brand imageThere are many companies that will create a brand image for you. They’ll develop a logo, a slogan, and perhaps packaging for your product or service. They might even obtain third-party endorsements. All of these they develop before the launch, but a successful brand image is based on reputation.

Critical Areas to Build Brand Image

Here are a few critical areas requiring attention before and after the launch to build a successful brand image:

1. Product and Package Appearance

Brand image is all about the sensations associated with the brand – what people see and hear and experience, and their emotional response to the brand. Everything about the packaging should communicate the attributes of what you want the brand image to be. Is it a sense of security, speed, durability, romance, or fun? Likewise, the product itself has to look like what it’s going to do. Ideally, you must be able to convey the chief attributes of the brand through the image of its brand.

2. Brand and Product Portrayal

Its setting in posters, on the label, in ads and in the media, all need to be in sync with the product’s attributes. If it’s a sports car, it wants to be on the open road hugging the curves.

3. Message Delivery

How will people discover the brand image you are trying to convey? It may be through TV, showroom, retail shelf, clothing rack, word of mouth, or online. The image of your brand may be different depending on the delivery system.

4. Perception

Regardless of what you attempted to convey about your brand image, the general public will develop some of its own ideas. Avis launched an ad campaign years ago that resonated beautifully with the general public. It used the slogan, “We’re number two. We try harderto build the image in the minds of the general public that Avis employees had good reasons to try harder, and that whatever company was #1 was resting on its laurels.

5. Ethos

In these days of transparency, the image of your brand reflects whatever your company stands for. Does your company have an image of making life better? Of saving or hurting the planet? Many companies go to great pains to project a brand image of being ethical and responsible, but negative press about ways in which the products are produced weaken it. And then lots of work has to be done to repair the brand image. BP, for example, has redone its logo to strengthen the image of its brand.

You can pay big bucks to create a logo, a slogan, and maybe even packaging as part of your brand image before you launch. But, in my experience, the heavy lifting on brand image occurs after the brand is launched, and continues as long as it remains in the marketplace.

Of course, there’s much more that could be said on this subject. What’s been your experience? Michael Houlihan, co-founder of Barefoot Wine, the largest selling wine brand in the nation, invites you to join the discussion on Brand Image by offering your comments, thoughts, and opinions below.




Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) & Shelf Smarts courses to help consumer product brand builders achieve success. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular business site at

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact