The importance of brand image — the public's perception of your company — is that it can quite literally make or break your company. A strong brand image will elicit strong ties to your target audience that builds loyalty and gets you through your most challenging times.
A weak brand image could be torn down in a second if highlighted negatively in the public's eyes. For instance, Nike is known for breaking through racial injustice barriers by being front and center of controversial actions. If they were slow to address a topic, supporters might be angry. Still, they wouldn't be at any significant risk of being 'canceled.'
According to Porter Novelli, this is likely because at least 67% of consumers would be willing to forgive a strong and purposeful brand if they made a misstep.
Here are four tips to improve company branding with brand strategies that work.
1. First And Foremost: Know And Stay True To Yourself
A strong brand has, above all else, a solid understanding of who they are and the target consumers they cater to. With that insight, you can appeal to and represent your ideal consumers without room for misrepresentation of beliefs, values, opinions, and more.
Authenticity is another important component of strong branding that consumers prioritize when making purchasing decisions and choosing who to give their support to. According to Oberlo, 86% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support. Another 81% said they need to trust the brand to buy from them.
Create Clear and Detailed Guidelines
After clearly defining who you are and who you will represent in your target market, the next best step is to create a detailed guide for everyone in the company to follow. This will allow you to keep every brand message and touchpoint with consumers consistent, true to the brand, and seamless.
2. Be Active In Positive Change
Cause marketing has become significantly more important for brands to participate in now that consumers prioritize corporate social responsibility when supporting brands. This makes the consumer think they're contributing to a good cause personally by supporting a brand that makes positive changes.
According to Engage For Good, 86% of consumers believe that companies should take a stand on social issues, with 64% of people who thinks it's 'extremely important' for a company to take a stand on a social issue saying they were 'very likely' to purchase a product based on that commitment. The report also added that 89% of executives say companies that lead with purpose have a competitive advantage in today's marketplace.
Be careful, however, since supporting causes and charities can also weaken your brand. Your support should only go to relevant non-profits that make sense for your business to help — i.e., a food bank partnered with a grocery store. Going outside what makes sense to consumers could come off as disingenuous or an action aimed at only increasing sales, not helping others.
3. Evaluate Your Image And Develop A Plan
Is your brand image being perceived by the public the way you want it to be? If not, evaluate that perception and make a plan for ways you can adjust that perception to what you're going for.
For instance, if you want to be perceived as environmentally friendly but only have a perception of not being too terribly bad for the environment, you may want to examine what more you could be doing to reduce your carbon footprint:
- Recycling and reusing
- Only offer and use sustainable products and packaging
- Partner with other green businesses
- Support and contribute to eco-friendly causes
- Offer public transit commutes or encourage remote work
4. Rebranding Is Never Off the Table
Rebranding is essential to every business at some point since images can get outdated and out of tune with their audiences after a decade or so. In fact, Entrepreneur reports show that organizations rebrand on average every 7 to 10 years to keep up with changes.
Whether your reason for rebranding is that it has been nearly a decade or no obvious way to improve your brand image, the strategy is efficient in delivering results.
Some great rebranding examples include:
- Raiders wanted to go international, so they changed their name to Twix. Smith's changed to Lay's for the same reason.
- Shell Oil and Pepsi Cola's brand images were outdated and have since been changed so much that they're nearly unrecognizable from their original logos.
- McDonald's has been rebranded due to its unhealthy reputation to include more natural and healthy additions.
Bonus Tip: Work With A Media Partner
Creating a strong brand image is essential for brand awareness, customer loyalty, standing out from the competition, maximizing revenue, and more. It also takes a lot of time and effort to build, requiring careful attention to detail and action to avoid negative impact.
To ensure your image fully represents your brand and audience, work with a media partner. They have a team of branding experts who can lend you their expertise and advice while developing your brand image strategy.