Brands must distinguish themselves in the market to make their products viable. The top brands don’t necessarily spend tons of money on branding, they utilize strategic brand management to enhance their brand in a sustainable way. And brand value is a decisive factor for purchasing decisions in the current digital market. A wide range of products and services are accessible to everyone, and that’s why brand management is a top growth field.
What Is Brand Management?
Brand management is the development of brand perception in the market. Constructing a positive relationship with the target market is vital for brand management. But it also encompasses all aspects of the customer’s brand association and relationship with the purchasing process. This includes tangible elements of a brand as well as brand experience.
Brand management is an important aspect of marketing, which utilizes sophisticated techniques to boost the value of a product. Depending on the marketing strategy implemented, brand management can increase the price products and build devoted customers utilizing brand affirmations with images or key messaging.
So how do you get started on building and improving your brand? Here are five simple and effective brand management principles.
Leverage Your Unique Selling Proposition
Your unique selling proposition (USP) is what sets you apart from your competitors. A timeless example is M&M’s “melts in your mouth, not in your hand”. This USP turned slogan distinguishes M&M’s from other candies, which – as the slogan implies – apparently melt in your hand.
To find your unique selling proposition, you must understand where your product and company fit into the market. What makes the product different from its competition? Is it more durable or cost-effective? And how is your company different? Is it more innovative or stable? Whatever it is, define it. And write it down. For example: “My company is the most creative and our product is the most stylish”.
Once you’ve defined your USP, leverage it by turning it into a sexy key message. Use this as the backbone of your marketing activities, you’ll be surprised at how often it pops up.
Use Marcom to Push Brand Awareness
Take your USP-powered key messaging and use it to promote your brand. Every marketing activity – implicitly or explicitly – should promote brand awareness. This is true across every channel and essential for brand management. Ensure the brand is marketed effectively and efficiently by measuring how these marketing activities are performing.
Effectively market your brand by choosing the appropriate medium and means. If your brand is innovative and fresh, then you may want to market your brand through content marketing. Become a technological innovation thought-leader and use your brand as the ‘calling card’ in your key messaging. And be subtle. For example, a short message in your byline with the brand position is a great strategy.
Develop Your Brand Internally
When you ideate and evolve your brand, you should do so collaboratively. Get buy-in from other departments and external stakeholders. This helps you incorporate other views into the brand, which you may have overlooked. For example, the Product team knows how customers use your product and you can facilitate continuity throughout the buying process if you incorporate this information into the brand.
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All employees are brand ambassadors. Get buy-in from the entire organization to effectively communicate your brand from multiple areas of the company. This internal adoption is essential for maintaining brand consistency. Be sure every department effectively represents the brand in all communication with customers, partners and suppliers.
Getting brand adoption from the company is bolstered by solid brand asset management. If internal brand partners have a central location to download and share brand assets, they have an easier time distributing and maintaining those brand assets within their own teams.
Have Influencers Evangelize Your Brand
A great way to market your brand is to have someone else do it. And who better to do it than an influencer the target market already trusts. The theory is simple, someone who doesn’t have a vested interest is more trustworthy and believable. This is called the third-person effect.
Establishing and maintaining a relationship with an influencer is challenging but with the right touch you can maintain a mutually beneficial partnership. Engagement is key here. Just like any other relationship, you need to communicate. This is most commonly done over social media but there are other important venues like live events or webinars. And when you engage with your influencers, be sure to respect their impartiality.
Maintain Brand Consistency
People come and go, processes and products change, but your brand is the rock. And while steady brand evolution is important, the core brand never changes. But visual elements that represent the brand are often difficult to manage. The images, videos, color scheme and logos are easily created but not always consistently used.
The center of your visual brand management should always be your digital asset management (DAM) system. A DAM allows you to easily store digital assets like images, videos, presentations, logos, design files, documents and other brand assets with metadata for better searchability. If you’re using Dropbox, Box, Google Drive or another cloud file storage system then you’ve probably already outgrown them.