The essence of a brand is determined by interactive processes between consumer and brand.
In other words: brand images form and change in consumers' minds.
Most image research reflects a technocratic understanding of research and follows the premise that brands can be comprehended and treated as inanimate objects, rather like a product.
For this reason, the Impulse approach Advanced Image Monitoring is based on the recognition that brands in post-industrial / post-modern markets must be understood as living beings that essentially only emerge on the basis of interactive processes between brand and market and are constantly changing depending on the make-up of these processes.
Similar to living organisms, brands are influenced by their environment and are thus more than the sum of individual technical, economic, and stylistic qualities.
Hence we interpret brand management in terms of a dynamic, forward-looking process.
Impulse Advanced Image Monitoring
- takes into account all dimensions relevant to the overall brand experience (i.e. subjective views and ideas, the 'perceptual encounter') and in addition draws attention to new image-impacting issues (catchphrase: early warning system)
- points out and explains any changes in the brand image
- allows structural longitudinal comparisons to be drawn when employed continuously
- offers a conclusive explanatory correlation between qualitative and quantitative surveys
- extends the spectrum of results to include hitherto unrecorded dimensions
- analyses the strength of your brand and its positioning
- provides concrete recommendations for action with regard to future brand management and brand positioning
Six areas of experience have proved suitable in capturing what customers feel about the brand together with the interactions between brand and consumer:
Which physical manifestations are typical of how people experience the brand?
Which (inner) images and statements about the brand are respondents aware of (aided / unaided), and how are they assessed?
Which traits and attributes do people ascribe to the brand (incl. individual history)?
Which values and credos do people associate with the brand (incl. charisma and myth of the brand)?
INTERACTION WITH OUTSIDE WORLD
What types of customer relationship do people associate with the brand (e.g. friendly, partnership-based versus distant, elitist, top-down, etc.)?
CUSTOMER'S IMAGE OF OTHERS
What types of user are relevant to the way the brand is experienced?
What reasons for purchase are they assumed to have?
What (personal) benefits do actual customers derive from the possession of a product or a specific brand (cognitive and affective benefits)?
In all these areas of experience, strong brands tend to be highly developed and clearly distinguishable from competitors.
The reverse is true of weak brands:
they show deficits in at least one area of experience which emanate to the others, exerting an adverse influence on them.
It seems here that weak brands are often underdeveloped with regard to the 'Culture' area of experience. This is typically the case with brands that offer 'good' products, but whose communication fails to convey any clearly defined or substantial values.
With the help of Advanced Image Monitoring, it is possible to reveal unconscious needs and analyse them in terms of how they are perceived by the target group.
The findings from Advanced Image Monitoring (e.g. semantic changes in terms used) can and should be quantified in order to be able to make quantitative statements and recommendations on
- brand strength
- brand positioning and
- brand management
based on qualitative-psychological findings.