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Brand Image Matters

Why brand image matters for businesses?

Brand image matters more than what most managers or entrepreneurs believe. Especially, in a hypercompetitive market environment, businesses cannot afford to keep it aside from the main picture. It is not just something you can leave to the marketing function and forget. Brand image is not limited to a business logo or promotional material but encompasses something much bigger. It can be a strong source of lasting competitive advantage. However, managers and entrepreneurs mostly miss the point in this area. It is because they stay too busy with data crunching and do not feel the need to think about brand image until it becomes compulsory. For most businesses, the bottom line matters and they would rather invest in things that they consider more directly related with performance , productivity and profits.

Consumers interact with your brand along several channels which includes online and offline sales and service channels as well as interactions that happen along marketing channels or social media. Consumers associate every interaction and their feelings regarding it with your brand and that’s how your brand image is formed in the consumers’ mind. However, if businesses consider investing time and resources in building a brand image unnecessary, it is because the concept of brand image is generally associated with increased expenses and labor. They think it it better to invest time improving operations and promotions. They will spend on promotions of their products and services. However, not investing time and resources in building the right brand image can have a negative impact on business performance. Businesses may keep missing the point regarding brand image until it is already too late. Poor brand image can also lead to business failure. Brand image is critical because it is linked with many things critical to business performance. It is not something that businesses can easily quantify or measure its impact in direct terms on business performance and that’s brand image may be pushed aside. Overlooking the importance of brand image in the making of a brand may prove very costly for businesses.

Here are the main reasons that businesses cannot overlook the importance of brand image and why brand image is all pervasive:

Brand image is essential for brand recognition:

There is an intrinsic relationship between brand image and brand recognition. A stronger image can lead to stronger brand recognition and higher popularity among your target audiences. You must be knowing of several highly recognizable brands like Nike, Coca Cola or Apple. You can easily spot their products from among the vast crowd of similar products. Such a strong brand recognition is made possible through brand image which does not include only the visual elements of branding but also includes other aspects like reliability and quality. There is hardly a business that does not want to create strong brand recognition. However, it will require investing time and resources in building a strong brand image. If you want to develop a highly recognizable brand, you will need to put extra efforts in creating a consistent brand image. It means you must focus on everything from quality reliability and durability of your products to customer service, pace of innovation and more. Customer service is important because it leads to higher customer satisfaction and superior customer relationships. Part of your brand image also depends on your relationships with your customers.

Brand image is essential for a great impression:

In business, it is important to make a great impression on your target audience. There are several things that will help you create an impression on your customers including attractive sales channels like an excellent website or well designed stores, your employees and their dressing and behavior, and other things including the ones you use to publicize your brand. How you present your brand is important. Businesses cannot ignore those fine details because customers consider them important and they will compare your brand with the others they know of when making their decisions. So, having a perfectly designed website or a superb retail store and well dressed and well-behaved employees can all strengthen your brand image and help you make a lasting impression on every customer that visits your store or website.

Strong brand image is also a sign of a well-established brand:

What is different about a well-established brand and one that is struggling to establish itself? In most cases, the most easily identifiable difference is related to the brand image. Every brand has something distinct about its brand image. A customer that visits a retail store does not just want reliable products and right prices but he also wants quality of service. Suppose you visit a store where employees do not have a dress code and you mistake another customer for an employee.  If you do not know whom to ask for help when you need, it is going to feel awkward. So, another brand that has a dress code and employees wearing name tags and appropriate customer support inside the retail store will win. It is also a sign of a strong or well-established brand that cares for its customers’ comfort and invests in customer experience. What they see inside the stores will have a lasting impression on them. Well established brands invest in maintaining a consistent image that attracts customers and does not cause any confusion. So, make sure your target audience likes your brand image and it suits your brand.

Brand image can generate higher credibility and brand equity:

Businesses that want to stand out from their competition must invest in creating a strong and customer friendly brand image. You come across several brands daily and some are known for great quality or customer service and others for innovative technology or speed of service. However, if you consider one brand more credible than another in the same sector, it is because one has left a stronger impression on you compared to the others.  You consider this one more credible than the others because it has always provided you great products and superb service. Speed also matters in business.  You know of several brands in various sectors that stand out for one thing or another. Customer service, quality, innovativeness, customer friendliness, etc are all related to brand image. You must decide what you want your business to stand out for. If you want it to be known as an innovative brand, you must invest in creating a culture of innovation throughout your organization. It will generate higher equity or make your business more trustworthy in the eyes of your customers.

How does brand image support marketing?

The role of brand image is critical in terms of marketing. First of all, there is a critical need to be consistent in your marketing efforts and the type of marketing tactics you can employ can be decided based on the type of market image you want to build. Businesses that focus first on building a strong brand image, which might be driven by product/service quality, pricing, customer service or another factor, win in terms of marketing and market share. There are several such examples, where a strong brand image became a critical driver of sales growth and market expansion for businesses. What separates market leading brands like Apple, Nike, Coca Cola, Walmart, Starbucks and McDonald’s from the others? These brands have strong brand image which drives their customer base growth. While some are known for innovation and quality or prices, others are known for quality of products and customer service. So, whatever be the main focus of brand image, it supports the marketing efforts including seasonal campaigns, new product launches and so on. Some businesses do not invest much in marketing and promotions like Costco or Starbucks. How do they drive sales?

These brands instead of investing in marketing and promotions have invested in building a great image that continues to drive sales growth for them. It is possible to have a strong image and achieve strong sales even without investing large fortune in marketing. Walmart on the other hand spends more on marketing and promotions. However, it is a well known brand name with the image of a pocket friendly brand. This is what drives sales in the real terms at Walmart. Its focus is lowest prices since the founder wanted the company to be known as a consumer friendly brand that made products available to them at the most affordable prices in the market. Market leading brands across various industry sectors including technology, fast food, fashion and hospitality have invested in a building a great image since that is critical to establishing the brand in the market. Sometimes, brands need to reposition themselves. Repositioning is many times aimed mainly at changing the image of the brand since it can be a critical differentiator in a highly competitive market environment.


In business, brand image is not something you can easily overlook. Your efforts in various operational areas or even marketing may fail unless you focus early on developing a strong brand image. Think of your brand image as the basis of your brand identity and the facilitator of your promotional efforts. Even if brand image and brand identity are two different things, they are interlinked and the kind of brand identity you are working to develop will be affected by your brand image. Businesses that focus early on building a strong brand image find success faster. Moreover, you would want to develop a consistent brand image that conveys exactly the right message to your consumers and society in general.