With the sheer volume of companies and organisations competing to attract and retain customers, strategic brand management has become a key market differentiator. Moreover, increased digitisation has added another layer of complexity to branding and brand management because establishing an online brand presence has its own set of challenges. Plus, customers today are more aware and specific about their needs and wants. Therefore, it is pertinent that companies understand their target audience and research market competitors well before applying any branding strategy.
That’s where strategic brand management comes into the picture.
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Top 10 Ways for Successful Brand Management
Strategic brand management involves leveraging traditional, functional, digital, and social media resources to establish and ensure brand consistency across different contact points. Eventually, the goal is to achieve a strong brand presence, lead generation, conversion, sales, increased retention, and sustainability.
So, here’s a list of 10 ways to successfully manage a brand.
1. Lay down rules
The first and foremost step is to set down parameters of the brand’s market image or how consumers should perceive the brand. It involves laying down criteria brand assets must satisfy and the rules of brand asset management, including the brand logo and design, use cases, or image rights. Equally critical is keeping a record of the set rules and updating them so that they are accessible to everyone involved in using and managing brand assets.
2. Start in-house
Sometimes the best resources of brand management are right in front of you. It’s kind of like the popular phrase: charity begins at home. Empowering and educating your team members and getting your employees on board to be your brand advocates is a practical way to boost your brand management efforts. Moreover, setting rules is meaningless unless everyone understands the rationale behind why they are in place. Ensuring that everyone understands the rules regarding who can use brand assets, why, and where helps employees take wise business decisions.
3. Define workflows
Besides bringing employees onboard, a critical aspect of successful brand asset management is defining workflows that will help employees understand the scope of their tasks. Workflows with coherent and unambiguous action points over asset use allow transparent brand management and enable employees to make the right choices and avoid poor decisions in the future. Transparent and clearly-defined workflows allow better collaboration and minimising misunderstandings.
4. Centralise brand assets
Centralising brand assets ensures transparency and easy accessibility. With all brand assets in a single place, it is easier to spot the ones at the company’s disposal, those that need updates, and the gaps that need to be filled without wasting resources on duplications and creating rights issues. Moreover, centralised assets enable simultaneous access across all departments to promote increased collaboration across the business. It also saves time by eliminating the need for one department to finish its workflow before another can access the assets.
5. Build an emotional connection
If you think about companies like Starbucks or McDonald’s, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Apart from their offerings, the most striking aspect of the super successful coffee shop and fast food restaurant chain is that people instantly recognise them. Be it McDonald’s clown or the twin-tailed mermaid logo on Starbucks cups, these brands have not only carved a niche in the global food industry but have also become a household name. Moreover, their product placement on the big screen has served both promotional purposes and helped connect with a global customer base.
6. Focus on the brand logo
The logo is the most critical representation of a brand because it instantly enables consumers to recognise a company. Taking the previous example of McDonald’s and Starbucks, it is pretty clear that the brand logo embodies its creative side and makes a lasting impression in the consumers’ minds. Also, consider the logo of Apple. Well, it’s a bitten apple, something very mundane and ordinary. Yet, consumers who swear by Apple products can immediately associate the symbol with the brand. So, putting considerable thought into a singular logo that justifies the brand’s theme is paramount for brand positioning.
7. Develop an impactful brand strategy
Brand strategy, also known as a brand development strategy, refers to the long-term policies and plans of action to achieve long-term goals that eventually result in consumers identifying and preferring a brand over others. In other words, a successful brand strategy involves letting the target audience know that a brand exists, what defines it, and the purpose it serves. Therefore, investing time into developing a thoughtful and impactful brand strategy is an inevitable facet of brand management.
8. Create a robust social media presence
Social media usage is no longer restricted to teens and young adults today. With increased access to smartphones and the internet, almost every other person out there has some kind of social media presence. So then, why shouldn’t your brand? Popular social media sites have domain authority strong enough to rank higher in search engine result pages and generate more organic traffic than a website alone could. But the key is to stay on-brand and connect with your audience instead of giving the impression that a robot is handling your social media account.
9. Bring value and pay attention to customer experience
Say your company specialises in sports gear and apparel. Being a sports brand, your focus should be on enhancing the performance of athletes and sportspersons and empowering them through your products. The point is that regardless of your domain, understanding your customers’ needs and behaviours is critical for brand management. Therefore, when building a brand, it is crucial to analyse the customer and the customer journey, find out why and when they would buy your product, and how your brand can fulfil their needs.
10. Be consistent in your branding
A brand needs to be consistent for it to grow and develop. Why should consumers pick your brand over another? Is there anything unique about your brand apart from the services and offerings? Put simply, there could be hundreds of other brands that have similar offerings as you, but what makes customers loyal to a brand is not merely the products or services. Consistency is the key to developing a long-lasting relationship with your audience. If you want them to choose you over a competitor, you need to provide a level of trust and transparency that is more valuable than any tangible asset. In other words, everything you push out under your brand’s name should have a consistent message.
A company’s most valuable asset is a recognisable and consistent brand that is visible across both digital and traditional platforms. However, it can be pretty challenging to effectively and strategically manage a brand across ever-changing delivery channels while interacting with a wide range of consumers and stakeholders. Therefore, brands must maintain a consistent voice and personality across multiple platforms and keep an eye on brand asset management.
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