This is the knowledge that people associate with a brand. All these associations constitute the brand image. Associations are the result of a perception that individuals have of the brand (i.e. innovative, high quality, easy-to-use etc.). They are formed by the use and experience of the brand and the perception of the brand communication. Customers, non-customers, citizens, employees, shareholders, etc. attribute associations to brands.
The social representations approach of Serge Moscovici that Géraldine Michel applied to the brand issue distinguishes the central associations of peripheral associations.
- A central association gives meaning to the brand image. Compared to the strong associations, the central associations are inseparable from the brand. For example, the associations “children” and “magic” are strongly associated with the Disney brand, but only the association “magic” is a central association of the brand, as it is extending its meaning.
- A peripheral association also brings meaning to the brand, but it may disappear from the brand image without “denaturing” distorting the brand concept.