What is brand image?
Often included in brand health studies is the measurement of brand associations or brand image. These are important for several reasons.
- Firstly, it shows what links to a brand a customer has made in their memory. Having strong positive associations and feelings towards brands makes it easier for consumers to retrieve relevant information and make brand choices.
- Secondly, it allows us to map how our brand is positioned against our competitors, so marketers can see if their intended positionings are being realised or not.
- Thirdly, it enables us to evaluate to what extent a brand can extend into new products and/or territories without stretching the brand. This can be fundamental for mature brands looking to extend their product lines for growth.
Brand associations can include many different functional and image dimensions such as product attributes, features and benefits, product claims and uses, positioning statements, personality traits and even associated emotions.
A typical quantitative brand association task would include a question such as: “Here are some things other people have said about brands of X. For each one, please indicate which of these brands A, B, C, D and E you think the statement applies to.”
Deriving brand image attributes
It is important that brand image attributes are custom built for your category and purpose. They should be derived from speaking to real consumers via qualitative research to capture exactly how they see and articulate these associations. Projective and sort techniques are useful in eliciting the imagery in consumers’ minds.
- Projective exercise – “Imagine brand X is a person (or an animal, car or planet). How would you describe that person in detail – age, gender, traits, etc.?”
- Sort exercise – “Sort these brands into groups and tell us why the brands in the same group are together and the differences between the groups.”
Outputs can be “absolute” by just looking at the magnitude of associations of attributes to brands in percentage terms, or “relative” between brands and attributes by using advanced techniques such as correspondence analysis to create brand landscapes (example below), which are particularly important for brand positioning studies.
You can see from the above example that some of the statements touch on areas we spoke in our “Measuring Brand Equity” post, such as brand relevance and brand love. These can be captured in the brand image section of a survey, increasing the overall efficiency of your research instrument.
For a more detailed look at brand image and to understand how your brand is performing in your category against your competitors, download our FREE printable Brand Health and Equity Guide by completing the form below!