In developing your brand and marketing strategy, it is vital to have a clear picture of what your brand image is.

This is not, as you may first imagine, just what your brand looks like. It is what your brand stands for in the minds of your target customers.

How to find out what your brand image is

There really is just one way to determine what your brand image is and that is to ask your customers.

Start with a focus group. If you don’t have the budget for that, just pick a few friendly fans of your brand and go for a coffee or a beer with them. Pick their brains about what they really think of your brand.

What happened in the lead up to them choosing your brand – what was the problem they wanted to solve? The job they wanted your brand to do? Sometimes you might be surprised at the answers.

Market Research

Once you have a feel for what your brand loyalists think, create a survey and put it to a more general audience of users and non-users. What you’re looking for in the questions you ask are the associations they make in their minds with your brand.

You can use words or phrases that have come out during your loyalist interviews. Check each to see how strongly the survey respondents agree with them. Then as which words come to mind when this audience thinks of your brand.

It’s useful to find out how much people associate those words or phrases with your competitor brands too – this tells you how useful they are going to be for you to focus on.

Choose

Even if you get a wide range of responses, you need to whittle them down to 3 or 4 maximum words or phrases that crop up most often.

This is your brand image. It may not suit what you were trying to communicate. This may mean that you need to adjust your positioning to reflect what your brand can deliver or that you need to change your marketing to get the right ideas across.