I had some people over not long ago and I was shocked when someone had a go at me for using Apple products. "People who use Apple think they're better than everyone else". Ouch!! I thought it was very harsh and absolutely did not fit with my perception of the brand. I use Apple because to me, they represent 'thinking outside the box' innovation and design. There is also something 'Go-go-gadget' about them that I love. So why are my brand perceptions so different to others and how can you ensure that your brand associations are creating the image that you want? A great place to start is to develop a deep understanding of how to shape perceptions, attitudes and beliefs about your brand.
Six advertising effects in branding
All advertising needs a bit of direction to create strong associations. Here are some of the effects that advertising can achieve to strengthen your brand.
Brand identity - Perceive
Your logos, slogans, colours, fonts, name and sounds all need to be something unique, own-able and memorable so that they act as markers to connect with memories of either your advertising message or the experiences that customers have had in the past.
Brand promise - Believe
A brand promise is all about consistency and reliability, after all that's why we buy brands in the first place. To help us make easier purchasing decisions because we know and trust the brand to deliver on their brand promise. Whether that's a consistent burger from MacDonald's or a safe car from Volvo.
Brand position - Understand
This is how customers see the brand relative to competitors, the category it sits in or the substitutes available. Strong positioning helps customers to first, quickly understand what the product is and what it does.. then decide on superiority.
Brand personality - Feel
If your brand was a person, who would they be? What would they sound like and look like? Brand personality should reflect what customers feel about your brand. Is your brand fun or serious? Sophisticated or down to earth? Deciding how your brand will feel to customers is particularly important when writing those Facebook and Instagram posts.
Brand image and values - Connect
Brand image is tied to the abstract meaning that customers connect with a brand. For example, the type of people that use the product (like cool, creative Apple people ). This is where brands try to meet their customers psychological needs, such as status, and connect their values, mantra or brand essence. It's the serious stuff, the meaningful stuff and worth taking the time to refine.
Brand loyalty - Act
This is where the story comes full circle. I'm an Apple loyalist for sure, but my nemesis was also displaying brand loyalty to his android tribe and this is exactly what brands want to achieve. It's a connection that builds over time and is fuelled by satisfactory experiences with the brand. This is why every contact you have with your customers, either in advertising, service, product development or packaging - build lasting and satisfying experiences. Then perhaps one day, if you're lucky, your customers may offend others at a dinner party in your honour.