A Visual Way to Explore Brand Imagery

Rory Morgan, Research International, descibes the development and use of BrandSight Gallery, a collection of visual images validated for international research.

A commonplace observation in current literature is that branding as a process of product differentiation is increasingly focusing on non-tangible rather than tangible factors – in other words, consumers perceive fewer and fewer differences between products in terms of physical specification and functionality. It has been observed that the so-called ‘softer’ side of branding – the image, the personality and the quality of the relationship between brand and consumer – has frequently become the cutting edge of brand differentiation.

In fact, with our international experience, we can go further and say that this is a common pattern across many cat egories in developed economies worldwide. Of course, this is not to say that functionality is unimportant to consumers – often the reverse is true – but excellent product specification and performance characteristics have now effectively become the price of entry in many categories: necessary but not always sufficient. In the consumer’s mind, the tie-breaker can lie in the emotional affinity that the brand has forged.