Brand management refers to the process of maintaining, improving and upholding a brand so that it is linked with positive results. Brand management comprises several important elements, including customer satisfaction, cost, presentation, and competition. It is a vital key to success for any business. In this article, we will look further into brand management, highlight its importance, and share valuable information about this important practice.
Brand management is the term that is used to describe all of the aspects of the design, the placement, the advertising, the placement, and the distribution of a brand. Ultimately, it fosters the identity of a brand’s personality. Brand management involves using specific techniques in a strategic way in order to enhance the perceived value of a brand.
When it is done properly, brand management makes it possible to raise the prices of products, builds a loyal customer base, and builds a greater awareness of a brand. In order to develop a strategic plan that can offer these benefits, a comprehensive understanding of the brand, the market that it is targeting, and the overall vision of a company is necessary.
The Purpose of Brand Management
It’s no secret that brands can have a very powerful influence on the customers that a company engages, the competition a company faces, as well as the overall management of a company. When a company has a strong brand presence, that company’s products and services are differentiated from its competitors, certifying that the goods a specific company offers are ultimately better than the competition and will better meet the needs of consumers.
It takes a great deal of time and effort to establish a brand; however, once it is established, it has to be maintained in order to ensure that it continues to deliver the purposes that it is supposed to for a company. Some of the most notable brands that have established themselves as proven leaders in their respective markets include:
- McDonald’s (fast food industry)
- Coca-Cola (soft drink industry)
- Nike (athletic gear and footwear industries)
- Ford (automotive industry)
- IBM (technology industry)
- Proctor and Gamble (consumer goods industry)
The mistake that so many businesses and so many online businesses make in particular, is to think that branding and ‘logo design’ are one and the same. They are not.
A logo is an image that is intended to help sell the company and to help promote its best qualities. Companies hope that their logos will become synonymous with the services and products they provide but also with their quality. This starts with a mission statement. By assessing what the company is all about and what image it wants to project to the world.
The concept of the ‘golden circle’ is one that many CEOs will not have heard of, but is also one that could prove to be instrumental in helping you take your business to the stratosphere if creator Simon Sinek is correct. Those of you who have heard the term, will most likely have done so after watching the author’s inspiring TED talk on the subject. Or perhaps you will have seen his website at ‘StartWithWhy’ – but you may still be wondering how the idea could apply to web marketing.
Here then we will look at precisely what the golden circle is, we will look at why it is such a powerful tool for marketers of any kind, and we will look at how you can apply the concept in practice to your SEO and other web marketing.
What is the Golden Circle?
According to Sinek, the golden circle is a tool used to illustrate a ‘naturally occurring pattern’ that may be able to explain how great leaders and speakers manage to create social movements. The diagram is composed essentially of three circles one inside the other with a word labelling each. The outermost layer here is ‘what’, the middle layer is ‘how’ and the inner circle is ‘why’.
Essentially this is supposed to identify the way we make decisions versus the way that most companies communicate. While most of our decisions start with the ‘why’ and the emotional impulse, most businesses when trying to persuade you to buy (or visit their website) will instead start with ‘what’.
A company trying to sell you a computer for instance might tell you that they have a great new computer and that it’s laden with the latest specs. They’ll tell you the price and where you can get it and they’ll show you pictures, but they often forget to show you why you should buy it or why they made it. This, according to Sinek, is the difference between companies like Apple that have a huge global impact and those that do not: the big companies are more adept and showing people why they do what they do and what they believe.
Applying the Golden Circle to Marketing
The central argument here then, is that people don’t buy ‘what’ you do, but rather ‘why’ you do it. So, if you want to get people to buy your product, you need to make that product seem interesting and seem like it’s worth caring about by showing them what you believe. A more powerful advertisement then would start by saying what you believe (that laptops should be beautiful, powerful and desirable) and then by backing that up with the details.
You need to show this message at every opportunity – including in your articles, the article titles and in your author bios. It should be apparent in your logo, in your web design and in your products. You need cohesion and you need to stand for something. You need to demonstrate why you do what you do and what you believe, so that every time someone reads any of your writing, you get them behind what you do and you get them to believe what you believe.
How Brand Management Works
A brand manager is responsible for managing all of the tangible and intangible properties that are associated with a brand.
Tangible properties include the following elements of a brand’s products and/or services:
- Colors that are associated with the brand
These features are used to grab the attention of the targeted audience. They are also used to differentia one company from another. For example, some brands are associated with specific catch phrases, jingles, and mascots that remain in the minds of consumers. For example, hearing the phrase “like a good neighbor” calls to mind the insurance agency giant State Farm, and hearing the phrase “do it” automatically makes people think of Nike.
The role of the brand manager is to assess how the public views a brand. This is done by taking the intangible factors of the brand into account.
Intangible factors include:
- The experiences consumers have with the brand
- The emotional connection that consumers have with a company’s products or services
The intangible characteristics of a brand help to build brand equity, the price above the value of a product or service that customers are willing to pay in order to acquire the goods that a brand offers. Brand equity is considered an intangible asset, as its value is ultimately determined by the perception consumers have of a brand. If customers are willing to pay more for a specific brand than they are for another, even though both brands essentially offer the same functions, the equity of the brand that consumers are willing to pay more for will increase in value. Conversely, the value of brand equity declines when shoppers would prefer to purchase a similar product that has a lower price tag than a specific brand.
Brand Management Requires a Compete Approach to Management
Brands have an extremely powerful influence, not just on customer engagement, but on the management of an enterprise, as well. Therefore, trust is the pivot point of brand management. Without trust, the promise a brand makes will be broken. Customers develop trust in a brand; they grow to rely on it and all that it represents.
Types of Brands
In the business world, there are five main types of brands. These include:
- Products. Tangible products are most commonly associated with brands. When a brand comprises more than one product, a unifying attribute will be identified and will be used to represent the brand. For instance, For example, Ford is a singular brand, and all of the models that the manufacturer makes fall under this single brand.
- Services. Services are brands that conduct intangible activities; offering solutions that meet customers’ needs for a specific task, for example. When products are not a variable, services constitute a large variable of a brand.
- An Individual. People can also have their own brands. In these instances, brands are based on an individual’s personality, position, influence, and fame. An individual brand can be an expression of a person’s personality, or it can be image that has been purposefully developed.
- An Organization. Businesses that offer products or services can also be brands. For example, Geico, State Farm, Target, Macy’s and Goldman Sachs are all organizations that are considered brands. Consumers associated certain qualities, products or services with an organization brand.
- An Event. Events can also have brands. These brands are associated with the experience that people have when they attend an event, or from the connection they make with the reason why an event is being held. For example, The Olympics are considered a brand.
Brand Management and Reputation Management
From there, brand management means protecting the brand image and influencing its development.
Your objective here is to ensure that people see your company name and they associate with it positively. You do this in a number of ways, including through the use of reputation management.
The general idea behind online reputation management is to take control of your company's reputation on the net and thus hopefully change the way that potential customers see your business for the better. Often this means performing SEO for sites other than your own in a bid to make those pages that show you in a good light move to the top and to bury pages that aren't so flattering.
Of course reputation management isn't only about using SEO to promote a positive message. This is actually a very broad term that incorporates a number of different elements – the most basic form of online reputation management is creating your website! This is the main role of many business sites on the net in fact: to act as an 'ambassador' for that brand.
Other activities that would fall under the banner of reputation management might include responding to comments and criticisms on forums, sending out review copies of your items to sites you'd like to get a mention on or involving your brand in charitable events and other things that might put your business in a good light. Making sure you take the time to respond to comments, to answer your critics and to give your site a personality that customers can trust can make all the difference to the way your brand is perceived.
Likewise, it might involve course correction if your company makes mistakes. It might mean ensuring a cohesive message and quality control during the development of future products.
As with all good marketing, the idea here is not to try and 'game' the system or to pull the wool over anyone's eyes. Trying to be dishonest will only come back to haunt you in the end. Rather this is about taking part in the community, trying to do the right thing and creating your own online presence so that you have some say in how it turns out.