Every so often the blogosphere comes up with a good idea. Once in a blue moon it's a really good idea.
Brand image has always been a tricky beast to pin down, but most people would define it as something like the sum of all the attitudes and associations that consumers hold about a particular brand. Some different ways of putting this:
It has always seemed to me that your brand is formed primarily, not by what your company says about itself, but what the company does. Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon.com
Consumers build an image [of a brand] as birds build nests. From the scraps and straws they chance upon. Jeremy Bullmore
A brand is a living entity—and it is enriched or undermined cumulatively over time, the product of a thousand small gestures. Michael Eisner
We have the power to shape brands to be what we want… Wally Olins
A brand image is shaped by the products and services themselves, by the consumption environment, by marketing communications and, perhaps most importantly, by the behaviour of the organisation and its employees.
So how do you measure something so vast and intangible? One technique is to ask people what associations they have for a particular brand, something along the lines of "what 3 words come to mind", and over a sample of hundreds some interesting patterns will emerge.
Brand tags is a website that does exactly the same thing, across a whole host of brands, and represents the results in the form of a "tag cloud" similar to the one to the right of this blog. A fascinating concept, and there are some revealing results. You can take part in the tagging or simply browse through the brands.
Here's a snippet of the cloud for a famous sports shoe brand:
Can you guess who it is? If not peek at the image title/alt tag, or listen to more hip hop!