Wheelhouse Thoughts and Insights

Brand Image: Would You Buy From You?

Wheelhouse Team - Thursday, September 01, 2016

Brand Image:

Two simple words, one difficult concept. A brand image is the impression in the consumers' mind of a brand. Both real and imaginary qualities are expressed through brand image and proper advertising campaigns, displaying a consistent theme allow for a perception to be developed over time. For any brand in today's competitive marketplace, the most important element is the perception of that brand to the end consumer. When looking at a brand image, an end user needs to relate to and identify a specific perception to a brand, rather than the presence of the logo.

Every major brand has a distinct personality. All companies serve consumer needs in different ways. Whether it's a low cost brand, such as Walmart or a luxury brand like Rolex, a strong brand image leaves consumers with certain perceptions and feelings. How are they able to do this? Brands develop specific attributes, most of which are earned through their actions. Brands with strong marketing programs always look to improve that list of attributes in order to attract the type of customer they want to serve.

Here is a list of six helpful tips to help you improve the way others see your brand:

Know yourself

This is clearly the most important aspect in being able to develop a strong brand image. By knowing your business and your products and services, you are best able to communicate the brand to the target market consumer that best fits the company. When determining what your strengths are, it's best to ask this question: Why do consumers and clients choose us? Is it quality? Is it price? Do our products make them feel a certain way after purchasing? The more you know about yourself, the better you will be able to market to a segment of potential customers. Also, knowing your company inside and out allows you to establish parameters to compare yourself to competitive brands and understanding how you stack up to competition will help you adapt to meet the market trends and ultimately give insight as to how you can continue to better serve your customers.

First impressions are everything

First impressions are everything! Whether you're on a date, in an interview, or marketing your brand. There's nothing worse than a bad first impression. They stick, they bring negative connotation, and we all know getting rid of a negative in the mind of the consumer is a tricky task. Take a look at your brand. What perception would a potential client get from looking at your website or being in your stores? From your marketing campaigns? Is it a positive message? You're always striving for consistency with your brand strategy. The best way to look at a first impression is to think about a trade show where you were unaware of the brand, but drawn to the booth. When you left, you more than likely wanted to be a part of the experience. First impressions last.

Reflect your brand in the company culture.

Nobody will know your company better than you. As you hire within the organization, it's important to emphasize the hiring process and how your employees should be a positive reinforcement of your brand promise. They should be reflecting the brand in your company culture as they are an important part of building your product or service on a daily basis. Happy employees are better employees. If employees believe in your brand and products, they are daily ambassadors for your business. Also, the more employees are given the opportunity to be creative and work independently, the more ideas and new marketing strategies will be brought to the table, adapting with changing market trends. In terms of the building materials industry, the various company cultures we work with within this segment sets a precedent for brand image. A well developed and understood culture leads strategic marketing initiative directly in association with the various customers we work with.

Figure out how to appeal to and attract the types of customers you want.

The importance of marketing research. The easiest question is sometimes the hardest to answer. Who is your customer? Without a customer, you don't have a business. It's imperative your brand image speaks to your target audiences and what they value in your company. These are your competitive advantages as to why they buy from you and not a competitor. Make sure to keep in mind that sometimes the competitive advantages are more than product features and benefits and can also include other elements of your company culture, customer service, quick response times and fast shipping. Also, make sure to remember current customers are the best customers. They will give referrals, act as additional brand ambassadors, and sell for you! Sometimes, a good customer will end in a future sale because of the ease of mind with the purchase. They are confident you are satisfying their needs and always in their best interest. When figuring out how to appeal and attract the types of customers you want, it's important to remember your customers are looking for an experience too, not just a product. Find ways to keep them involved with the brand between purchases.

What emotions are you selling?

Customers often feel a certain way about a product based on how it makes them feel. Customers feel value and success in themselves, thus making the purchase. Having emotions associated with your brand enables customers to relate their purchase to a certain positive experience. People remember a time that brought great happiness and they want to experience the feeling again. Emotional marketing is mainly displayed on television ads but are also reaching print and digital campaigns as well. If your brand is able to sell based on an experience, it will create lasting brand loyalty with a customer base.

Be present

Your customers are speaking to you. Listen! Social media marketing allows companies to connect with their customer better than ever before. Blogs and review sites are a great way for customers to share an experience and emotion to your products and services. The more you listen, the more ideas and concepts will be developed to meet the changing needs of your expanding target market. The engagement customers have on social media platforms allow them to feel as if they are "part of the brand" so to speak. They purchase your products and this additional experience allows them to talk to other users, provide feedback, and start forum threads to continue conversation about your products and services. Any additional insight you can gain from communicating and developing new marketing objectives from this feedback is essential to future growth.