Brand image is not conveyed by what a company says, but by everything it does
The brand permeates through every interaction a company has with its customers.
Every time a person comes into contact with a business – be that on an email, on a billboard advert or in the office reception – they will take a message away. They will unconsciously make a judgement and develop a perception of what the company stands for.
It is, therefore, vital businesses develop an understanding of who their customers are early on so they can ensure the brand developed appeals to the target audience on a fundamental level.This cannot just be conveyed through a name, it has to be extended through the trademark and the choice of colours and finishes used in every element of marketing and communication.
You can see this use of colours clearly when you compare exclusive and budget brands. A top quality car manufacturer or jeweller will use deep colouring in its branding to convey a sense of luxury. With an exclusive technology product you expect to see the brands use metallic or white colouring.
If exclusive brands were to choose orange or yellow as their corporate colours however, they could inadvertently put off their target audience as many instinctively associate these colours with budget brands. Think easyJet or Ryanair.
Ryanair is a budget airline and its choice of blue and yellow colours is no coincidence. It wants to look cheap! It’s the same with the design of its website – it is not a highly polished sleek looking e-commerce site. It looks basic and deliberately so – it wants its customer to believe it is doing everything it can to keep costs down.
It’s the same with moneysavingexpert.com. This business sold for £87m last year but, despite being a multimillion pound business, the website again looks basic. This is because the website is focused on saving money and so developing a lavish looking website would give mixed messages.
There are many examples of where a brand has been damaged by unwanted associations and have been forced to take action to restore or protect their image. This is especially true in fashion where, in an attempt to disassociate itself from ‘Chav’ culture, Burberry ceased production of its distinctive chequered caps. US retailer Abercrombie & Fitch also reportedly paid a substantial sum to Michael Sorrentino – AKA The Situation from Jersey Shore – not to wear its clothes.
In most cases, however, careful consideration at the beginning of the company’s branding journey can prevent the business from having to rectify mistakes later on. And the better a business can define its audience at the beginning of this process, the more chance a business has of hitting the nail on the head when it comes to developing their brand.