As in the previous three posts, I’m returning to the ideas of David Ogilvy, whose Ogilvy on Advertising was written in 1983 and is still relevant.

This post’s topic is brand image, which seems easy enough to define but like all seemingly simple ideas may be harder to put into action than you’d think.

According to Mr. Ogilvy, “Image means personality…The personality of a product is an amalgam of many things ‒ its name, its packaging, its price, the style of its advertising, and above all, the nature of the product itself.”

To contribute to your brand image, your advertising should consistently project the same image. Think of the companies that have done a terrific job—Apple, Jack Daniels, Marlboro with its iconic cowboy, and Nike.

Ultimately, what sells a product is its brand image. Image is what people partake of rather than facts. As Mr. Ogilvy puts it, “I once tried using rational facts to argue the consumer into choosing a brand of whiskey. It didn’t work. You don’t catch Coca Cola advertising that Coke contains 50 percent more cola berries.”

Mr. Ogilvy, by the way, doesn’t underestimate the challenge involved in projecting a consistent brand image through advertising (or any other communication, I’d assume.) There are “always forces at work to change the advertising ‒ like a new agency or a new Marketing Director who wants to make his mark.” Advertising, it seems, is not an area where “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” gets much respect.

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