We have all heard the saying: “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, and yet, in modern society, this is exactly what almost everyone is doing literally every day. We spend more time with people online than face to face – even “live” chats or full concerts and shows are hosted via the Internet. Through all these actions, people see our metaphorical covers and no doubt about it – they are judging us by them.
Therefore, we are creating an image of ourselves by which we would prefer to be judged. Sounds a bit gloomy when we say it so. But, we did not create the state of things – we are just naming them as they are.
On the other hand, who is to say that creating a better image of oneself is innately good or bad? We have no issues with using makeup – why the use of online image filters is any different? Or for that matter, what’s the problem with someone taking a picture while wearing makeup and listing the makeup brand in the description? It’s not to just look good, but to look “brand” good!
We want our friends to see us eating Osso Bucco at Ritz-Carlton, or our legs elongated by the picture perspective, catching a tan at Talamanca beach in Ibiza. It’s common and completely understandable.
Therefore, today, we have the need to identify with brands that promote the image we are striving to achieve.
So, what is the brand image anyway?
To put it simply, brand image is the collection of views, beliefs, and information about a particular brand we have acquired over a certain period of time.
As is the case with all things we experience in life, the brand image perceived by our mind is subjective. However, our own subjective perception filters affect it less than the brand’s direct efforts, which incorporate the brand’s core values into the efforts themselves.
It takes a lot of time, effort, and careful planning to implement a proper brand image, but even the greatest brands in the world cannot completely predict all obstacles they may face. Should this discourage you from creating your personal brand? Of course not! On the contrary, most brand management examples we are going to give you in this article are scalable.
There are smartphones, and then there’s iPhone
This is the foundation of the brand image of Apple – the largest tech company in the world. Even though more than half of Americans own an Apple product, the brand still manages to create an air of prestige around itself – partially through high prices of their products.
For example, a number of programmers and developers will demand to work on a Mac instead of a much cheaper set up with the same performances, since Apple has devoted, cult-like followers, top-notch OS, and provides the option to connect your i-products and use them interchangeably.
Apple’s tagline “Think Different” is one of the best slogans ever. That said, Apple’s margins are through the roof, and the revenue is what keeps them at the top of the tech world. Also, it allows them to charge mind-boggling figures for their products and peripherals, like the famous $999 MacPro monitor stand. The brand image definitely works like charm.
The Curious Case of Adolf Dassler
Most of you probably never heard of Adolf Adi Dassler, but surely everyone in the world is familiar with his brand – Adidas. Now, what is so curious about this case?
Adidas has the best marketing management team in the world. The famous “Impossible is nothing” campaign is one of the many shining examples. The marketing budgets are nothing short of Whoa!, what really makes them stand out from the competition didn’t cost them a dime.
It all started with the old-school hip-hop street style back in the 80s – Adidas’ famous tracksuits offered comfort and mobility to the acrobatic dancers busting moves on the streets of the United States and their clothes became an unofficial dress code for the whole movement. The style had its comeback in the early 90s with the rise of the Nu Metal genre, most notably the band KoЯn who even made a song using Adidas as a whimsical backronym.
What makes the story even more curious is the fact that in 1998 KoЯn received a six-figure offer from another popular brand – Puma. No stone was left unturned to replace Adidas as their unofficially-official wear, which the band accepted. The most curious detail is that the brand Puma was created by none other than Adi’s own brother – Rudolph Dassler.
In the meantime, on the Old Continent, a completely different subculture adopted Adidas as their fashion choice – Gopniks. The Gopniks (or Gopniki) is an Eastern European lower-class youth known for Hard Bass music and squatting.
Even though the tracksuits worn by them are usually cheap knock-offs, the rise of social media, and with it, the availability of absurd and ludicrous content shared by the subculture and their fan base, made an inestimable profit as a free commercial for the brand. Now, who could have planned for that?
Key takeaways from how successful brands have built a sustainable brand image
Most brand management efforts done by the big players are scalable. The first thing you should be asking yourself is – is my product vouching for my brand? This is one of the most important takeaways from Apple Computers. Being undoubtedly the pinnacle of technological development, Apple’s products are:
- 1. Reliable,
- 2. Easy to use,
- 3. Built to last.
If you can say the same for your products or services, they will serve as ambassadors for your brand and massively influence your brand image.
The next thing you should consider is – what can you do to make your brand viral? What we learned from Adidas is that sometimes things can simply go your way. Although highly desirable, you should not wait for the gods of marketing to smile upon you. Rather, you should work with what you have at your disposal and within your budget, and what better way to make this work than focusing on your online presence.
Be creative with your campaigns, use influencers to promote your brand, give people incentive to create buzz around it – if you do it right, it will return to you tenfold.
Finally, you should ask yourself – is my brand image consistent? If your brand message delivery is not consistent and in line with your brand’s core message, you will confuse your target audience and inevitably lose their interest.