making efficient use of social media can cut down expenses while reaching a larger audience.
For instance, a brand associated with products for children would advertise in kids’ comics books or in kids’ TV channels. By choosing the right platform you ensure that your target audience is informed about your product and a good advertisement can prompt the consumer to try your product.
Good advertisements are an indispensable part of the brand image building process. A brand’s advertisements stand for the ideals behind the brand, which is again an undisputed part of building a brand image.
11. Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is of prime importance when it comes to building a brand. Only when the customer, gives positive reviews about the product/service, more people are going to buy/use it. Building a brand requires that consumers are satisfied with the brand. Healthy customer relations are vital for building a brand image.
12. Visual Branding
Visual branding is something a lot of companies overlook while marketing their product, which affects the subconscious mind of a customer. A well-styled product description can get a lot of attention. Typography, font style, color palette are some things that come under visual branding.
Using bright and warm colors can help bring in more customers. Visual branding is important because it helps in making a lasting impression on the customer which contributes to building the brand image. Visual branding is essential in building a brand image. Though it might not take center stage while building the brand image, it is important and shouldn’t be neglected.
13. Product Packaging
When it comes to physical products the product packaging takes the center. When the market offers a million choices, the customer can easily get swayed by an artistic packaging. A sleek packaging will aid the brand image building process. From the viewpoint of a customer, neat packaging would also imply good quality products.
14. Emotional Impact
A brand image that can touch the emotions of the consumer base is more sought than a normal objective brand. So, while building a brand it is necessary that the company touches the lives of people.
15. Hiring the right people
Good employees make the company better. And a better company has a better brand image. Employees are the backbone of any institution. It is the arms and legs of a business. Good employees guarantee better results. People who share the company’s values and understand what it stands for will improve the brand image.
Building a brand image is a continuous, ceaseless process. The process is never-ending, and a brand image once built needs to be retained and further improved. One thing to note is that setting milestones and regularly impressing customers will help retain the brand image.
Though building a brand image is a tough process, it will give immense benefits. This is often seen in the case of when businesses who have built their brand image could cut down on marketing expenditures.
Every company needs a good brand image to thrive in the market. When products are rated neck to neck, it is the brand image that is compared to arrive at a conclusion. Brand image is a direct result of customer reviews.
The brand image grows with the company’s success. Every organization invests all its efforts to build a strong brand image as it is very helpful in fulfilling the motives and objectives of a business.
Keeping in mind the few key points discussed, building a brand image can become less tiring. Innovative marketing ideas are pivotal, so is remaining true to what your brand represents. Building a brand image requires not only dedication but honesty as well.
If you want your brand to be perceived in a positive light, it’s crucial that you nail your brand identity and create designs that accurately portray who you are to your customers.
Remember that building a brand image is like painting a picture. And only powerful pictures sell. A powerful brand image can help the business sail through tough times without many losses. Building a brand image is something that has only advantages to it, and therefore is quite necessary that the right steps are taken in building the brand image.
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