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How brand association shapes consumer behavior

The Contentstack TeamJul 05, 20246 min read

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Discover how brand association can shape your consumer’s behavior by creating a strong emotional connection. For those who want to strengthen their brand association, it’s important to learn strategies like founder ties, celebrity endorsements and brand storytelling as they build trust and loyalty. To learn more, schedule a demo today. 

Highlights

You’ll learn how to create powerful brand associations that resonate with your audience and drive business success:

  • Definition: Brand association is consumers' connection with your brand's attributes, values and experiences
  • Importance: Positive associations enhance brand recognition, loyalty and equity, influencing consumer behavior
  • Types:
    • Founder-based
    • Celebrity-based
    • Character-based
    • Customer-based
    • Tagline-based
    • Activity-based
    • Luxury-based
    • Value-based

Keep reading to learn more!


Ask any coffee lover about their go-to brand, and you might get the answer: “Starbucks.” While your product matters, the most memorable brands, like Telsa, Dove, Starbucks and many others, foster memorable connections with their audience. Whether it’s a mere tagline, a brand jingle, an emotional connection, a seamless experience or a shared value, these brands know how to nail consumer experience. 

For this to happen, you must create a positive brand association to encourage your consumers to buy.

 Read ahead to understand how brand association psychologically influences your customers’ behavior. 

What is a brand association?

A brand association is a mental and psychological connection between your consumers and your brand’s attributes, values, experiences, concepts and experiences. It’s a thought in your consumer’s minds when they think about your brand or company. Positive emotional associations connected to a brand define a positive brand association. To create strong consumer relationships, you need to entrench positive traits in your consumer’s mind. 

For example, when you think of smartphones, Apple comes to mind. Streaming services? Netflix. Fast Food restaurants? McDonald’s. Fashionable? ZARA. 

These associations influence consumer behavior, brand loyalty and brand integrity.

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Importance of brand association

Positive brand association connects people to your company or brand. Negative brand associations dilute your brand’s reputation, lowering sales and business growth. Some reasons why brand association is important are:

Enhanced brand recognition

People tend to remember and recognize brands that evoke positive feelings or attributes. For instance, Apple is linked with innovation and quality, making it a favorite among tech enthusiasts.

Increased customer loyalty

Positive brand associations build trust and reliability, which keeps your consumers returning. Take Amazon, for example; its reputation for convenience and fast delivery has earned it a loyal consumer base.

Higher brand equity

Higher brand equity means you can charge a premium price for your products. For instance, Rolex and its products have that glamorous feel and can sell products at much higher prices than others.

Influences the buying decisions

Brand associations can influence consumers' buying choices by aligning with their values, desires or needs. Nike, emphasizing athleticism and high performance, attracts consumers looking for quality sportswear.

Elements of brand association

Brand attributes

These defining features focus on quality, innovation or customer service. For instance, Apple’s innovation and top-tier design are core attributes that define its brand identity.

Brand personality

Brand personality is the specific values, traits, and qualities that show how you present your brand to your audience. For example, JEEP is a tough car brand.

Brand experiences

Personal interactions and experiences with a brand shape your consumer’s associations. Starbucks’ commitment to creating a consistent, inviting coffeehouse atmosphere has helped it cultivate a distinct and favorable brand image.

Brand values

Brand values are foundational principles for which your brand strives. These values influence the messages your company sends and your company’s culture and activities. For example, Patagonia advocates sustainable solutions to draw in people with the same passion.

Brand benefits

The advantages or positive outcomes consumers associate with a brand's products or services can be functional, emotional or societal. For example, the peace of mind and safety linked to Volvo vehicles drive their brand perception.

Brand symbols 

Brand symbols are visual elements that represent your brand, such as logos, slogans or mascots. For example, Nike's swoosh and the slogan "Just Do It" show athleticism.

How does Contenstack help in brand association?

Contentstack strengthens your brand association through its unified platform for managing content consistently across various channels. With Contentstack, you can personalize content delivery and create relevant and engaging user experiences. Its scalability, integration capabilities and detailed analytics help you maintain a cohesive image, build trust and foster deeper connections with your audience.

Case study: How did Contentstack improve Cartier’s brand integrity?

Cartier adopted a headless content management system (CMS) using Contentstack to streamline content reuse, maintain brand consistency and embrace innovative omnichannel technologies. This approach allowed Cartier to reduce website development time from months to days, ensuring brand integrity across multiple digital platforms. Key benefits included faster deployment of new sites, improved digital experience quality and greater return on content investment.

After using Contentstack, Anastasia Goglova, International Digital Lead at Cartier, said:

“The websites that are such a critical part of our digital portfolio are now more aligned and more performant. As a result, the customer digital experience of Cartier improves, reflecting our commitment to becoming a reference for luxury in all aspects.”

Read the full case study here.

Types of brand association

Founder-based association

Association with a brand’s founder creates a positive image and a personal connection with your consumers. 

Example: Apple’s association with Steve Jobs evokes emotions and builds trust. 

Celebrity-based association

Celebrities and brands are two sides of the same coin called marketing. Consumers are likely to buy your products when their favorite celebrities promote them.

Character-based association

Fictional characters or mascots can create memorable and engaging brand associations.

Example: The Geico gecko and the Michelin Man 

Customer-based association

Using customer reviews can build trust. Positive customer experiences shared on social media and review platforms can improve your brand credibility.

Tagline-based association

A simple and memorable tagline shows your brand's identity and beliefs to consumers.

Example: Nike's "Just Do It" tagline

Activity-based association

Associating your brand with specific activities or events increases its relevance and appeal. 

Example: Red Bull’s association with sports shows energy, action and excitement.

Luxury-based association

Positioning your brand as luxury or premium can attract consumers who want exclusive, high-quality products.

Example: Rolex and ZARA

Value-based association

Brands that deliver value and uphold strong ethics create positive associations with consumers. Many consumers like brands that align with their values and principles.

Strategies for building brand association

Building trust and credibility

Building trust with your audience starts with a commitment to quality. You build trust only when you ensure excellence in what you offer, from the thoughtful design of your products to the professional consumer care in your after-sales service. 

With 81% of consumers needing to trust a brand before buying, build trust by showing your brand's expertise and authority within your field and industry. Your content showcases your knowledge:

  • Insightful blogs that answer pressing questions,
  • Informative webinars for showing your industry expertise
  • In-depth white papers that tackle industry challenges.

Associating with other brands

Collaborating with other brands that share similar values introduces you to new audiences and ensures positive associations. When you work with another brand on products or services, you create a stronger image for both brands. Partnerships like this increase your brand equity and improve your reputation.

Customer touchpoints

Think about how you want to interact with your potential customers. You may want to connect with them on social media, email, chat, website or review sites. How you nurture your customers' digital and offline touchpoints decides how they view and perceive your brand.

Brand storytelling

Brand storytelling is another key factor in showcasing your brand's values, mission and products. When your stories focus on personal experiences, you connect with your audience. This approach makes your brand stand out, helping you stay close to your consumers' hearts.

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What is a brand association map?

Like a pyramid, a brand association map visually represents all associations around your brand. They help you understand how consumers perceive your brand in your market. A brand association map shows how people perceive your brand because it connects emotions, positive traits, experiences and beliefs. By mapping these connections, you can see what makes your brand strong and what needs work.

To create a map, you must collect consumer feedback, analyze market trends and identify direct and indirect associations.

FAQs

What is a brand association? Give an example. 

The brand association includes the attributes, qualities and experiences customers associate with a particular brand. These associations happen because of consistent exposure to the brand’s messaging, products and interactions. For instance, when people think of Apple, they associate it with innovative technology and sleek design.

What are core brand associations?

Core brand associations are the primary attributes, benefits and values that define a brand. They are central to the brand's identity and impact consumer perception.

What are the 8 categories of brand associations?

The 8 categories of brand associations include

  • Founder-based
  • Celebrity-based
  • Character-based
  • Customer-based
  • Tagline-based
  • Activity-based
  • Luxury-based
  • Value-based

Learn more

A brand’s value depends much more on its products than its consumers. The values you offer and the vision you share play a vital role in building great brand associations. Building a long-lasting and positive association is a never-ending process as your company grows and evolves. 

But it cann make or break your brand. Talk to us to learn how we can help you maintain positive associations throughout. 

About Contentstack

The Contentstack team comprises highly skilled professionals specializing in product marketing, customer acquisition and retention, and digital marketing strategy. With extensive experience holding senior positions in notable technology companies across various sectors, they bring diverse backgrounds and deep industry knowledge to deliver impactful solutions.  

Contentstack stands out in the composable DXP and Headless CMS markets with an impressive track record of 87 G2 user awards, 6 analyst recognitions, and 3 industry accolades, showcasing its robust market presence and user satisfaction.

Check out our case studies to see why industry-leading companies trust Contentstack.

Experience the power of Contentstack's award-winning platform by scheduling a demo, starting a free trial, or joining a small group demo today.

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