According to Sengupta
Brand image as the totality of the impression about the brand. This according to him includes its physical, functional and psychological aspects of the brand.
According to Kotler
Brand image is the set of beliefs held about a particular brand.
According to Aaker
Brand image is a set of associations, usually organized in some meaningful way.
Brand Image Dimensions
A brand in a customer’s mind is a complex network of associations. Biel proposes that these associations can be of two types: hard and soft.
1. Hard Associations
Hard associations refer to the perception of tangible/functional attributes of a brand. For instance, hard associations in case of a car brand may revolve around speed, price, fuel economy per litre of petrol and colour.
2. Soft Associations
The soft associations arc more emotional. A car brand can be visualized as exciting, vibrant and youthful. For instance, Maruti is attempting associate its ‘Alco’ cars with youthfulness, excitement, attractiveness. The soft association can be negative. For instance, the public air carrier – Indian Airlines – is associated with inefficiency, dull, old, unchanging and cold.
Brand image has three components: image of provider, image of user and image of the product.
A brand’s image is a composite concept. It carries with it other sub images. The three contributing sub images in a brand are: the image of product or service provider (corporate image); the image of the user and the image of the product or service.
1. Image of the Company
Every brand carries an invisible shadow of its manufacturer. Like brands, companies also live in customers’ minds as a network of associations. For instance, what does the name ‘DCM’ spell in mind? Nothing much would get connected with OCM. It suggests DCM to be a weak node in memory. At the same time, many terms like: old, cloth, conventional, unchanging, vegetable oils, dull , unexciting, etc., might surface. Contrast it with a company like WIPRO. The associations surrounding WIPRO node may be leader, technology savvy, modern, innovations, cash rich, diversified, growth, An inappropriate corporate image may aa as a burden on an otherwise good produce. le is capable of providing both strength and weakness co a brand. It is for this reason that good companies always keep crack of their image in the public eye. As and when the need arises, they perform a marketing communication exercise to keep it relevant so that i t provides a li ft co the company’s brands rather than becoming a burden on them .
2. Image of the User
What comes to mind when one thinks of Pepsi? It dearly spells a profile of the user. The brand has an unambiguous definition of its users. The brand user profile may contain signals about a user’s sex, age, occupation , life style, activities, mindset, ere. The user image in case of ‘Pepsi’ is embodied in its slogan ‘choice of the new generation’ or ‘Generation Next’. Similarly, the user image of P&G brand ‘Whisper’ is clearly spelt out. The brand connects with young, educated, urban, upwardly mobile and confident users.
3. Product Image
A brand’s image is also determined by the image of the product it carries. All products have dimensions like functionality and emotionality, technology intensiveness, old and young, inherent to them. For instance, products like perfumes, chocolates, champagne, whiskey, high end clothing tend to be associated with emotions and a lot of symbolism. On the other hand, products like house cleaners, headache remedies, dishwashing liquids and domestic insecticides tend to be driven by functionality and reason. The brand image, therefore, has to take shape within the boundaries of structural limits imposed by the products image.