A powerful brand image is often all that separates class-leading businesses and their less successful rivals. It is the difference between having a crowd of lifetime customers and continually struggling to generate repeat business - let alone creating any modicum of customer loyalty.
The reason for this is that a strong brand image creates an emotional connection between consumers and the company, which can last a lifetime and even encourage those customers to pass their passion for the brand down to their children.
It is partly why world-class brands such as Apple or Ferrari command such a strong following and why fans of their brand can actually act as unofficial brand advocates, persuading their friends and family to use or support the brand.
However, while brand images are relatively simple to create, instilling a powerful emotional response in your customers is more complex.
Quality merchandise can sell to your prospects again and again
One of the most effective techniques for building a powerful brand image is to use custom promotional products to sell or give away to your customers. Although some established brands make vast amounts of money just from merchandise sales, your real aim should be to spread as much of it to your customer base as possible - whether that means giving it away free with products or selling it at a discount.
This technique can be incredibly effective because if someone uses a mug, umbrella, or wristband with your company logo on it, they have effectively become a walking advertisement for your brand. Not only will your branding be exposed to far more people, far faster than other forms of brand advertising, the people who own your merchandise are likely to form an emotional attachment to your brand.
Perhaps they drink their morning coffee from your branded mug every morning, and so your brand instinctively reminds them of feeling motivated, or your branded coat becomes the jacket they most like to wear. Whatever the example, merchandise can help you create a sense of emotional connection towards your brand.
Branding must speak to the customer’s inner desires
The secret of truly great branding is that it speaks to a deep desire within your target audience. The reason why companies like Tesla and Apple are so popular (and divisive) is that their branding is so closely associated with their long-time bosses - Elon Musk and Steve Jobs. As a result, buying a Tesla or Apple product feels like you are buying into their talent, life stories, and values. As a result, many customers feel as if just by owning those products, they themselves represent those values.
Reflect on this point with regard to your own brand image. Consider which values you and your company believe in, the unique story behind your company, and why it was founded in the first place. These act as the DNA of your branding. If you can successfully project them through your products and marketing, you stand a great chance of building a powerful brand image.
Look at what your competition is doing and head in the opposite direction
If you are looking to create a powerful brand image quickly, you need to make an impact and stand out from the competition.
This is actually quite simple to do. Look at what your competition is doing, and head in the opposite direction (as long as it makes sense for your company). This could mean that you approach customer service from a different angle, market yourself differently, or simply ignore what your industry best practices are and tear up the rule book. There is no one way of standing out from the crowd, but you are guaranteed to build a stronger brand image as a result.