Meaning of Brand Association
Brand association refers to a process of associating a brand with image or lifestyle which create long-lasting impressions in customer’s mind. It is one where brand is co-related with certain concepts that results in making the brand stand out in market. These concepts enable customers in recalling a brand or product as well in creating a mental image in their mind. Brands are recalled by people via a unique set of experiences, attributes, images, object, personality etc. They can be tangible or intangible which may be either directly linked, indirectly linked or not all related to the offerings of brand. It is something which enables people in easily identifying and remembering the brand for a long term.
Association of brand is done with prime motive of linking a brand with positive attributes by consumers. Brand association is a very effective tool which facilitates business in earning recognition, building value and making customers aware of its quality state. It possess power to drive the purchase decisions and can even differentiate a brand from rest of the competitors in market. Brand associations creates a personal and mental connection in-between brands and their potential prospects. It reflects the manner in which brand is perceived by peoples in market.
Types of Brand Association
Various types of brand association are as discussed in points given below: –
Attribution based brand association: Association based on attributes is one which rely upon the descriptive features of a product or brand. The features or attributes are physical elements and external aspects of product such as pricing, quality, appearance and packaging. All these are heavily promoted by company in market which helps them to stand out in competition. Customers are easily able to recall brand and associate themselves with its products through these attributes. All this eventually leads to have an upper hand by target market in making purchase decisions. In addition to this, brands by attribution-based association are able to get headstart in industry and also in specific market niche.
Attitude based brand association: This type of association is based upon the brand attitudes which is determined after doing an overall evaluation of brand by consumers. It is quite abstract and can be connected with specific lifestyle like environmental consciousness, fitness oriented etc. For example, Nike a fitness-based apparel company mostly uses celebrities from sports and fitness industry for endorsing their product in order to create brand association. Brands by doing so tries to project an image in people’s mind that by choosing its product they have better chance of winning as well as can replicate the celebrity who is endorsing the product.
Interest based brand association: Interest based association factor is used by many companies for luring customers towards their range of products. The basic interest serves as the major parameter which enables in appealing the consciousness and intellect of customers. Company’s initially develops interest in mind of customers and then accordingly position their products such that they become the way for catering their interest. These types of association are established via product endorsing done by celebrity or introducing it in movies where product is used by lead actor thereby linking potential customers with product.
Benefit based brand association: It is one where customers take into consideration the benefits of product or brand for associating themselves with it. Such benefits are functional in nature that can be related to a particular product or service. They describe the customer-wise feelings who are using the product as are of experimental nature.
The symbolic level can also form the basis of benefits where brand is assisting customers in reaching the social goals. The association based on benefits are heavily used by the cosmetic industries. Enticing of women customers is easier for brand using this association as compared to men.
Celebrity based brand association: Brand association by celebrity is one of the common type of association used by companies for promoting their products. Brand uses celebrity’s image for pushing the product in mind of customers. Celebrities are hired for promoting products and this way customers begin to associate celebrities with the brand.
This type of endorsement leaves an effective imprint on customers but brands need to wisely select a celebrity for carrying out promotional campaign. This type of association leads to faster conversion of prospects into customers thereby raising sales volume. However, major drawback of it is that if a particular celebrity is unliked by customer then he will not purchase the product even if it is of excellent quality.
Importance of Brand Association
Every brand wants to associate its products with something that is positive such that customer sees brand positively. Brand association plays a major role in building the identity of brand in people’s mind. Importance of brand association is well-explained as given below: –
- It enables brand in differentiating itself from other competitors in market.
- It assures customers of the quality of products offered by brand.
- Customers are easily able to recall a particular brand via its attributes and quality level.
- Brands find it easy in launching of new products once they are able to establish their brand association.
- It defines the reasons to target market for why they should buy your product.
- Brand association projects a positive image of brand and its products in people’s mind which motivates them to buy products.
Manner of formation of Brand Association
Every interaction of brand with its customers enables it in building up the brand association. It may result from numerous manners which are like: –
- Contacts of customer with brand and its employees.
- Price structure followed by the brand.
- Marketing efforts such as advertisements, word of mouth publicity, public relations etc.
- Quality level of brand’s product.
- Association of celebrity, influencer or big entity.
- Strategies used by competitors.
- Class/category of products to which a brand belongs.
- Referrals from friends, family and other acquaintances.
- Point of purchase displays etc.
Examples of Brand Association
Certain examples for defining the concept of brand association are given below: –
Brand Association of Apple company: Whenever customer thinks of Apple then they associate it with MacBook, iPhone, iPad, Electronics, expensive, luxury, loyalty, premiumness, overpriced, Steve jobs, Tim cook and Grey.
Brand Association of Nike company: Customers recall the Nike brand by associating it with: Sport, Athlete, Performance, Energy, Motivation, Jordan, sportsperson, premium sports brand, sweat, sneakers, Just do it and Swoosh.
Brand Association of BMW company. Customers associate the BMW brand with Luxury, superior engineering, speed, fun driving, safety, better performance, and premiums.
Brand Association of LUX company: Lux brand is associated by customers with Beauty, Nature, Soft skin, More glow, good fragrance, freshness, economical, deep cleaning, etc.
Brand Association of SONY company: Sony brand is associated with people with a Premium look, High bass, Electronics, excellent quality, costly, durable, better display, good service, etc.