A person responds differently to company and brand images. Identity comprises the ways that a company aims to identify or position itself or its product, whereas image is the way the public perceives the company or its products. Image is affected by many factors beyond the company’s control.
For example, Nike mainstream popularity turns off 12-to-24-years-olds, who prefers Airwalk and other alternative brands that convey more extreme sports image. Hence Image differentiation is important for a company or product. An effective image establishes the product’s character and value proposition, it conveys this character in a distinctive way and it delivers emotional power beyond a mental image. For image differentiation to work, it must be conveyed through every available communication vehicle and brand contact, including logos, media and special events.
Some Important Points wrt to Image differentiation are:
1.Great companies are significantly better, not just a little better
2.”Differentiate products, not devices”
3.The most dangerous and quickest evaporating differentiation is lower price unsupported by lower costs
4.High tech buying decisions are based on cold hard logic and rational analysis – except where information overloaded buyers are concerned
5.Real product differentials plus good promotion is a powerful influence
6.Complexities make it easier for products to be different, but harder for customers to know the differences
7. Complexity plus standardization tends to make high tech products seem similar to most buyers
8.It takes time to learn the subtle distinctions between complex products, sometime on minor technical details And, if the differences don’t exist in the customer’s mind, they do not exist
9.The “differences must make a difference”
Companies can gain a strong competitive advantage through having better-trained people. Singapore Airlines enjoys an excellent reputation in large part because of its fight attendants. The McDonald’s people are courteous, the IBM people are professional and the Disney people are upbeat. The sales forces of such companies as General Electric, Cisco, Frito-Lay, and Northwestern Mutual life enjoy an excellent reputation. Well- trained personnel exhibit six characteristics: competence, courtesy, credibility, reliability, responsiveness and communication.