Brand management has always been a complicated concept, even for those who have had the chance to work on it themselves. Some reasons are its ever-evolving nature and complex tasks like defining organizational values, brand vision, and influencing customers’ perceptions of your brand.
It might seem an overwhelming aspect of marketing, but really, which isn’t? With brands overseeing and managing their brand’s voice and reputation round the clock on social media platforms, marketing has become the most crucial and hardest function of running a business.
That being said, strategic brand management can turn into a competitive advantage that can help your brand reach its new height.
What is Strategic Brand Management?
Strategic brand management can be defined as a brand strategy that supports your company’s goals and processes, from brand recognition to boost revenue. While crafting the brand strategy, make sure that there’s room for your brand to grow and evolve alongside your business.
If you are wondering what brand strategy is, then here it is. A brand strategy combines a few methods to define the uniqueness and personality of your brand, using which you can improve the quality of all your customer touchpoints and communications for a better brand image and selling power. In other words, it means providing a value-driven and positive experience to your customers whenever and wherever they interact and engage with your brand.
The success of a brand strategy lies in its ability to maintain consistency in the customer experiences across various platforms, from web pages to social media accounts to customer support.
Remember: Your brand strategy should be agile, beneficial for your brand, and add value to your brand’s overall perception.
Why is Brand Management Important?
- Firstly, brand management strengthens your selling power and improves your brand’s perception in the minds of your target audience.
- Because brand management revolves around providing positive customer experiences, it increases customer retention, loyalty, and the overall value of your brand.
- With brand management, you can communicate the uniqueness of your brand to your customers.
- Through the practice of brand management, you can understand your target audience better, which means your brand’s communication strategies and methods become more impactful than ever.
- Lastly, it increases your employees’ internal and external engagement, which makes them feel closer to your company, thereby reducing the overall attrition rate of your company.
The Art of Brand Management
Now that we’ve established a proper understanding of brand management and its importance, let’s explore the art that is brand management. Here we are going to explore the important actions that combinedly make the art of brand management.
1. Positive brand perception
Many businesses operate under the wrong impression that brand management is limited to having a recognizable custom logo design, a catchy tagline, or a viral campaign. But it’s much more than that. It is the cumulation of every customer’s experience with your brand based on which they form a perception of your brand.
Now, it’s not quite possible to control your customers’ perception, but you can always influence them by means of creating positive experiences and associations with your brand.
To come across as a genuine and positive brand, you must:
- Always, always deliver on your promises
- Define, communicate, and behave with integrity
- Craft and deliver unique customer-centric experiences
- Invest in understanding your customers’ needs and deliver value accordingly
- Provide consistent multi-channel support
- Seek feedback from customers and work on them
2. Brand positioning and value
Your brand’s positioning in the market should always be aligned with your brand’s values. Brand positioning is one of the most important aspects of the art of brand management which includes identifying the positioning of your brand and what you want to achieve. This stage of brand management will take time, effort, a lot of brainpower, and coffee.
The first step in identifying your current brand positioning is to research and understand the brand positioning of your competitors and industry market leaders and look for the differentiators. This will help you define and create a unique position for yourself in the market to resonate with your target audience.
- Understand your current brand positioning – Make use of surveys to understand your customers’ current perception of your brand.
- List down your direct and indirect competitors – In the beginning, you will compete with the direct competitors but sooner rather than later, you will have to position yourself uniquely against indirect competitors as well.
- Know your competitors – Try to understand who your competitors are, their offerings, their differentiators, etc.
- Look inside to know what makes your product/brand unique
- Define your positioning statement to communicate the unique value of your brand to your audience
- Analyze if your positioning statement works by gathering feedback from your customers
- Humanize your brand to establish an emotional connection with your customers
- Redefine your sales process to reinforce and highlight your brand differentiators
- Create, communicate, and deliver value
- Train your customer-facing employees on your brand’s values
3. Reputation Management
Once you’ve defined and implemented your brand positioning and values, pay attention to your brand’s reputation.
Keep a close eye on what’s being said about your brand, who’s saying it, and where they are saying it. Media monitoring and social listening tools will ensure you know every conversation, mention of your brand. The chief aim behind constantly monitoring your brand’s reputation is to stay one step ahead. If you know what’s coming, you will be able to steer the conversation in the right direction; hopefully, a direction that doesn’t hurt your brand’s reputation.
The role of brand reputation management is to take ownership and accountability of your brand’s perception and dictate it according to your defined brand and organizational values.
Here are the top 5 best practices for effective brand reputation management:
- Focus on content marketing
- Invest time, resources, and efforts to improve overall customer satisfaction
- Actively use social listening tools to manage and revert to negative comments
- Personalize your customers’ interactions with your brand
- Quality online and search presence
Pro Tip: Centralize your brand’s assets, definitions, essentials, creatives, and more to keep your brand’s communication on point. Also, make sure all the digital assets are easily accessible by all the stakeholders.
4. Brand performance and analysis
Once your brand management strategy is off-the-ground and active, start analyzing its performance and optimizing it for better impact. You can perform brand audits in-house or outsource them to an external agency based on the time and money you have.
An ideal brand audit should cover the main three areas:
- Internal branding – values, brand positioning, company culture, etc.
- External branding – advertising, marketing materials, PR, social media, website, content, etc.
- Customer experience – sales process, customer support – both online and offline
If you decide to do it in-house, here’s how you can go about auditing your brand:
- Start by creating a framework of the audit
- Center your brand audit around questioning your customers and getting feedback from them
- Dig deep into your web analytics
- Review your social data
- Review your sales excel sheets and CRM
- Evaluate your competitors and their brand management strategies using competitor analysis tools
Pro tip: While evaluating your brand management strategies, make sure the assets, brand’s voice, and customer experience are consistent throughout.
Create a schedule for brand audits to keep your brand management strategies effective and impactful.
The more you pay attention to brand management, the greater return on investment you will get on your marketing budget.
Image Credit: from the author; thank you!