Your brand image. It’s how people view your brand. It’s what they think about it. It’s things like trust, value, quality, features, performance, assurance, status, service, and more. It’s not static, but ideally it’s not constantly changing either. It determines whether prospects become your customers or move on to the next guy. It holds the key to your success. It’s important.
But do you know what yours actually is? Are you proactively managing it?
How Brand Image is Formed
Think about your personal brand image: it’s formed by your family, friends and associates as a direct result of how you conduct yourself in their presence and by the things they observe and experience about you directly and indirectly.
Customers and prospects for business brands form an impression — an image — about a brand based on their direct and indirect experiences with it. These experiences are the brand’s touch points — individual instances of interactions with the brand that lead to the formation of an image.
A couple of weeks ago, a local heating & air conditioning company service truck almost ran me off the road. I swore then and there I’d never do business with that company, given the driver’s carelessness which I assumed would carry over into how they serviced my system.
Like many, my image of BP was completely changed as a result of the cavalier attitude of that company’s leadership during the gulf oil disaster a few years back.
While BP or the local heating & air company can’t tell me what image I should have about them, they can and should control how they deliver their brand touch points which lead to the formation of a brand image by people like you and me.
You Can (and must) Purposely Define Your Brand Identity
How you deliver your brand touch points is prescribed as a component of your brand identity — a strategic platform which is created to define how you want your brand to be presented to perceived by the world. This includes:
- Vision and values statements where you define your core, unshakable view and values for the brand
- Value proposition where you define the benefits of your brand on multiple levels
- Brand positioning platform where you define how you’re decisively different from your competitors
- Brand messaging where you define the core brand messages you’ll actively reinforce to your audiences
- Brand touch point plan where you identify, prioritize, and then proactively manage the various brand interactions so they’re aligned with and reinforce the brand identity
The final step is to maintain a constant pulse of your brand image. Depending on your business, this may involve monitoring social media and review sites, conducting formal research, utilizing sales personnel to report what’s going on out there, and many other tactics.
If you have a handle on how you want your audiences to view your brand (your strategically-crafted brand identity platform), and if you have an effective brand touch point management plan to ensure your brand interactions are consistently aligned with that desired view, then and only then can you sit back and enjoy the marketing success that will follow.
Need help? You’re at 34 North; you’re at the right place. Just give us a call.