When we think about the phrase “Finger-lickin’ good,” we immediately think of KFC. Similarly, Nike is associated with “Just do it”. Every major brand today holds a brand association; which is essentially how they manage an upper hand over competitors.
Brand associations have grown to be extremely important in the eyes of businesses and customers. Since they are capable of making or breaking a brand’s image. In the best-case scenario, for example, a customer will remember a brand through positive imagery. While Nike and KFC are a few examples of positive brand associations; some brands fall through the cracks due to negative associations.
A recent example of negative brand association would be that of Jeffree Star. A Youtube makeup artist who ended up losing a major brand deal (even after years of association) with Morphe. Jeffree Star was accused of indulging in racist and offensive language. Including manipulating other creators and those that considered him a ‘friend.’
If Morphe failed to drop Jeffree after all that he had done, they would immediately fall under the impact of negative brand association. Sponsorship deals and contracts are the most important part of a brand’s image. However, the goal for such an association is for it to be positive all along the long run. As soon as the deal isn’t beneficial, it turns out to be a negative brand association, which needs to be avoided at all costs.
The way you set up your brand’s association is responsible for the kind of mindset you end up building in the eyes of the customer. You might think to yourself, “Setting up a brand association will be easy, all I need to do is get an influential brand or blogger to speak up on my products or services and it’ll be an easy way to the top after.” However, there’s a lot more to the process than just getting an influential person involved.
Essentially, the key to every brand’s successful brand association is creativity and innovation. Customers don’t want to interact with brands that have a stagnant marketing profile. Think about it from the perspective of the customer – if you, as a consumer, fail to notice even the introduction of a new product or service from a brand because of how subtle its promotional strategies were, not only will you not be interested in the products but you’ll prefer to buy from a company that already has your trust.
To understand the journey of building a strong brand association, we built a set of ‘to-dos’ for your brand for when you choose to go down this marketing path.
Think about the first thing that comes to mind when you read the words ‘brand association’ and use it for your strategy. You’ll remember the brands that have managed to build creative campaigns over the years.
Take LG, for example. One can associate the products with the phrase – “Life’s Good” because of the number of advertisements that have consistently displayed it over the years. Whirlpool is associated with the rhythm trinket that plays over the brand’s name in advertisements. Pepsi has made its brand so well known that even viewing the colours blue and red together is capable of reminding you of the company’s logo.
A reciprocation from your audience that grows to be this popular over the years is capable of driving up the sales you receive from a marketing campaign by a storm. A positive brand association allows you to make a happy purchasing decision rather than a sceptical one, leaving the future of your brand in the hands of the consumer.
“We remember 10% of what we read, 20% of what we say and 30% of what we see” – this has been a known fact for years now. Although the quote comes from student classrooms, it has grown to be a crucial part of digital marketing as well.
This is essentially why it’s recommended for businesses to try to incorporate pictures and videos into campaigns. Not only does it allow users to explore different ways of approaching the content they have to offer, but it also allows them to know the product better.
Designs are the crux of creating a brand association for customers – in the form of logos, ads, symbols or even different visual elements. Taking up the example of the logos of McDonald’s, Pepsi, Nike, Adidas, etc., these are brands that have established their brand associations so strongly with their logos that one can identify them from a mile away.
Along with the identification of the logos, the brands bring in nostalgic memories to the consumer, allowing them to entrust and buy more products with a positive thought in mind. This connection between the company and the consumer allows the cultivation of healthy sales.
You will need to build your design based on the niche audience that you want to target. For example, companies like ToysRUs use fun fonts and colourful designs to act as a more approachable option for children. However, when it comes to brands like Apple, a grey palette allows the audience to focus on the sophistication of the product and its features. It doesn’t allow users to get distracted by unnecessary fonts and colour tones. Simplicity is key if used in the right way.
While building a brand’s association, it is important to acknowledge the fact that many a time, your audience might not feel the need to buy your product. We already know that a customer never buys from a website in the first go, so how do we build the interest in the minds of the consumer?
On average, most individuals tend to shop once a month (at least). If you want to create a connection with your customers to the extent where they come back to your products every month, you need to build a brand association that’s strong enough for it. Let’s take a look at the clothing outlets amid the coronavirus situation, for example.
In present times, clothing items are the last product in the minds of consumers – which essentially means that the demand for fashion items is low. However, if you want to build a strong customer association with relation to your fashion products, you can do so by catering to the subconscious wants of the customer.
For example, you can build brand associations with influencers, models and creators. Create a new, creative look for their followers with the help of vlogs and blogs. This creates the need for targeting a new fashion outlook in the hearts of creators.
Brand association is a long-term goal. The end notion is that of creating a positive, impactful image in the eyes of the customer. As soon as they see a particular design or phrase, that is capable of reminding them of your business.
The important part of building a strong brand association is by considering every problem that might hamper your growth. This will allow you to prepare for the problems that might come along the way. This gives you the benefit of early preparation.
Tarnished Brand perception may not be because of associations with the wrong influencers and creators. But, also because of negative customer experience.
Not so long ago, Uber faced repercussions for sexual assault allegations against executives from their female customers. This left a threat in the minds of Uber users. Although Uber was able to clear up the news and introduce new precautionary measures in their rides; the stigma remained, causing many customers to switch to other modes of transportation.
Similarly, Burberry suffered in the early years of the 2000s. Due to the switch of their clientele to ‘chavs’ rather than the elite public, they once aimed to cater to. It did ruin the audience growth and left a lasting impression of vulgarity perception among the target audience.
Every brand reaches a point in its growth when negative news takes over and throws everything crashing down. During times like this, it is extremely important to counter the problems with an immediate solution. If not, the brand could end up with a negative association for the rest of its lifetime.
The process of building a successful brand association begins with your ‘today’. The process of cultivating a manual for steady brand’s growth gives an edge to tackle any unknowns.
If your audience can remember you with a positive notion, no competitor is capable of breaking their brand loyalty.