Every company striving for success should also be aiming to establish a positive brand image. When we say brand image, we’re referring to the attributes and associations that our audience assigns to our brand name, which are often used as a short cut to determine how they feel about us. Our audience paints an image of our brand based on a number of factors including: sentiment of press mentions, word of mouth, brand experience and reputation.

 

Brand image is a crucial part of brand equity. With this in mind, here are some top tips on creating a successful brand image.

Tell a good story

A brand image can be strengthened by telling the audience a distinctive brand story. One brand who has mastered the art of storytelling is M&Ms. M&M’s aren’t just coloured chocolate balls of pure heaven, they are characters with stories and personalities, “spokescandies” in humorous TV ads and entities who engage with the audience. Content marketing allowed M&Ms to inject their brand with life, encouraging the audience to form the associations needed to create a brand image, for example fun, playful and humourous.

A company who holds a successful brand image is one that communicates a story, be it through fictional characters, our company history or CSR activities. Good storytelling stirs feelings and creates associations, both of which a crucial elements of forming a brand image.

TIP: Monitor both your influencers’ and competition’s social channels to see what’s working from a storytelling perspective.

Connect with the audience emotionally

Emotional branding is the means of addressing the consumer through their feelings, needs and requirements and is a great way to build a positive brand image. Let’s take Nike for example; the company has an in depth understanding of their market and leverages their target’s inspiration and fears in marketing campaigns. Their “Better for It” advert is a personal favourite of mine: it vocalises the inner thoughts of females when they are working out by drawing on real life examples of what goes on in the female brain at the gym. We hear comments such as, “Oh great, a bunch of models right in front of me” and “What am I even doing?”

The ad is humorous, realistic and does a great job at connecting with the audience emotionally by addressing their aspirations, fears and needs. The audience feels like Nike ‘gets them’, and associations such as ‘winner’, ‘fighter’ and ‘determined’ are assigned to the brand after watching the advert. We may not have Nike’s advertising budget, but we can still come up with content that generates an emotional reaction among our consumers. In doing so, we build a stronger and more loyal relationship between them and the brand.

TIP: Testing the same content across channels is a great way to see where this sort of emotional appeal is more accepted. People may, for example, be more likely to get hooked on emotion on a Facebook feed than on LinkedIn.

Stick with your story

Now that you have the story down, keep telling it. Coca-Cola occupies third place on Forbes’s list of the strongest brands in the world, which isn’t surprising since the company spends a great deal of money on cross channel advertising. As such, the constant appearance of the brands name results in a strong brand image. Not a day goes by without many of us seeing, thinking or wanting Coke. Repeat exposure of our brand is a key factor to building a successful brand image. The more chances we offer our audience to attach associations to our brand, the stronger the brand image. Now, not all of us are fortunate enough to have a Coca-Cola sized budget to feed into large advertising campaigns. For those in this boat, opt for a constant presence on social – preferably, in a place where we know our audience will be.

TIP: Media intelligence tools allow us to find the right channels and conversations, brand advocates and key industry influencers that can help us to increase brand exposure.

For those interested in how they can improve brand equity, subscribe to our blog and keep an eye out for part three of the brand equity blog series where we will be discussing brand credibility as a means of building brand equity.