Brand image is the overall perception that consumers and the public have of a brand. It is the way that the brand is actually perceived, as opposed to brand identity, which is the way that a firm plans to be perceived. Brand image is shaped by a range of factors including the brand’s products, messaging, and customer interactions, and it can have a significant impact on a brand’s ability to attract and retain customers. A strong brand image can drive customer loyalty and increase the perceived value of a brand’s products or services.
Brand recognition is a customer’s ability to recognize a brand from its name or visual symbols. Without recognition, brand image essentially doesn’t exist.
Brand awareness is a customer’s ability to recall basic attributes of a brand. For example, a customer who knows that a particular brand is a luxury hotel. This is important because with awareness, a customer might search for your name when they need a luxury hotel.
The ability of customers to recognize your symbols such as logos or packaging. This can influence consumer choice as people tend to pick products they recognize, even if they have no information beyond a vague feeling of familiarity.
Branding initiatives tend to be kept simple as it is difficult to get customers to remember complex information about your brand. If they can identify your brand name and visual symbols you are doing well. Beyond this, advertising and other promotions may attempt to communicate a basic concept such as a slogan. These are designed to be remarkably short and memorable. For example, Nike’s “Just do it.”
Customer opinions and feelings about your behavior, quality and performance as a firm. This is influenced by the customer journey, word of mouth and media coverage.
The culture that emerges around your brand. This includes norms, behaviors and expectations of customers, employees and stakeholders that are largely beyond your control. For example, a brand of warm socks that is spontaneous adopted by snowboarding culture such that the brand becomes associated with the sport.
The perceived quality of your products. Quality is how well your products and services meet customer needs and suit customer preferences.
The end-to-end customer experience. For example, a single unusually positive or negative customer service interaction can completely change a customer’s perception of a brand.
The perceived social status of a brand. For example, a brand that is perceived as youthful, stylish, luxurious, intelligent or altruistic.
The history of a brand that remains in the minds of customers. For example, a brand that is associated with antiquated and unpopular technologies.
A mission, vision or epic meaning behind a brand. For example, a brand that has reduced environmental damage with more responsible products and practices than the competition.
A sense that a brand is at the forefront of change such as a trendy fashion brand or an innovative technology company. Some customers have a strong motive to be involved in the change of the day due to a fear of missing out.
Relationships between your employees and customers. For example, a salesperson who represents your brand with hundreds of customers.
A sense that a brand is authentic and trustworthy versus the perception that its identity is made-up. Marketing tends to go wild in representing a brand in ways that differ from the realities of the firm behind the brand. Customers can often see through this.