Brand association is simply how consumers perceive a brand, what comes to mind whenever they come across a brand. It is something that makes a customer recognise a particular brand.
For entrepreneurs and founders, their role is to develop and sustain a brand that people can link with positive attributes. Brand association helps in creating value and earning recognition.
It’s worthy to note that associations are not necessarily reasons to buy a product but provide acquaintance and differentiation that’s unique to a certain brand.
In order to develop positive brand associations, the offerings of a brand must be durable, marketable and desirable. The customers must believe that the brand possess the features and attributes satisfying their needs. This will lead to customers having a positive impression about the brand. Entrepreneurs should always aim for positive brand association so as to gain the trust of customers, and obstruct competitor’s entry into the market.
In case you’re still not sure about the meaning of brand association, ask yourself what comes to mind when you hear of brands like Apple, Mercedes Benz, Golden morn, Nike, and Clase Azul tequila. Luxury, overpriced and technological advancement were probably the attributes that crossed your mind for the brands Apple and Benz. The famous Mexican Azul tequila could be linked to fun times, and wealth. Golden morn is associated with mostly children and breakfast while Nike is known for sports, fashion and motivation. This is what brand association is all about.
That being said, brand associations are vital to your brand in many ways including the following:
1. Makes your brand recognizable
This is due to the unique qualities and satisfaction that consumers get from brand products or services. It differentiates a brand from its competitors.
Also, to foster familiarity brand association provides customers with concepts, and visuals, that can help facilitate brand recall. For instance, the use of color can be an important tool for brands that want to create a memorable association especially through their logos. In Nigeria, when people think of MTN, Airtel and Glo, a mental image of yellow, red and green logos is likely to come to mind.
2. Makes for brand identity
When we think of a brand like Orijin, we think of ideas like “culture”. This association helps form the brand’s identity in our minds. Therefore, Orijin goes from being a unique-tasting alcoholic drink to something that provides a more emotive feeling. Building brand association gives life to a brand and even enables it to engage in activities, brand partnerships, and projects that go entirely beyond the product category.
3. Makes for positive feelings about your brand
Connecting your brand with a concept that gives people something to aspire to, be inspired by, or identify with can contribute to how positively your brand is viewed.
Consider Nike, a brand that is not only identified with sports but also with elements like drive and determination. Purchasing a pair of Nike sneakers is like tapping into something deeper and meaningful.
4. Makes room for loyalty and brand legacy
A brand that works hard in developing a powerful and positive identity will eventually enjoy an extremely loyal customer base.
This way, a brand can charge a premium price compared to competitors. When people are willing to pay more for a product simply because it’s part of your brand, you know you’ve done your homework in building positive brand associations.
How To Track Your Brand Association
If you’re wondering how to figure out whether or not your target audience associates your brand with the ideals you’ve worked hard to foster?
The following will help you track and measure brand association:
Find out the words, and concepts people associate with your brand by conducting surveys with the general public or a few people who fall under your target audience category (focus group discussions).
By receiving consumers’ feedback, you can gain insights into how your brand is perceived and the traits associated with your brand.
Search Engine Data
When people search for brands on Google, they normally use a combination of terms. Analyzing these combinations, or keyword searches will bring you closer to understanding the mental linkages that consumers are frequently making between brands and various topics or ideas.
To access this insight, type your brand name into Google Trends to see related queries and whether consumers are making the connections that you want them to make. This way, you can also run searches on your competitors to assess how their brand associations compare to yours.
Developing Brand Associations
Brand associations develop from a brand’s interactions with its customers. How a brand markets its products to consumers, its pricing strategy, product quality, celebrity connection, and advertising all contribute to how consumers perceive a brand.
Generally, positive brand associations develop when a brand fulfils its promise to the customers while negative brand associations results when a brand falls short of customer expectations.
Now, what attributes do you think your consumers have attached to your brand?