All Brands Have Meaning
Whether carefully and strategically considered or by default, all brands hold associated meanings in the market place. Well considered brands establish a competitive brand proposition (their brand strategy) with layers of meaning to both differentiate themselves from their competitors and to connect with their audience. These brand reinforce their meaning through all of their actions or brand touch points. As a brand agency we help brands to define their meaning and create the brand design for all their communications in order to create a consistent association with these layers of meaning in the minds of their customers.
A Snapshot of Brand Association
The clever people at Brand Tags have been busy collecting a comprehensive list of more than 1.7 million associations that people have with brands. The result is a unique opportunity for those brands to compare the meaning and messages of their brand communication strategy with the brand associations of a cross section of the market.
A Comparison of Brand Association
As expected, both car brands have a high level of association with German-made, expensive, luxury and quality. When comparing either of these brands with cars manufactured in Japan, the US or Korea, these brand attributes would be seen as an advantage. However, when comparing these two brands to each other, German-made, expensive, luxury and quality as brand attributes are no more than table-stakes – they merely represent what is expected. The real differentiation comes with the other strong attributes.
The Audi Brand
Audi’s investment in aligning their brand with the values of the Olympic games continues to pay-off. Through their sponsorship of the 2010 US Alpine Olympic Team and smart campaign placements deliver a remarkably high level of association with this pinnacle of sporting events. The shared symbol of interconnecting rings provides a powerful visual link that reinforces the brand relationship. As a brand it is closely associated with an image of ‘cool, nice and classy.’ The appearance of individual Audi models in the list of top brand associations including the Quatro, tt and A4 suggests the brand has successfully built differentiated market propositions for the brands in its product portfolio. Further, the description of the ‘Audi rings’ reflects a high level of awareness and association of the visual properties in Audi’s brand identity.
The BMW Brand
BMW shares further brand associations with Audi including ‘fast, nice, class & cool.’ The concern for BMW is the combination of other associations that play out distinctly in the list creating a less than aspirational image of ‘rich, yuppie, asshole snob.’ Whilst no brand should wish to be all things to all people, Automotive brands are very conscious of the role cars play in the image their customers project of themselves to the market. I would imagine these negative brand associations would be a cause for concern for BMW. Interestingly, BMW the brand is associated with being ‘overpriced’ where the Audi brand is not. With no substantial brand association for their brand identity or range of models there is plenty of scope for BMW to improve their brands image and its associations.
If you’d like some help to define the meaning for your brand and create your communications in order to create a consistent association with these layers of meaning in the minds of their customers, why not drop us a line?