8 Steps to Create an Effective Brand Management Process
Brand management is a tedious and difficult journey for all businesses. But, the hard work is worth it, especially in the longer term. The question is: how do you go about effectively managing brands?
Well, the effectiveness of a brand management strategy and process depends on how much you are willing to invest. We are talking about not just time but financial aspects.
The biggest brands such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Chanel, Victoria’s Secret, spend millions on brand management. On top of that, they have the advantage of time. Their names have been the product of branding efforts and consistent promotion for decades now.
However, you don’t need to spend millions like what Coca-cola does right now to maintain and manage your brand image. Brand management boosts digital and local by using a branding strategy that fits your business.
So, let’s define what successful brand management is first to give you an overview.
Defining Brand Management
A brand represents your business, its ideals, values, or even personality. It reflects your product or service. Most often, a logo is the visual representation of your brand, which consists of an image or text.
Thus, brand management is the discipline of managing brands. It is creating long-term perceptions held by the target customer. This process establishes a set of consistent actions. It aims at achieving certain business objectives for your brand.
Elements of effective branding include:
- Positioning (how the brand will be perceived);
- Product development (new products based on consumer-based feedback, research, or analysis)
- Innovation (innovative ways to deliver solutions).
Many marketers believe in the importance of branding in business. But a few understand what it takes to manage your brand effectively. Today, the most successful brands have a strong management process in place.
Brand Management Process
A brand management process protects your business’s name, logo, or slogan. It generates brand awareness among your target customers.
Brand management is not just about creating logos and slogans. Instead, you use these brand assets to develop a strategy for building client relationships.
These strategies include:
- Website design
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Social media marketing (SMM)
- Email marketing
- Mobile marketing
- Public relations (PR) campaigns
- Other techniques for retention of current clients and generation of new leads.
Step 1: Understand the Principles of Brand Management
The first is to understand what you need to do. However, to achieve this, you must have a good grasp of how the brand strategy works and what its fundamental principles are.
You also must know how branding strategies can improve your brand identity. In brand management, you need to develop the appropriate corporate culture.
A cohesive corporate culture refers to interdepartmental cooperation and reliable systems. It determines whether or not your employees will be able to carry out cohesive brand strategies and value these efforts.
These systems allow different departments to work together efficiently towards the same goals. Establish internal communication across all levels within your organization. Then, you can proceed with the second step of the brand management process.
Step 2: Comprehensive Brand Audit
After you fully understand the brand management principles, you will finally be able to complete your brand audit.
A comprehensive brand audit is reviewing important aspects or assets of a brand. These may include logo and slogan, target markets, product or service features, etc.
Some companies also use third-party specialists (like an advertising agency). These specialists review important company documents like their sales pitch or business plan.
Assets of Brand Management
Brand management involves managing and controlling all aspects of the brand. Businesses have one, two, or three-dimensional brand assets. These assets include their logo, slogan, products, and even packaging.
A brand is not owned by any specific organization. It represents the public perception of your company’s culture, values, and mission statement.
That said, there are some additional brand elements that you will need to manage:
This element is a visual representation of what consumers see first when they think about your business. This serves as an extension of other assets like colors, type, style, and images.
• The Slogan or Tagline
The slogan should be unique, memorable, and dynamic. It has to spur interest in your offer in the marketplace.
• The Brand Colors
Colors play an extremely important role in building brand identity. So, choosing the right ones is vital for strategic brand management. You can use these colors to create a relationship between your brand and its customers.
• The Design Elements
It is necessary to have consistency across design elements so that consumers can have an overall impression of your brand. This should develop a unique identity for your brand.
• The Brand Voice
This should resonate with your audience. When developing your brand voice, you must consider the target customers you are trying to reach. This will determine how you talk about what you do as well as what customers will understand.
• Products and Services
These are additional elements found on every product or service. They serve as the representation of your brand so they should be different and yet competitive, generally.
Every brand is unique. It is important to determine which brands are occupying the space you intend to penetrate. These must not only be competing within their products and services but also with theirs.
You need your brand to shine through so consider whether or not this will affect your business and if you are willing to take the risk.
Most businesses now realize that they cannot exist without customers. This is why knowing what these consumers want and how best to reach them should rank as a priority when considering brand management
In essence, effective brand management involves offering something valuable to people. At the same time, you work within a specific budget and timeframe. For this reason, consider these elements to create the most effective brand strategy.
Step 3: Define Your Target Market
The most essential aspect of brand management is determining what kind of people purchase your products or services. A large part of the process consists of finding out who these people are—their age bracket, income level, goals, and interests.
First, you need a complete and accurate database. Collect all your customer information from your different sources such as e-mails, feedback forms, social media accounts. This will help you gather relevant data for an effective plan of action.
Then, identify your target customers. Understand the needs of your clients by studying their demographic profiles or asking them directly using customer surveys or focus group interviews.
This makes it easier to create strategies that work best for them through various research tools such as A/B testing and SEO analysis among many others. Also, define which goals you want to achieve from your company’s brand management efforts.
Step 4: Select a Clear Brand Concept
Developing an effective brand management strategy requires you to first understand what kind of brand name will best appeal to your target markets. It is the most crucial part of the brand management process because it can affect all other strategic decisions later on.
You must choose whether or not you want to compete with highly recognized brands with long-standing reputations. If so, then you may need to have a similar logo and slogan as them for consumers to create a brand association (i.e. Coca-Cola).
This step entails choosing one specific model that represents your products or services such as quality or distinction. This concept is the basis of your brand identity.
It will shape how consumers perceive all digital marketing initiatives you execute in terms of visual and verbal communications (i.e.: “Innovation that excites” –Sony).
Step 5: Create Brand Associations
After you’ve developed your brand message (or slogan), it is now time to turn this idea into a consistent marketing campaign. You need to integrate appropriate keywords, images, colors, and other elements.
These elements should relate to your organization’s overall theme throughout various communication channels such as brochures, email newsletters, social media posts. You also have to make sure that each element can appropriately support your brand message.
Step 6: Develop a Consistent Brand Image
This development is another essential aspect of brand management. Consistent branding campaigns can help you form a clearer target market. Establish a specific personality for the organization that consumers will recognize in all communication channels (i.e.: Coca-Cola ®: Positivity, friendship, and optimism).
There are numerous methods of developing this kind of brand consistency. You might choose to engage in rebranding efforts where you completely change your logo or slogan—or simply modify it slightly with periodic tweaks over time.
Alternatively, you might go with product placement strategies where you have workers/employees wear specific clothing identifying themselves as part of a brand.
Brand Awareness Vs. Brand Recognition
There are several different terms used in the marketing world to describe similar theories. These include brand awareness and brand recognition. Although these two ideas seem very similar, they define separate concepts for measuring the effectiveness of branding.
Brand awareness says that people are aware of your business. You just need to get them to remember who you are and what you have to offer.
In contrast, brand recognition says that people know you by name. Consumers don’t necessarily know what you do or the perceived value you can bring them.
Step 7: Monitor the Overall Efforts of Brand Management
Brand management isn’t a one-time event. It requires constant improvements and adjustments to meet the ever-changing demands of your target markets.
You must be able to react quickly when it comes to feedback or marketing trends that might take place in the economy or industry you are operating in. When these trends happen, you alter your strategies and tactics accordingly.
For instance, you initially developed a more sophisticated lifestyle image for yourself (brand personality) but consumers claim they prefer your products/services because of their affordability (service benefit). Then, you have no other option than to change this perception by adjusting your identity accordingly.
In this case, you might want to switch from your original upper-class identity and instead emphasize the value you provide (brand equity or brand value).
Step 8: Evaluate Overall Branding Efforts
The brand management process will not be complete until you have established a set of criteria for measuring success. You can use this evaluation as benchmarks in future activities (i.e.: How many new customers were gained through a certain marketing campaign?).
These criteria and measurements can help you gauge whether or not consumers are responding well to your specific brand message and initial product/service offerings.
So, if there is an increase in loyalty, it’s clear that you have strengthened brand equity during those activities. Alternatively, if consumer affinity has diminished for whatever reason, then adjustments need to be made immediately to ensure long-term success.
Brand Management vs Brand Marketing – What’s the Difference?
One common question is the differentiation between brand management and brand marketing. This confusion boils down to two things:
- What your business does with its branding
- How you intend to use this to generate revenue and create profits in a way that attracts more customers.
The term “brand marketing” refers to all activities or strategies that direct consumers towards a specific product or service of choice. It can also be used as a tool for generating leads or sales opportunities through effective customer engagement efforts such as webinars, seminars, workshops, talks, and conferences.
On the other hand, brand management is directed towards promoting your business by creating awareness from services offered to products sold plus any plans set in motion.
What do you need? As far as brand management goes, make sure you have the basics in place.
Know the unique qualities that will set you apart from your competitor and then base your marketing strategy around it. What is unique about your business, product, or service that no other business can offer? If there are no defining features, come up with one of your own that will help you succeed in this expanding market. This is vital for self-preservation since many businesses have been replaced by newer models over time.
Create a strong brand personality to remind clients of experiences associated with your products or services through ads.
Sound Media Planning
Determine how much money and effort should be allocated for each campaign channel such as SEO marketing, social media campaigns, advertising, considering things like client budgets, product life cycle, market trends, and business goals.
Make sure your company’s brand identity is clear, consistent, and distinctive. This means consistency in all aspects from colors, fonts to designs. Your website should also conform to this brand name.
Create a website that represents who you are with creativity, ease of access, and clarity. At this time, mobile optimization is important since it allows customers the opportunity to view your site on their smartphones every day.
Be creative when designing your site. Your site will need an original look so that clients can easily identify you through it. As a result, it helps boost brand loyalty.
Remember, people are likely to spend more time on websites they like. Research and studies have been shown that users are more likely to buy products from new websites if they include a logo and banner.
Social Media Campaigns
Create a strategy that will help you gain the attention of your prospective clients on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter. This strategy should be based on your brand uniqueness, personality, and offerings.
Supportive Customer Service
Speed up response times to inquiries by having customer support agents ready to answer complicated issues or simple questions like product ordering processes.
Eliminate wastes in the system through brand intelligence analytics. You can save money by improving customer experience, which in turn leads to brand loyalty.
Other Important Aspects
- Customer loyalty through the reward system and discounts.
- Effective sales techniques by hosting seminars or direct mail campaigns
- Keep an eye on competitors with trend analysis (what your competitors are doing to keep up with the times and stay relevant)
Essential Questions about Brand Management
What are the 4 branding strategies?
- Brand Extension Strategy (old brand name on new products)
- Product category (enhance branding with new products)
- New Products closely associated with old brand names
- A strong brand name that creates emotional buying (consumers want to buy because they want to, not need-specific)
What does brand management include?
Brand management entails two critical factors: alignment and customer focus. Alignment ensures that an organization’s brand strategy aligns with its marketing as well as other business strategies.
On the other hand, customer focus is what your brand promises or benefits relevant to a specific target group.
Why is brand management important?
Brand management is important because you can’t achieve an organization’s goals without a strong brand.
How do you build brand loyalty?
Brand loyalty is what all businesses want to achieve, but it’s very hard to accomplish. It takes time, effort, and consistency.
Sometimes, ethical lines are blurred when building brand loyalty. Some use tactics like offering volume discounts or even giving away free products in hopes that loyal customers will return frequently and buy more.
Of course, this strategy won’t work for every business because not every customer is the same. Some businesses require a lot of money to be spent before they have repeat customers (think: wireless phone providers), while other businesses prefer low-cost entry fees with frequent weekly visits (think: grocery stores).
How do you manage brand equity?
Brand equity can be built up through sustained investment in customer relationship management and marketing communications, but if this investment is not maintained it will quickly fade.
In the long run, the only way to keep building brand equity is by using the strongest brands to out-compete rivals with less powerful brands.
Do I Need A Brand Management Agency?
You may say now that you don’t need one. But, even as a small business or a start-up, you need to make things right at the very beginning.
So, yes, you need a brand management agency to help you with brand awareness, brand recognition, and most importantly, brand equity.
Entrust your brand management to a proven team
Setting up a business of your own may seem like a daunting task. But with the right plan, you can make an effective brand image that will help you build a strong business foundation.
If you establish a brand management process, running your business and starting on the right foot will be easier than originally thought. Entrust your brand management to Digital Delane by starting with a discovery call – contact us today!