What is brand management?
Once you have completed brand development or rebranding, your brand needs to be continually maintained, managed and nurtured through innovation and creativity to ensure it remains credible, unique, and relevant to your customers. Brand management is the marketing function that maintains, improves and upholds brand, with the purpose of increasing its value over time. Effective brand management builds awareness and loyal customers through positive brand associations.
Brand management involves developing a long-term brand strategy, detailing the brand positioning, values, personality, brand story, elevator statement, tone of voice, key messaging, a brand architecture strategy and/or portfolio strategy if you have sub-brands or multiple products, customer value propositions (CVPs) if you have multiple audiences, and an employee value proposition (EVP). Brand guidelines for logo and visual identity application are an important attachment to the brand strategy. Generally, a brand strategy is not revised more frequently than once every 3-5 years.
Brand managers are then responsible for developing a yearly brand marketing strategy including marketing objectives and strategies, a marketing plan including tactics to achieve the objectives and a calendar showing the rollout timing of marketing initiatives.
How do you achieve best-in-class brand management?
Build & maintain consistency
The key to successful brand building is consistency. The importance of consistency should be instilled not only in your marketing team, but your entire organisation and suppliers. Consistency is important in everything from brand logo and visual identity application, to messaging and tone of voice, to employee behaviours and customer experience.
Be adaptable & flexible
Although consistency is extremely important, it's not about being rigid and inflexible. Successful brands achieve an optimal balance between applying brand frameworks and rules, and remaining sufficiently flexible to adapt to customer needs and leverage emerging opportunities. Without this flexibility your brand risks becoming irrelevant and obsolete in your customers' minds.
Revisit your actions against your brand positioning regularly
To ensure any brand flexibility is not diluting your brand positioning and core values, and that you 'stay true' to your brand over time, each time you make a new decision regarding your brand, revisit its brand positioning and evaluate your decision against it.
Create an internal network of brand champions
Create a group of brand champions consisting of passionate employees. Educate and train them about the importance and power of brand, and about your brand - what it stands for, what it asks of employees, and how it needs to be applied. Ask them to be custodians of your brand, and to guide and assist other employees to live and breathe the brand and apply it in the right way. Having a network of brand ambassadors is especially important in organisations which are large and/or geographically dispersed.
The increasing sophistication of technology, the digital environment, social media, CRM systems and brand measurement makes it much easier for brand managers to stay close to their consumers and predict or identify trends. To maintain brand relevance, it's important to stay ahead of the curve. Use the information you gather to be proactive and evolve your brand in line with consumer wants and needs.
Measure and adjust your brand
To ensure your brand is moving in the right direction in terms of awareness, customer perceptions, intention to buy, loyalty, delivering on its promise, customer service, market share, sales and employee engagement, you'll need to measure these brand metrics. It's a good idea to measure before and after important initiatives, for example, rebrands, refreshes and major promotional campaigns. That way, you have a benchmark to measure your success against so you can prove ROI. It's also important to measure your brand over time. See our brand research page for more information on research and brand tracking.
The benefits of effective brand management
Effective brand management builds your brand equity over time, as it:
- builds brand awareness, familiarity and recognition via consistent application of your logo and visual identity, key messaging and copy
- ensures consistent, dependable customer experience via reinforcement of your brand positioning through every brand touchpoint and initiative, from advertising and promotions to events to everyday customer service to the launch of new products
- builds positive brand associations and customer preference
- builds customer loyalty and allows you to increase your prices
All of these aspects combine to drive sales, and ultimately your brand value, up.