How often do you see a television commercial for the automobile brand Rolls Royce? Never, right? It is because the brand does not require advertising to sell the cars. They have a reputation that sells. Now, this reputation was not built in a single day. A great number of efforts were put in creating a positive brand image, and we all know how that turned out to be.
Not all companies are Rolls Royce or Apple, but a positive brand image is still crucial for their success. That’s the reason why most brands invest tonnes of money in their marketing, advertising, PR and Social Media activities. Brand management is a lot more than just convincing people to buy products and services. In this article, we are going to explore the major areas of brand management that help you get a better understanding of the practices.
What is Brand Management?
According to the Business Dictionary, brand management is the process of maintaining, improving, and upholding a brand. For a business, brand management is a quest to increase the perceived value of their brand over time. Brand management is not involved in creating a brand but also understanding what products should go under the name of the brand.
Effective brand management improves brand awareness, measures and manages the brand equity, and promotes initiatives that aid a consistent brand message. Furthermore, it acknowledges and accommodates new brand products, and effectively positions the brand in the market. With proper brand management practices, it is possible to generate higher sales of not just a single product but also the other products associated with the brand name.
Major Principles of Brand Management: Strategies or Approaches for Branding
On a larger scale, brand management involves managing both tangible and intangible aspects of a brand. With proper strategies, brand management can help reduce the perceived safety, monetary and social risks of a customer in buying a product or service.
These practices can further help the customer to develop a better perception of products and services with the respective brand name. For that, the company needs to work on building and improving its brand. Here are some of the major brand management principles that allow a company to achieve success.
1. Leveraging the USP:
In order to build brand recognition, a company needs to identify what makes them unique. Brand differentiation is the key to the success of a business. The unique selling proposition (USP) separates a brand from its competitors. And a company can leverage that to build its brand identity.
In order to create a unique selling proposition, the company has to acknowledge where its product or service fits into the market. Its USP can be its cost-effectiveness, or it’s premium features, or perhaps its durability. Companies need to identify it and use that as the central message of the marketing activities.
2. Using marketing activities to promote brand awareness:
Once the USP is defined, it needs to be used to promote the brand. All marketing activities should be involved in promoting brand awareness. However, it is also important to measure the performance of the marketing activities to optimise promotion.
Choosing the appropriate medium and means for the marketing activities can provide a brand with the edge over its competitors. If the brand is fresh and innovative, content marketing is the best option to explore. Companies should also use brand positioning in their content marketing activities to develop brand awareness.
3. Building the brand from within:
It is also important for the company to develop its brand from the inside. Every employee in the company needs to be aware of the brand. In fact, it is also recommended to get buy-ins from the external stakeholders as well. This allows the company to identify other significant areas of the brand that they might have missed in the first place.
The marketing team can be in charge of the brand management process. But it is the product team that knows how the customers use the product. The company needs to understand the fact that the employees are the ambassadors of the brand. It needs to bring everyone on the same page to maintain brand consistency.
4. Roping in influencers to extend the reach:
Influencer marketing has always been a great way to boost the reach of a brand. In today's digitised world, it is more significant than ever. A company needs to recognise the people trusted by the target market. If the company can rope in such a person who has a huge influence on the potential customers, it can accelerate the brand's performance.
Managing the relationship with an influencer can be a challenging task for the company. However, the right strategy can help sustain a beneficial partnership. Communication is crucial in this case. It is also important to acknowledge the needs and demands of the influencers. It will be best for both the parties if the company can choose an influencer who serves the same market.
5. Connecting at the emotional level:
A brand is not just about the name, the logo or the marketing activities. It’s much larger than that. Basically, it is an idea that’s manifested in services or products, people, and experience. So, a company needs to disseminate that message to the consumers in such a way that it connects with them at an emotional level.
It is recommended to offer the consumers a service or product that not just satiates their physical needs but also feeds their emotional needs. Offering such things can allow consumers to identify the brand.
Difference Between Marketing and Branding
Even though closely related, marketing and branding are quite different. Marketing is all about actively promoting a service or product to get sales results. Branding, on the other hand, is about communicating the value of an organisation, product or service.
Branding encourages the consumer to buy product or service. But the brand does not directly ask the consumers to buy the product or service. Here are the two crucial areas that clarify the difference between these two practices:
a) The nature of the practice:
Marketing is tactical by nature. It contributes to a brand and convinces the customers to buy a particular product. Branding is strategic by nature. Instead of asking the customer to buy the product, it engages with the consumer emotionally and convinces him/her to believe in the company’s values and ideas.
b) The functions:
Every action that the company takes has a role to play in either inspiring or deterring the brand loyalty of whoever is exposed to it. Marketing works towards identifying and activating buyers. Branding, however, creates loyal customers who further advocate for the brand when the time comes.
What Do You Do For Brand Development?
Developing a brand from scratch is undoubtedly an uphill journey. However, any company can build their brand and gain a loyal customer base with these following practices.
- Establish what the brand represents:
Before the company does anything else, it should identify its core strengths first. If the founding committee looks back and tries to remember why they started the business in the first place, they can find the answer. Interestingly, the company can summarise their brand's purpose in a mission statement. That mission statement can describe the values of the company and what it stands for. This can guide the employees on the company and act as a roadmap.
- Position the brand apart from its competitors:
Different companies can sell similar products and services, but that does not mean that brands have to mimic one another. The companies need to position their brand differently in the market. If brand A highlights its cost-effectiveness, brand B can focus on the user experience. In simpler words, companies need to create their own identity in the market.
- Identify the target market:
Brand building is a continuous process. And it's all about developing a bond with the consumers. In order to do that, a company needs to identify its target market first. Knowing the audience is one of the fundamentals of marketing. And for branding, identification is the key to success. Once the target market is defined, the company can personalise its efforts accordingly.
- Develop an elevator pitch:
An elevator pitch is a comprehensive overview of a brand briefed in to a 50-100 word summary. The name will help you to realise that it's a sales pitch that can be delivered in a small duration in an elevator. Just because it is brief, it should not miss out on the crucial aspects of the brand. What the brand is about, what does it do, what value does it add to the customers – the pitch needs to cover all the above.
- Build out the brand:
Once the company gets settled with the idea of its brand image, it is time for action. A company should invest its efforts in creating a style guide that determines the brand’s personality, formulates the brand strategy, and ensures every person in the team is on the same page.
- Put efforts in the promotion:
Promotion is essential for the brand development process. In fact, the efficiency of the promotional campaigns determines the success of the brand in most cases. A company should choose which channels will be appropriate for the brand. Social media platforms are one of the great options for promoting a brand as it has a wider reach. However, the traditional media including print and broadcast are quite effective in influencing certain target market.
- Personalise the activities:
It is important to be relevant to the consumers in order to build a brand. Unless a company is able to identify the pain points of the target audience, it isn't possible for the brand to offer a personalised experience. So, a company should research and gather significant information about its target market by communicating with them and then personalise its efforts to influence them.
The companies need to understand that brand building requires both time and effort. These practices mentioned above will help a company to develop a stellar brand identity in the market.
Why Does Brand Management Matter for Businesses?
Every customer (both existing and potential) identifies a company and its status in the market via its brand. It is important for the company to live up to the brand's promises every single day as long as it is operational.
Brand management allows the company to uphold its product or services. A proper brand management strategy can strengthen the relationship the brand has with its customers. For that, the brand management strategy needs to ensure all the promotional pieces are aligned with the company's goals and ideology.
A lot of reputed brands have fallen apart just because they did not live up to their brand’s promise every day. To avoid it from happening, most large companies these days hire experienced brand managers who know how to earn and maintain the goodwill of the company.
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