Image vs Brand
Brand is a concept that separates one seller or company or its products or services from its competitors. We all know about Coca-Cola, McDonald, Apple, Microsoft, and so on. Of course, these are giants of companies in their chosen field of manufacture or service, but there is something that separates them (read their products and services) from their competitors. However, this is not what makes them brands, but their trademarks which remind an average person about the quality of their product or service instantly. As soon as you see the logo of McDonalds, do you not start to think about delicious recipes that are served at McDonalds’? This is the power of brands, especially their trademarks. However, there is also image of a company that is also important, and despite similarities in serving the same purpose of generating more sales for the company, has many differences with brand. These differences are highlighted in this article.
A brand is almost a personality without a person as whether it is a logo, slogan, text, or a design, it has the power to attract customers and also to retain existing customers. There is also a psychological aspect of a brand that is called its image. Though, there is a tendency to use the words brand and image together to refer to it as brand image, it has to be understood that image, whether positive or negative is separate from brand, which is the trademark associated with the company or the product.
The word brand originated with the practice of putting hot stamp on the bodies of sheep to distinguish them from another individual’s sheep. Just imagine if there were no brands and you went to purchase a TV? It is only because of the existence of brands in the market that we recognize them and make a choice among them. However, it is because of the image of the brand that an average person on the street learns about the qualities of a product of a company. Brand tells you that there is someone in the market but it is its image that tells a lot more about the product. You perceive the brand as cool, fast, high quality or customer friendly and these are attributes that help you in choosing a particular brand.
Another difference between brand and image is that brand is always exclusive while image can be shared with other brands. Coca-Cola is a brand. And so is PepsiCo. But these are mutually exclusive to each other though they may share many qualities or images with each other.
However, the difference between brand and image is very subtle and difficult to understand. Both have a relationship, which is different in different cases. Often a brand contributes to its image though image invariably contributes more towards a brand. It is good if brand and image intersect with each other.
What is the difference between Image and Brand?
· Brand tells you about a company and you recognize the company in a crowd of other companies.
· Image tells you about the qualities of the company or its products.
· Image contributes more towards a brand than a brand contributing towards its image.
Oscar Barlow says
I think this answer is misleading. The author appears to be using the word ‘brand’ to mean only visual identity (or jingles, etc).
Kevin Keller, one of the most influential figures in branding though, gives this definition of brand image: “perceptions about a brand as reflected by the brand associations held in consumer memory”
(Keller, K. L. (1993), “Conceptualizing, Measuring, and Managing Customer-Based Brand Equity”, Journal of Marketing Research, 29: 1-22)
Keller would describe the sensory identifiers of a brand (logo, colourschemes, jingles etc) as its ‘identity’. But the brand overall is more than this: it is its identity, its image, the quality of the product, the use of the product, the heritage of the product, your understanding of the situation you use the product in, who the product is aimed at and (ideally) some conception of being connected to a community of users of the product.
Keller’s book ‘Strategic Brand Management’ can provide more information.