Brand Image and Brand Reputation are terms that nearly sound the same, which is why there is often confusion regarding the two. But still, there is a slight difference between the two. Both of them sound like they are referring to customer opinion about a brand, but no, they are not the same. Brand image is the impression made by a brand on a customer through its visual elements like packaging, brand logo, and through the customer experience that it has provided. It is the public assessment of a brand and how the public judges a brand. Brand reputation, however seems very much like brand image, but it is the reputation of a brand that gets passed through word of mouth from one customer to another when someone questions about a brand.
It is primarily the overall reputation of a brand in terms of public opinion. So, the basic difference between brand image and brand reputation lies in the fact that brand image is mostly related to the visual elements of a brand. It is the immediate impression that a brand makes on a customer through its outward appearance. The immediate opinion or the immediate judgment that a customer passes on a brand is the brand image whereas it takes time to establish brand reputation because it is the overall customer opinion about a brand.
Brand Image vs. Brand Reputation
Brand Image is nothing but the immediate perception that a customer has about a brand. It mainly depends on the visual features of a brand, such as its logo, tagline, packaging, and the kind of advertisements produced by the band. Brand Reputation, on the other hand, is the overall reputation of a brand that a customer has in his mind. It depends on the brand image, such as packaging, logo, or customer experience of the brand and the quality of customer service provided by a brand. Brand image is not a matter of time because the outward appearance of a brand is the main factor in brand image, but it takes time to form a brand reputation. Hence, Brand reputation is more effective than brand image because it takes time to build a strong and positive brand reputation, which lasts for a long time if it is properly maintained. Brand image should also be good because this is the first step when a customer chooses to try out for a new brand. So, first comes brand image, and then comes brand reputation.
Difference Between Brand Image and Brand Reputation in Tabular Form
|Parameters of Comparison||Brand Image||Brand Reputation|
|Meaning||Brand Image is the immediate opinion that a customer forms about a brand by viewing its visual characteristics.||Brand Reputation is the overall reputation of a brand starting from its packaging to the customer experience provided by a brand.|
|Longevity||Brand Image is a short-term impression made by a brand on its consumers which is why it is not very effective.||Brand Reputation is like a long-term investment which makes it more effective.|
|Changes||Brand image can be improved for the better by making changes in its packaging or advertisements and making them visually appealing.||There is no such easy method for improving brand reputation as it takes time.|
|Flexibility||Brand image is flexible and can be changed quickly by improving marketing strategies.||Brand reputation is not something that can be improved quickly by changing marketing strategies. It takes time to change.|
|Base||Brand image is primarily based on how good the marketing strategies are.||Brand reputation mainly depends on customer experience and nothing else.|
What is Brand Image?
Brand Image refers to the impression made by a company upon its customers mainly through its outer visual appearance such as its brand logo, tagline, and packaging, and through its marketing tactics in advertising. It is simply the first impression that a customer gets about a brand by viewing its outward appearance. It surely depends on the outward appearance but also on what kind of experience a customer has received from a brand. The customer makes up his mind that a brand is so and so from his previous experiences with the brand. He realizes what kind of a brand it is and what should he expect from the brand. So, when a new product is launched by the brand, he will get a rough idea about the product and its specifications. It is nothing but an idea that gets created within a customer's mind when he has had several experiences with a brand that he can guess the next strategy of the brand. Brand image varies from person to person and is not the same for everyone. Some can have a good experience with a brand, whereas others don't, which is why everybody has a different brand image about a particular brand. Moreover, brand image is not permanent. It can be easily changed when companies want to improve their brand image by changing advertising strategies, the visual appearance of a brand, and providing a good customer experience.
Moreover, competition is high in today's world. So, a brand should have a strong positive image so that it can stand alone among its competitors. Improvement is needed to survive in the market. Advertisements play a huge role as a marketing strategy in improving the image of a brand. So, whenever a brand needs to improve upon its marketing strategies for a better brand image it usually starts from advertising. A strong positive brand image is very useful because it makes consumers put trust in a brand and only when consumers trust a brand their brand loyalty comes in. They continue purchasing products from the same brand and the brand achieves sales targets that ultimately lead to the expansion of the brand, after all, money is required for more improvement. So, when a brand fulfills a customer's expectations from the brand, then it lives up to the brand image or perception of the public. This results in that happy customer suggesting others about the brand.
There are a variety of strategies that could be used for building up a strong brand image for a particular brand, and some of them are: -
- Identify the Target Audience
- Remain Consistent
- Boosting up Social Media Presence
Identify the Target Audience
The primary and basic step before even starting a business is knowing who one's target audiences are. It is the most significant step because marketing products without knowing the target audience of a brand has no point in marketing. Market research should be conducted to determine the range of people who are the target audience of a particular brand and what are their interests or what they want from a particular brand. Knowing one’s target audience helps in developing the brand message accordingly so that it matches with their values. The brand should then try to serve the current needs of the target audiences to build up a positive brand image among them.
The next important step in establishing a strong brand image is staying consistent with one’s brand message. Consistency is something that customers look for in a brand, so if a brand does achieve a good brand image of itself, it should maintain that image. This helps a lot as a good brand image builds up trust among its consumers, which ultimately leads to brand loyalty among them.
Boosting up Social Media Presence
Social Media has become a part of our everyday life, and it has also become a significant part of the business field. Today, almost every brand and business organization has a social media presence that they use to achieve progress in their business. Social media marketing helps a brand to engage with its target audiences and interact with them so that a brand can address the issues of its customers. Moreover, maintaining consistency on social media platforms is also an important step towards building a strong brand image.
What is Brand Reputation?
Brand Reputation may sound the same as brand image, but it is mainly the overall reputation that a customer has about a brand, considering everything. Moreover, it should be noted that brand reputation, unlike brand image, is a long-term process, and it takes time for a customer to judge a brand by analysing its overall aspects. So, it is not the result of any immediate reaction of a customer, rather it takes a good amount of time to build a strong brand reputation. This is the reason why a brand reputation is more important and more effective than a brand image because it is like a long-term investment that benefits in the long run. Brand reputation provides stability to a brand because a brand that has a good reputation can last for a long time if it maintains that reputation consistently by providing good customer service to customers. This is because brand reputation mainly depends on customer experience more than anything, as customers will not give an overall opinion about a brand based solely on its outward appearance and marketing tactics.
So, brand reputation comes after brand image. First, a brand builds a positive brand image through marketing strategies, then customers prefer to try out a brand. When the brand at this stage provides good customer service to customers, then customers are likely to stick to a brand and recommend it to others. Hence, this is how a good brand reputation is established. There are various steps that a company can follow to build up a positive brand reputation, among which some of them are: -
- Having an Online Presence
- Improving Customer Experience
Having an Online Presence
There are some points where brand image and brand reputation overlap with each other because, after all, they are related to some extent. Building up a strong brand reputation also requires a brand to have an online presence. Online presence, especially social media presence, is likely to bring better opportunities. People may come across a brand from its website or social media profile, so having both is very necessary these days. These online presences help people get an idea about a brand before they make a final decision to purchase from a brand. Social media platforms help a brand to engage with its customers, interact with them, and address their issues. They also help a brand to receive more website traffic and increase the rate of conversions if content marketing on social media is done properly. So, it is important to remain duly active on social media to address the needs of customers timely. Moreover, if a brand wants to put up an image of professionalism and straightforwardness to its customers, it should ensure professional interaction, with no grammatical mistakes. Professionalism and straightforwardness are parts of business etiquette that also help a brand in receiving a good reputation from its customers.
Improving Customer Experience
This is the basic and the most important step that a brand should follow to improve its reputation because it is primarily the customer experience on which a brand's reputation depends. This can be done by actively responding to negative feedback if customers are facing a problem. Responding to feedback makes customers feel heard, and so they may choose to stick to a particular brand if the customer service provided is good. Moreover, feedback helps a brand to improve for the better. A brand learns to grow from the feedback it receives.
Main Difference Between Brand Image and Brand Reputation (In Points)
- The terms brand image and brand reputation are very closely related and also sound the same. But it should be known that even if they sound the same, they are slightly different from each other. The brand image refers to a customer's immediate judgment of a brand or what he thinks about a brand by viewing its outward visual characteristics like brand identity which includes logo, tagline, packaging, and its marketing strategies in advertising. It is like the first impression that a brand makes on a customer. The first impression of anything is primarily judged by looking at the object’s appearance, and so here also it is the same. But the overall idea that a customer forms about a brand, starting from its logo to the customer services provided by a brand, stands for brand reputation. It is what customers think about a brand from an overall perspective considering everything. It can be said as the long-term investment of a brand that stays for a long time if the brand maintains consistency.
- Brand reputation is much more effective than brand image because it stays for a long time. If a brand can maintain a good brand reputation among its customers, then it is a long-term benefit for the brand, whereas brand image stays for only a short time. It is just the first impression that a brand makes on a customer, but the first impression is not enough to sustain a brand in this highly competitive market if a brand does not provide good customer service. The first impression is indeed the last, but for that to remain true, the brand reputation should also be good. Moreover, a good brand image, which means a good first impression, is also needed for a brand to attract customers, after which brand reputation comes because if people don't know a brand, then they will also not be able to judge it. So brand reputation comes after brand image, even if it is most effective between the two.
Hence, Brand image and brand reputation are closely related concepts with little difference. Brand Image is the immediate conception of a customer regarding a brand which lasts for a short time and is not effective in the long run but brand reputation is something that comprises an overall judgment of a brand by a customer in the sense of what he thinks about a brand if all the aspects of the brand are considered or will he recommend the brand to anyone else. So, if a brand can build a strong brand reputation, then it will highly benefit the brand in the long run.