Brand image and brand identity are not one and the same thing.
Brand image is the opinion customers form about your business and how it is perceived, it is more than the logo that identifies your business, product, or service. Us Australians might call it the “vibe” of it. A good strong brand identity can however translate to a positive brand image. For example, there are strong consumer brands like Nike and Apple that are highly regarded for quality and product innovation, and Australian brands like Qantas, synonymous with their superior safety record. You don’t think about mining companies like BHP in a “brand” category, but they have built a strong brand image that demonstrates the company’s role in the Australian economy.
It is a tricky thing – you can’t actually control how each customer will perceive your brand, but you can work hard to build a brand image that helps ensure you come across the way you intend to. The fact is that people buy into what you stand for.
We all know making a good impression is important, especially in business, so it is certainly worth the effort. Quite a few of our customers at Focused Marketing sit in the business to business (B2B) space and many of them, before meeting us, perhaps shied away from talking about branding beyond their actual logo. It is even viewed a little suspiciously by some B2B companies, as it is not directly sales or product driven. For example, to manufacturing or SaaS (Software as a Service) focused organisations it can seem a bit fluffy, or even an unnecessary expense.
So why is your brand image worth investing in?
- First impressions – first impressions set a tone and naturally build a brand promise; a perception of trust. A good brand identity positions you in the mind of your customer as providing quality worth paying for. In order to attract more customers that are prepared to spend money, getting your identity right puts you in the consideration box and most importantly front of mind.
- Credibility – company brands, like people, have personalities. Much of this personality stems from your core values as an organisation. You need your team to know, understand and live your values to bring them to life. Living the values enables consistency in behaviour and dealings with customers, which builds the company culture. Much of brand image is experiential, your culture strengthens the characteristics of your brand. These traits then become relied upon, expected even, forming a promise between you and your customers – this is brand credibility.
- Recognition – it is not just about your logo or your tagline, it is about consistency. The way you look encompasses the visual elements and brand associations that come from language, reliability and service that all become part of your overall image. Consistency is the key word in helping you develop a recognisable image; without it you can’t formulate it, this image will then lead to differentiation. Supporting not just recognition, but a huge opportunity for you to stand out from the crowd.
- Pride – there is no competition for the feeling of pride. If you feel proud of your brand, how it looks, how you behave working with it, and how customers perceive your brand, then that polish and commitment pays off. Being composed, confident and professional from the outset makes everyone that interacts with your brand, internal and external, proud to be connected to you.
With social media and increased transparency on the web, even B2B brands can no longer hide out, or question if their image is important. All your interactions and the interactions of your team build on your brand identity and messaging in the marketplace.
Building a strong and trusted brand image requires authenticity and belief in your values.
It helps enormously if you start with a strong brand identity; e.g., your logos, typography, colours, messaging, images, etc. Showcase yourself with a strong brand identity that is easily recognisable and uniform across your social media platforms, website and print collateral. This will set you apart from your competitors. It is then likely that prospective customers will think that you are better, giving you and your team pride in your work, culminating in a strong and sustainable brand image.
It matters, when you invest in your brand:
- You will appear more established, positioning you to work with bigger organisations.
- It will give you the confidence to build the business you want.
- Customers will take you more seriously.
So, this brand “fluff” can become the rope that ties all the components of your logo, tagline, values and company voice together, unifying your business and building trust with customers and prospects.
If you need advice on any aspects of your brand, please contact Caitlin Dillon for an informal chat. We would love to MAKE IT HAPPEN.