Brand image is the current view of the customers about a brand. It can be defined as a unique bundle of associations within the minds of target customers. It signifies what the brand presently stands for. In short, it is nothing but the consumers’ perception about the product. It is the manner in which a specific brand is positioned in the market. Brand image conveys emotional value and not just a mental image. Brand image is nothing but an organization’s character. It is an accumulation of contact and observation by people external to an organization. It should highlight an organization’s mission and vision to all. The main elements of positive brand image are- unique logo reflecting organization’s image, slogan describing organization’s business in brief and brand identifier supporting the key values.
Brand image is the overall impression in consumers’ mind that is formed from all sources. Consumers develop various associations with the brand. Based on these associations, they form brand image. An image is formed about the brand on the basis of subjective perceptions of associations bundle that the consumers have about the brand. Volvo is associated with safety. Toyota is associated with reliability.
The idea behind brand image is that the consumer is not purchasing just the product/service but also the image associated with that product/service. Brand images should be positive, unique and instant. Brand images can be strengthened using brand communications like advertising, packaging, word of mouth publicity, other promotional tools, etc.
Brand image develops and conveys the product’s character in a unique manner different from its competitor’s image. The brand image consists of various associations in consumers’ mind. Brand attributes are the functional and mental connections with the brand that the customers have. They can be specific or conceptual. Benefits are the rationale for the purchase decision. There are three types of benefits: Functional benefits - what do you do better (than others ),emotional benefits - how do you make me feel better (than others), and rational benefits/support - why do I believe you(more than others). Brand attributes are consumers overall assessment of a brand.
Brand image has not to be created, but is automatically formed. The brand image includes products' appeal, ease of use, functionality, fame, and overall value. Brand image is actually brand content. When the consumers purchase the product, they are also purchasing it’s image. Brand image is the objective and mental feedback of the consumers when they purchase a product. Positive brand image is exceeding the customers expectations. Positive brand image enhances the goodwill and brand value of an organization.
To sum up, “Brand image” is the customer’s net extract from the brand.