What Is Brand Image? With Importance, Examples and Tips

Updated February 3, 2023

In today's business world, the ability to stand out from others is vital, which is only possible by creating and maintaining a strong brand image. A brand's image serves as a representation of the brand's products, services and reputation within its industry. Understanding what makes up a brand image and why it's important to a business can help you transform your company into a customer-oriented, professional organization. 

In this article, we explain what a brand image is, why it's important and how it differs from brand identity, and we offer some examples of brand images.

What is brand image?

Brand image is a consumer's interpretation of your company and its products and services. It takes form inside the consumer's mind based on their experiences and interactions, as well as their perception of your company's mission and values. A strong brand image can create brand recognition and encourage the formation of a loyal client base that can provide a company with profits for years to come.

Related: What Branding Is and Why It's Important

Why is brand image important?

When consumers buy your product or service, they're buying what your brand stands for. A good brand image is important for a variety of reasons, including:

Establishes credibility

A good brand image can help a company establish credibility within its industry. It requires earning the respect of consumers and competitors through quality, consistency and honesty. There are many ways that brands establish credibility, such as:

  • Being honest with consumers

  • Providing expert testimony about products or services

  • Answering customer feedback

  • Addressing issues quickly

  • Comparing products and services with competitors

  • Becoming a thought leader in the industry

  • Protecting customers' information

  • Focusing on quality

  • Taking a stance on social issues

Consumers may trust brands that are more credible and open about their operations. When they perceive a brand as the most credible option in the industry, consumers may be more likely to support the brand over its competition.

Related: 4 Steps to Building a Brand

Makes a good impression

Making a good first impression is important, especially in business. Consumers will create an impression or brand image of your business based on factors such as messages and values communicated through your website, customer service, social media posts and even your company logo. How consumers see your company, even on a superficial level, leaves an impression. You want all points of contact with potential customers to leave a positive impression.

Related: How To Fix a Bad First Impression (With Tips and Strategies)

Increases referrals

When customers have a positive brand image of a company, they may be more likely to refer its services or products to others. Referrals are an important part of growing the brand's audience, and trusted friends and family can serve as a credible source of information for many people. Sometimes, a potential customer simply needs a positive mention from a trusted friend to decide to support a company.

Related: What Is a Client Referral? (Plus Importance and How To Get One)

Creates recognition

A recognizable brand can attract new customers and establish itself as a key component of a specific industry. For example, if customers think of your brand as honest, supportive and innovative, those are the attributes they associate with each of your products or services. They might describe the brand as honest, supportive and innovative when discussing it with others or writing reviews. Their positive opinions about your company also make it easier to introduce new products under the same brand. The new items immediately have a good image since they're affiliated with your strong brand.

Related: 15 Personal Brand Tips To Help Your Career (Plus Benefits)

Establishes professionalism

A brand's image can also help it appear professional and organized. If a brand's image is clean, consistent and organized, customers might think the brand embodies professionalism. Along with credibility, professionalism may help customers trust the brand and create expectations for service and products. Those expectations, when met by the brand, can help increase customer confidence and potentially their loyalty to the company.

Related: Professionalism Skills: Definition and Examples

Examples of brand image

Here are some examples of brand images for a better idea of how they can affect customer satisfaction and the brand's reputation:

Example 1

Here is an example of a brand image for a sports drink company:

The logo for Florida-based Greenwater Sports Drinks is a green wave with a surfer on it holding a drink, which helps embody the company's identity of fun, relaxation and refreshment. Greenwater creates unique energy drinks from only sustainable ingredients with the first-ever biodegradable energy drink packaging. Customers see Greenwater as a responsible company that takes the health of the planet seriously but also encourages fun and relaxation with natural ingredients.

The company supports several local habitat relief funds and marine biology projects that help improve the health and quality of local marine life and ecosystems. This helps reinforce the brand's commitment to sustainability and love for the earth and creates trust between the customer and the brand. Since the company's newest marine habitat restoration efforts, sales increased 50% in one quarter, with 10,000 new orders from individuals and local grocery stores.

Related: 10 Essential Brand Strategist Skills (With Tips)

Example 2

Here is an example of a brand image for a high-end watch company:

The Goldstone Watch Co. produces high-quality, premium watches with precious metals and stones. The handmade watches are a symbol of wealth and status and project an image of success for the wearer. The company uses only the highest-quality raw materials to set itself apart from the competition and establish a niche for its products.

Customers view Goldstone watches as the pinnacle of personal accessories and high-quality watches. With this reputation, the brand maintains a solid customer base and continues to drive sales with new models made from increasingly exotic and rare materials hand-crafted to support the company's pledge of quality and consistency.

Related: Understanding Product Quality: What It Is and Why It Matters

Example 3

Here is an example of a brand image for a clothing company:

The Arrow Clothing Brand established its credibility as the first sustainable clothing company to use hemp in all of its products. Hemp is a more environmentally friendly and sustainable raw material than cotton, polyester or other fibers. The company controls the growth and cultivation of its hemp, producing only organic hemp for the strongest and most durable fibers. Customers trust Arrow's clothes to last longer than the competitors with fewer rips or tears.

The brand reinforces this image of sustainability and durability by researching new ways to weave hemp thread for stronger clothes with extra features like waterproofing and tear-resistant fibers. The company, which donates to several rainforest initiatives, uses a logo that has an arrow through an infinity symbol, which customers use to identify the company and its pledge to move forward sustainably forever.

Related: What Is ISO Certification and Why Is It Important?

Brand image vs. brand identity

A company's brand image differs from its brand identity. Where the brand image is how the customer perceives the brand and its services, the brand's identity is how the brand wants the customer, competitors and industry experts to see it. For example, if a company wants to establish a brand identity of honesty and quality, they might reveal their production methods and how they source raw materials so customers may believe the brand identity is genuine.

Related: How To Build Your Brand Identity in 5 Steps

5 tips to increase brand image

Reinforcing a strong brand image takes work on your part. Here are some tips to consider:

1. Develop a strong brand identity

If you want a good brand image, your brand identity is the place to start. It is often your first chance to encourage with potential customers. Invest in a good brand identity, including brand voice, logo or colors, from the start and pay close attention to feedback. 

Related: How To Conduct a Brand Awareness Campaign

2. Create an engaging website

A well-designed and current website can help make a lasting impression on consumers. Use it to tell about your company, its mission and values, contact information and online store. If you invest time in creating a website that looks good and works well, you can make an impression with consumers, engage new visitors and promote your brand.

Related: How To Plan a Functional Website in 8 Steps

3. Use marketing strategies

Put the power of marketing and its ability to shape customers' perceptions to work for your brand. Marketing campaigns, influencer marketing and social media campaigns are some of the many ways to communicate with your customers. 

Related: 10 Marketing Strategies To Attract and Retain Customers

4. Get feedback from customers

Online testimonials, in-person interactions and comments left on your website and social media pages are all ways you can gauge your brand image. If customer feedback is negative, research the issue and make changes if necessary. Positive feedback presents an opportunity to determine what methods are working best for your brand.

Related: How To Gather Customer Feedback

5. Improve your concrete image

Brand images can form from online experiences but also from in-person interaction. Getting involved with your community by participating in fundraising activities, hosting events and sponsoring events are all ways to humanize your brand and improve its image.

If your business involves face-to-face experiences like direct sales or repair services, each interaction can alter the perception of your brand. Reinforce great customer service and make sure your employees represent your brand well.

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