The Role of the Consumer in Image Building

by William Reynolds



This article focuses on the role of consumers in image building of a product. Product and brand images are created by consumers. An image is actually the result of a more complex process. It is the mental construct developed by the consumer on the basis of a few selected impressions among the flood of total impressions; it comes into being through a creative process in which these selected impressions are elaborated, embellished, and ordered. Often, of course, the word "image" is used as equivalent to reputation. The Image in effect deplores in an old fashioned way the apparent current emphasis on reputation. This usage of "image" to mean reputation tends to focus attention upon the problem of the congruity of semblance and reality. The question of belief versus fact can obscure the actual nature of an image. Images are not isolated empirical beliefs about a product or brand but are systems of inferences which may have only a tenuous and indirect relationship to fact.

California Management Review

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Published at Berkeley Haas for more than sixty years, California Management Review seeks to share knowledge that challenges convention and shows a better way of doing business.

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