Effective brand management is increasingly important in our always-connected world.
Unfortunately, not all companies understand exactly what’s involved with properly managing their brands. There is more to brand management than simply running a good ad campaign or keeping social media pages updated, though these are both a part of it; for a brand to really excel, companies need to learn how to take these pieces (and more) and combine them into a larger overall brand management strategy.
These extra levels of insight and information will help give the brand direction not only in marketing but also in growth and exposure.
What Is Brand Management?
Though it may seem self-explanatory, it’s important that you understand exactly what brand management is and what all it entails.
Put simply, brand management is the process of guiding and shaping a brand’s reputation to increase brand recognition and improve audience perception of the brand. This can involve a significant amount of work as you not only have to ensure that the brand is presented in the best possible light but you also have to monitor the brand to ensure that it isn’t misrepresented or maligned. You have to not only work on growing the brand, but also on maintaining it to ensure that it still has the same appeal in the future as it has today.
One big aspect of brand management is monitoring brand awareness and helping it to grow where appropriate.
Brand awareness includes both how familiar the general public is with your brand as well as how well known it is among the brand’s target audience. This helps you to identify growth opportunities, informs your marketing decisions and even provides information about where your branding is weak because no one in that area has heard of it.
The better your brand awareness, the more well known it is in general and the more likely consumers are to recognize it.
Brand loyalty is another important factor in brand management.
If brand awareness gauges how well people recognize your company or product, brand loyalty identifies how likely your current customers are to come back for more. Companies that experience high degrees of brand loyalty typically have quality products and top-notch customer service that takes care of things when something goes wrong.
More importantly, those brands also tend to get a lot of word-of-mouth advertising because the people who keep buying those products are also likely to recommend them to friends. Brands that have low amounts of brand loyalty don’t get this boost and may even suffer from negative word of mouth in some cases.
Recognition and Reputation
Though they are a bit similar to brand awareness, brand recognition and brand reputation aren’t exactly the same.
Your brand awareness refers to familiarity in general, meaning that if a consumer heard the name of your brand or saw it written down it would at least be familiar to them. Brand recognition is a step beyond that, meaning that consumers could identify your brand based simply on its packaging or design even if they didn’t see or hear the brand name. Think of a Coke bottle; even if you only saw the contoured bottle and a red portion of the label, you would almost certainly still recognize it simply because the brand recognition is so strong.
Brand reputation takes that a step further, focusing on not only how well consumers recognize the brand but how they feel about it in general. There is an extra step of familiarity there if someone has an opinion on the brand, and that can influence how others feel about the brand as well. Keeping an eye on a brand’s recognition level and its reputation are very important parts of brand management, since high recognition rates and positive reputation trends can have a significant impact on sales.
Another important concept related to brand management is a brand’s equity.
This is the amount of value that consumers place on a brand. In a way, this can be seen as a culmination of a brand’s reputation and recognition, coupled with brand loyalty and even general awareness. The better the brand’s reputation and the more loyal its customers are, the more likely consumers are to see it as a high-quality brand and be willing to view it as a premium option. This means that the brand has high brand equity and in most cases can be considered a successful brand (assuming that it is also making sales and succeeding in other aspects.)
On top of these more intangible properties of brands, there are a few more physical properties that should also be considered as a part of brand management.
This includes the brand name, its logo or iconography, any fonts or graphics that are especially associated with the brand, plus any slogans, distinct packaging or similar assets. These should all be consistent across the brand, and consistency should also exist in advertising and social media representations of the brand. Improperly used assets or inconsistencies within the brand’s assets can reduce the brand’s reputation as a quality option and may even hurt the brand as a whole.
Charting Your Brand’s Success
There are a lot of things to keep in mind when it comes to brand management, and even this list is only touching on the basics.
These are all important aspects of the health of a brand, and they should be reviewed on a regular basis to make sure that the brand is performing well. Adjustments should be made when needed to ensure consistency and aid in healthy brand growth, though it’s important to consider how any changes will affect the brand and its loyal customers. Continue to focus on building the brand, increasing awareness and fostering a positive reputation to ensure that the brand is growing in the right direction.