Developing Brand Image Through Brand Imagery - Part 1

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Posted Feb 08, 2012
Susan Gunelius

Brand Image vs. Brand Imagery

In my new series, Developing Brand Image Through Brand Imagery, you'll learn how brand imagery differs from brand image as well as how to use brand imagery to build an overall brand image. Sound confusing? Don't worry. That's what Part 1 of the series is for. Keep reading to learn the difference between brand image and brand imagery.
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developing brand imagery

What is Brand Image?

You brand's image is a direct reflection of your brand promise. If you've done a good job of consistently communicating your brand promise through branded experiences, then your brand image grows organically.

For example, Tiffany & Co. consistently offers top quality brand experiences through its products, stores, ads, events, and so on. The Tiffany & Co. brand image of luxury and quality has grown organically from those consistent experiences.

On the flip-side, the McDonald's brand promise is quick and inexpensive food. The McDonald's stores, service, food, commercials, and so on consistently reflect that brand promise. As a result, the image of McDonald's as the fast place to go for affordable food is one that consumers are comfortable with. They know what they're going to get when they visit a McDonald's.

A brand image is an intangible part of a brand that evolves as consumers experience the brand and develop perceptions of that brand and the brand elements that represent the brand, such as the logo, signage, slogan, and so on.

You can learn more about brand image here.

What Is Brand Imagery?


Brand imagery are the tangible or intangible elements that consumers associate with a brand. It could be a package, an experience, a small, a feeling, a taste, and so on. Brand imagery is visual, auditory, olfactory, or tactile. In other words, it can come from any of the five senses, and can be unique to each consumer.

For example, a consumer might associate a brand with a specific package design like the blue Tiffany's box or the red McDonald's french fries container.

The Pepto-Bismol package design is another great example. For many consumers, that pink bottle undoubtedly conjures specific feelings and memories that tie directly to the brand image and promise. The same could be said of the distinct styling of Harley Davidson motorcycles. Similarly, for many older consumers, the unique design of the Volkswagen Beetle is surely an important piece of brand imagery that reminds them of days gone by.

When I was a child, my family visited Walt Disney World every year for vacation. To this day, I associate a very distinct smell with Walt Disney World. I could be anywhere in the world, but if I smell that scent, I think of Walt Disney World and happy memories. Scent can be a powerful form of brand imagery. Many Starbucks consumers feel a sense of comfort from the distinct smell of a Starbucks cafe.For some consumers, sounds, jingles, and even in-store announcements might be sources of brand imagery. Even sound bites from commercials could be sources of brand imagery. Remember "Where's the beef?" for Wendy's or "Wassup?" for Budweiser?

Just as it's important to develop an emotional connection to your brand, it's equally important to develop brand imagery that connects consumers with your brand. Think about how you can create brand experiences that highlight brand imagery, because as you'll learn in Part 2 of this series, brand imagery is an important component of brand equity. Stay tuned!
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Images: stock.xchng, Flickr

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