Having an idea for a brand is visionary and creating a brand is thrilling.But that’s not enough. We are in the digital age where brands and businesses are scaling, growing, changing, and succeeding, every day. It is important for your brand to follow the suit. That’s why I created this branding management guide covering the basics of brand management and 10 strategies to priorly focus on in this not so business friendly year 2020.
Seth Godin’s definition of brand is quite straight,blunt, and exact. He defines, “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
To meet the long lasting memories and relationships, brand managers develop a strategic brand management system to manage your brand equity. A good brand manager is one who has a clear and comprehensive understanding of three things: the brand itself, its target market & valuable audience, and company’s overall vision and objectives.
The motto of brand management is simple. To develop a good relationship with your target market. If you have bad branding, it will automatically give you weak sales, poor client retention, and slow-moving inactive growth. That’s why brand managers look after your brand, everyday. They use marketing techniques that ensure the entire brand message is highlighted and promoted across all major social media platforms including websites. Ultimate goal of sustainable brand management is to make a commitment to your audience and then deliver on that promise that converts them into your audience.
Your brand is a living, breathing thing, and it’s constantly evolving. In a world of journalists and external factors like news, trends, and influencers, current events brand management is how you can take control of your business’s story and it’s positioning all over the internet. A typical brand management uses your brand identity and brand assets to communicate and build trustworthy relationships with your audiences and customers.
It’s common that you can’t always control what others say about your brand. That’s where strategic brand management is required in responding to them in a way that elevates your brand’s core values. Well, how do they do it? — By remaining strategic and consistent across their creative & marketing and social media channels. For this reason only, brand management is beyond marketing. It is a management that is intertwined with sales, human resources, and customer service. Any team of your brand that stays connected to audiences, customers, and even potential employees.
I created this branding management guide based on two major factors: capturing the target for your product/service, and generating confidence in the minds of the present customers and targeted users. The end goal of a successful brand management is to convey a message, raise customer value, and convince an individual to get your brand’s product/service via developing an emotional connection with the individual. It will not only build an individual's perceptions about your product/service but it will also differentiate you among the competitors.
We are in a digital age where we are selling our valuable product/service to unlimited yet targeted customers. Therefore, connecting all of them to a common platform is a necessity. You as a brand need to generate an engaging conversation with our audiences which will allow us to change perceptions and expectations of your regular user enticing them to turn into your customers.
The foundation of a communication builds true relationships. A brand strategy helps you to utilize your marketing, advertising, social media, and public relations more accurately and consistently.
Let’s understand this from a human perspective. Imagine your business is a person and so your brand would be its personality. How would you introduce yourself to new people? How do you build a trusting relationship with them after they are now your friends.? You get it. Branding is the process of building your brand whereas, brand management is the process of monitoring and maintaining it throughout everything. The impact of building, monitoring, and maintaining your brand can result in a growing business performance.
Branding Management impact on your business performance
It will boost your brand awareness
It will ultimately allow you to charge more for your product/ service
It will influence your audience’s purchasing decisions
It will build customer loyalty and brand value
It will increase your brand’s conversions
Principles of Branding Management
Have you ever heard people outside your office/network/relationships talking about your brand? If yes, your brand awareness strategy is doing well. Brand awareness is your brand’s familiarity with the general public and your target audience. Why Brand awareness important because the audience can’t engage with or use your product/service from your brand if they’re not aware of it?
Why do Apple iPhone users find it hard to switch to any Android Brand? Think.
If you have to choose between Adidas & Nike, it’s going to be a tie. Both the brands had their own unique community and user experience. The reason is: their own individual brand equity.
Brand equity is how consumers value your product/service based on their experiences, perceptions, and associations. Brand equity is often related to brand valuation- the commercial value of your brand perceived by the market.
KFC is the perfect example when it comes to brand loyalty. They serve what they say- finger lickin’ good. Now when one is sad, happy, hungry, lazy, excited, in any mood, they know where to click in for a fingerlicious snack. Brand loyalty is how your customers and followers are consistently engaged with your brand. This is right where your customer service priorly focuses on relationship-building with customers now and then. Brand loyalty creates brand ambassadors who do your marketing for you for free.
Apple is inevitable in this case for me. Its logo and tagline- think different is simple yet compelling and of course makes it stand out of the crowd from past many years. Its all because of the brand recognition strategy. Brand recognition is how well a user and so your target audience recognizes your brand — through your logo, tagline, packaging, etc. — without googling your brand name. Recognition and recalling your brand is important for your brand in order to stay on the top-of-mind of the user and to choose your brand above the competition.
Reputation serves respect. Ratan Tata’s industry is the first that strikes my mind here. How the general public and your target market is perceiving the character, status, and quality of your brand, defines your brand reputation. It is influenced by many factors such as customer service, product quality, customer reviews, Word Of Mouth marketing, news mentions, presence, etc. Brand reputation is an important principle of branding management because it is the ’ first impression of your brand for your customers.
Brand Asset Management
The tangible component of your brand management process. Brand Asset Management is all about your branding that your audience and fanbase can see, experience, and remember for long. It includes any assets of your branding or marketing that is seen by the “outside world” such as logo, name, color, social media, print media, PR, Website, Events, etc. To craft and maintain these tangible elements brand managers need to be consistent throughout the branding timeline.
It could go like:
Organizing your brand assets digitally and physically
Creating an accessible digital or physical storage system for your brand assets.
Routine checks for brand inconsistencies and correcting when necessary and regularly
Let’s cover the major Brand Assets for Branding Management
Your brand name is the primary identity of your company. It is going to be the same forever yet evolving. If you haven’t trademarked or copyrighted your brand name, it's time to do so. Owing your brand name will save you from unauthorized usage and any type of competitive theft. Brand’s name reflects your website domain and social media pages. Therefore, keeping your name consistent over all these handles will help users to discover and follow your business hassle free.
Logo and Color Palette
Logo and color palettes the symbolic creative representation of your brand and idea behind your business. These assets tap encourages emotional marketing tactics. Many businesses hire extraordinary graphic designers while others make it on their own. Well what matters the most is it should be designed properly in order to attract and convert customers. Colors represent feelings and design tells the theme. I find this website cool for taking an overview on deciding the color palette for my clients.
Typography refers to how your fonts and text-based guidelines to inform any branding or marketing asset that’s designed on behalf of your business, including your website, paid advertising, social media posts, and more from all the way down to the spacing between the letters or spacing between the lines, headlines selection, headers footers, Italic, Regular or bold.
Your graphics includes anything specifically designed for your brand or marketing. It could be used on your digital marketing channels or on external slide decks, letterheads, press releases, newsletters, or even brand promotional videos. Your brand graphics will likely be utilized by designers to social media marketers to content writers everywhere on the internet. So, I suggest you make it well organized and with clear instructions on how to use them.
Digital Marketing Channels
Your Business website, social media channels, campaigns, landing pages, and paid advertising are a few of the most important assets of your brand. Millions of people cross these digital platforms everyday. A good device friendly website, readable content, well-optimized social media channels, analyzed campaigns, display ads, well running landing pages are likely the branding assets that are mostly viewed by potential customers. For this reason, they must reflect your branding consistently.
Even your team’s and executive’s social media accounts also reflect your brand as it gives your audience an inside look at your brand and the opportunity to connect with it on a personal level.
I love how H&M dispatch bags. Simple, classy, and memorable. If your business sells a physical product then your packaging is an important part of your branding. 70/100 customers see your packaging as a first impression of your brand. Also, many customers make their purchase decisions on the packaging itself. Your packaging is an experiential way that customers interact with your brand.
Brand’s style guide is basically a document that instructs your team, designers, manufacturers and other businesses on how to use your branding. Call it your brand guideline as it informs how all rest of the brand assets should be utilized, designed, and printed all the way down to what size your logo should be and what colors are and aren’t allowed in your marketing materials, fonts, choice of material, etc.
10 Brand Management Strategies in 2020 you need to go with:
Brand’s USP- unique selling proposition sets you apart from the competitors. To create a unique selling proposition you need to understand where your product fits into the market. How is it going to solve the problems of the consumer? What makes it different from its competitor? Is it more durable or cost-effective? Is it innovative or stable? Define it and write it down. Always keep this in mind that your USP is the backbone of your marketing activities.
Many brands believe that brand management is a process that begins and ends with evaluation. No. This just isn’t the case. Best brand management is a three-step process:Organize brand elements and assets; Come up with a plan for all teams; Re-evaluate the overall process
In order to truly create a successful brand management strategy, brand assets need some special attention. First, don’t think of your visual elements as tasks that require constant updates or changes. Instead, think of them as assets that need to be used correctly and consistently. It's going to involve creating guidelines and rules across all social media channels throughout new challenges.
The combination of your content language and the description of innovative features and services provided is going to be your brand message throughout the process. Your brand messaging should be specific, expressing the brand’s value and emotion. You can make a story charging customer excitement and learning to understand your audience. Once your messaging is established you can evaluate new projects and campaigns to ensure the messaging is on-point. Check the overall tone and make sure it’s in-line with your brand.
A common mistake handful of brands make is creating an account that doesn’t fit with their brand. It naturally happens when more and more brands expand their outreach to new and evolving social media. For example, your Twitter account may have most of their tweets as friendly, funny and laid back but you cannot make a YouTube account and post serious, dramatic videos. Therefore, staying true to your brand throughout each social media account is a necessity. Each social media profile needs to have the same personality of your brand reflecting your values and ideals.
Static image overuse can lead to inactive campaign performance due to audiences experiencing a “been there, seen that” feeling. Luckily today digital advertising is one step away where you can expand beyond a single image. Using digital content formats like videos and gif broadens your brand’s storytelling capabilities.
Ad campaigns are especially reliant on branding. A company producing branded content that is engaging and inspiring properly among target consumers has a unique ability to drive optimal results. Therefore, to ensure brand optimization you should always monitor user interactions over all ad campaigns and social media content. While launching an ad campaign, set goals based on what interactions you are trying to achieve (clicks, impressions, sign-ups, page redirects, etc.). Every goal defined by you will act as performance guidelines.
If you have a website showcasing your product/service, do not ignore the power of it. Many people sometimes don’t realize that a website has the power to entice a customer or turn them away. Make your website well organized, optimized and analyzed. How is it performing on different devices? How are your topic clusters working? Header and Footers are scaled or not? How is the website performing on the search engines? And more. Part of brand management includes caring for the well-being of a company website. This should consist of detailed analysis and continual evaluations, which will give further insight into how well the website adheres to the brand.
Brand management can be a bit overwhelming when business is expanding. With growing demands comes different options like outsourcing your brand management tasks to an agency that specializes in such procedures. There are plenty of different brand management agencies around the world willing to meet your needs and give you more time to handle other issues. But options come with doubts. Therefore, it’s okay if you’re not sure about outsourcing your management.
If outsourcing your brand management doesn’t fit your needs, consider a brand management professional or a brand management software system. An individual professional comes with both pros and cons: He/She will give their 100% to your brand while bringing new ideas to the table. Cons: It’s going to be a daunting task if you and your team haven't had great communication with the professional or vice versa. On the other hand, get yourself a software such as digital asset management (DAM) which will help your team to better manage their brand assets, such as logos, by providing a central repository, accessible style guide, which gives an overview to see which font, logo and pictures to use. DAM is also great at handling different copyright and security tasks. I would recommend you to use a human machine over a software as it comes with multiple benefits.
Customers and target users will identify your brand, its product/service, and your status in the market, your idea of business, everything via your brand. An incredible impression lasting brand is built via strong messages, advertisements, offering values and images. It's high time to realize that your company is carving out goodwill and reputation with everything that your creative, marketing, sales team does. To live up to your brand’s promise every day should be your focused goal every day/week as a brand manager. A proper brand management contains promotional pieces, valuable brand presentation, touch points, and goals that reinforces the brand in a well planned way. Many reputed brands have fallen apart in the past 5 months for not being properly managed. Most large companies hire a full-time brand manager producing top quality campaigns that could be a challenge for a majority of the brand management companies.
My next blogs on branding and management are queued, SIGN Up and never miss an update and an idea.