A brand’s image represents how a brand is perceived; it is comprised in part by aesthetic choices and associations, which cultivate both implicit and explicit inferences about the company. Branding tells a narrative about the company, helping to humanize and elicit an emotional connection.
Many businesses fall into the habit of thinking that brand image merely means frivolous effort or expense, while others make the mistake of putting all their stock into their image. The best course of action lies somewhere in between these two. After all, image absolutely matters – but even the most beautiful billboard ever made will only go so far in selling a terrible product.
The Importance Of Impressions
A first impression represents a unique opportunity for conversion of casual visitors or passersby into consumers. If you fail the initial audition, it can be hard or downright impossible to reignite interest in that person at any point in the future. Things like appropriate style, professional presentation, or eye-catching business cards add up to form an impression that is greater than the sum of its parts. When all of these things are calculated and considered thoughtfully, it shows.
Although a pretty business card or well-tailored suit will not guarantee your success irrespective of all other factors, these things to have persuasive power, and provide reassurance that you know what you’re doing.
Image And Consistency
Research indicates that a lack of consistency harms brand image. There should be cohesion in a brand’s image in order to give consumers a chance to build a relationship with the company. If the face of your company is always in flux, it’s impossible for people to identify it.
We also know that repeated exposure breeds familiarity and thus preference. However, you cannot benefit from the perks of repeated exposure if your brand is unrecognizable from the last time. When coupled with another tool like email or social marketing software that allows for automated outreach, a consistent brand image becomes a powerful relation builder.
How To Build A Strong Brand Image
Now that we have laid out some reasons as to why brand image matters regardless of the niche or scope of your company, we will explore some ways to create a firm foundation for your brand image.
Identify Your Audience
To some, this may seem tricky because you may not know who your target audience is, especially in the early stages of running a business. However, the specificity in audience identification is incredibly important. The more exact you are in identifying your target market, the more you can cater your company to their unique needs, thus maximizing your appeal.
One way to get highly precise information on potential consumers is via data analytics. This is a relatively new approach to data whose use is a proven differentiator between the top and bottom performers in the business world.
Set Your Business Goals
Before attaining success you first need to define the parameters of it. As if it were needed, clinical studies indicate that defining your goals improves performance. This may seem like a simple concept, but you’d be surprised at how many people fail to define the criteria of their success.
Sometimes this becomes a task that people shy away from because once you define your success, you then know when you fail in no uncertain terms. This makes being honest and exact daunting for some people, but it is nonetheless a necessity to move forward.
Convey Your Brand’s Persona
After your key audience and goals have been identified, you can then begin to tailor your brand’s persona. Pay attention to things like tone, aesthetics, formality (or lack thereof) and other stylistic choices, as these will animate your business and bring it to life. Be sure to keep it simple and clear; otherwise, you will confuse people.
Once the fundamentals of your business have been determined, its time to initiate promotional activities. Content, social media, and public relations all work in synchrony to grow your brand awareness and following.
Content is the so-called “substance” of your brand expansion efforts. Engaging content will always hold a great deal of relevance in e-commerce. This is the currency by which your company is valued, and helps to build relationships. If you are generating valuable content often, you can be sure that your following will grow over time.
Social media is the vehicle by which you deliver your content. Even if your content is interesting and valuable, it does you no good if nobody sees it. Social media is one of the most effective ways of getting the word out about your company. It can potentially put your brand and message in front of the eyes of millions at little to no cost. It also represents a unique opportunity to join forces with other companies that may run an operation tangential to yours and mutually benefit from one another’s followings.
Public relations will broadcast company news and messages via trade publications, news outlets or other platforms. This gives your company a sheen of professionalism and helps to portray your business as an expert source.