How do customers choose which brands to purchase, be loyal to, or respect? Customers become savvier all the time, so it will largely be based on what’s worked for them in the past or on other customers’ reviews. But their perceptions of the brand itself as a recipient of their hard-earned money is a not-insignificant component of the choice. So what can a corporate entity do to positively affect consumers’ perceptions of its brand? There are two main approaches used to manage a corporate brand in this manner.
Corporate Image Campaigns
Corporate Image Campaigns help the brand create the desired brand associations in consumers’ minds. These campaigns build awareness of the brand in the specific context that the company wants to be seen in. This context is often one of corporate credibility. Geico, for example, has a long-standing corporate image campaign featuring the now-iconic Geico gecko. His imbued personality helps portray the brand as embodying friendliness and helpfulness. Along with other elements of their corporate image campaigns, they achieve a public perception of expertise and trustworthiness.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Another crucial component of building positive brand associations in consumers’ minds is publicly committing to a high level of social responsibility in one area or another. In an article by the Digital Marketing Institute, some of the most common examples are listed. Among them are; reducing carbon footprints, charitable giving, and volunteering in the community. They also point out a growing trend, which is that for the younger generations of consumers, namely millennials and Gen Z, corporate social responsibility is more important than for previous generations.
Assuming this trend continues, corporate social responsibility may grow beyond being one viable strategy for a positive brand image; it may become necessary for any brand to thrive to its fullest potential. One exemplary example of corporate social responsibility is Ben & Jerry’s. Per the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, “the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation is known for working to advance social and environmental justice and encouraging safe and sustainable food systems.” This type of behavior led them to win the NCRP’s 2014 Award for Corporate Foundation.
People want to be linked to brands that resonate with them at a level beyond their usefulness. It seems to be human nature to want to identify with something bigger than ourselves. Consumers will do that in many ways, but one of them is certainly in choosing where to spend their money. Keep that in mind when determining what you want your brand to be known for and how you will achieve it.