A customer does not simply buy a branded product. He tries to recall the brand or product in his mind with something else. That association of the brand with the customer which forms a mental image of the product in his mind is called brand association.
It is often agreed that brand associations are mostly caused by visual impressions. It is the sensory impressions that relate to more than two-thirds of stimuli which reaches the brain and causes thoughts which allows a person to relate a product or a brand to a picture in his mind.
The other one-third factor is taken care by taste, sound, smell etc. what’s the customer associated with the brand he forms an emotional bond with it and any change in the brand may influence the emotions of the customer in either positive or negative way.
Brand associations help the buyers to recall your brand on account of its unique properties. it also differentiates you from the competitors and provides a reason for the customers to purchase the product. Brand associations also help to create positive and impactful feelings towards your brand or a product.
Following are 5 Types of Brand Association
1) Association based on attributes
A descriptive feature of a brand or a product or service which characterizes it is called an association based on attributes. It is this feature or attributes that the company promotes heavily and stands out against the competition. This, in turn, helps the customers in brand recall and helps them to associate with the product in the market which further, in turn, has an upper hand in making the purchase decisions.
The attributes may be the physical composition of the products or external aspects or maybe even appearance or price or packaging combination of one or more of these attributes. Many brands are associated because of the high discount offered by them example IKEA. The attribute can also be the taglines which are helped to promote the brand.
For example, the slogan of M and M which is “It melts in your mouth and not in your hand.” Or “Take Care” of Garnier. The description of the specifics helps customers to associate with the brand with its primary characteristics and creature long-lasting association in their minds. if the brand association is successful the customers remember and recall the specific brand quality even years after this login was popularized in the market.
2) Brand Association based on benefits
As the name describes it is the benefits of the product or the brand that associates customers with it. These benefits can be functional which relate to specific product or service or they can also be experimental in nature which is describing feelings of customer wise using the product or service.
The benefits can also be on a symbolic level, for example, the brand which helps the customers to achieve the social goal. Cosmetic industry heavily relies on association based on benefits. This is use primer easy to entice customers who are more women than men.
While they do not focus on how a woman would look after wearing a product but they also focus on how she would feel after wearing are using that product. When a woman standing in front of an aisle full of cosmetics deciding which cosmetic to go ahead with it is the association with the brand that she remembers and which helps us to make a decision.
While major contribution in that decision making will be of the advertisements and product placements a substantial part of it also depends on the mood of the customer at that particular moment and while the earlier part is in control of the companies, they do not have any influence whatsoever in the latter part.
3) Attitudes based Brand Association
The brand attitudes are determined by customers after the overall evaluation by them. This association is quite abstract and more often than not, can be related to the product attributes including the benefits. these attitudes can also be linked to a specific lifestyle such as fitness oriented, environmentally conscious or a celebrity in sports or entertainment.
The best example would be Nike which is a fitness-based apparel company that uses endorsements from celebrities to establish a brand association for the different product lines in the minds of the customers. they work with athletes in various areas of the sports landscape and help the customers to delete the product with performance.
It is for this reason that the company has created best associations with most of the sports celebrities and top performers in their field. The image that company projects in the mind of the customers are that by using this particular product they have a chance of winning and being best in the choice of their sport, mirroring and replicating the celebrities in the advertisements. The attitudes of the winners and celebrities are passed on to the customers via the products of the brand.
4) Brand Association by interest
Interest is used as an association factor by many companies for their customers. It is the basic parameter that is used and appeals intellect or consciousness of the customers. the primary objective of the company is used to generate interest in the minds of the customer and position the brand accordingly which in turn would mean that the brand is of interest for the customer.
The association can be established by celebrity endorsements or by placing it movies wherein the lead actor uses a particular product out of interest, thus connecting the potential customer and the product. For example, a writer in a movie would drink a Starbucks coffee thereby relating Starbucks with productivity and creativity in the mind of the customer.
5) Brand association by celebrity
This is the most common type of brand association used to promote the products. the image of a celebrity is used to push the products in the minds of the customer and thus it helps to sell your product. Careful selection of celebrities is done to associate with a particular brand.
For example, a beauty brand would always be associated with a female actress of a younger age while a product like a wrinkle lift creams would be associated with a celebrity who is relatively older. Similarly, a sports brand would be associated with sports person or a fitness celebrity or some other model. on the other hand, brands like Rolex would be associated with business tycoons or celebrities who are in the business field for a long time.
Celebrity brand association helps in faster conversion of prospects to customers and materializes faster sales. However, the biggest drawback of celebrity endorsement is if the customer does not like a particular celebrity associated with the brand, he would not buy the product even if the product is of excellent quality