The Value of Strategic Brand Management
Before we jump into the topic of strategic brand management and the value provided by it, we must first discuss what exactly it is and why it has become increasingly important to have.
The argument for investing in brand management
Managing a brand encompasses a wide array of aspects, such as centralizing digital assets and maintaining brand consistency. The strategy behind successful brand management is in the long term management of your company's brand. When a company establishes a brand strategy, they are ensuring that their brand can grow in a way that will support the business long into the future while also maintaining its core values. A brand strategy is a long-term plan to achieve a series of long-term goals that ultimately result in the identification and preference of your brand by consumers.
Benefits to having a brand management strategy
Now that we know what strategic brand management is, we can start to discuss the importance of it in an organization. We can break down the benefits of this into 4 main parts, which are:
- Improving brand perception, which increases your selling power by building onto the trust you share with your customers
- Increasing customer loyalty, thus increasing retention and brand value
- Improves the relationship with your employees by making them feel closer and more connected with the company and its values
- Create differentiation in your brand vs your competitors, and show uniqueness to your customers
Where to start
While the process of creating a successful brand strategy may seem daunting at first, the task itself can be broken down into smaller ones. Some of these may already be defined inside of your organization, but if not, they present a good starting point for creating a strategy. These are as follow:
- Make sure that your brand position and your core values are aligned
- Constantly monitor your brand’s reputation and value
- Centralize your brand material to ensure your brand is used correctly (where, when, and how)
- Measure and analyze your brand's performance often
How to develop your brand management strategy
In the next section, we will dig deeper into these objectives and provide more detail on how to measure them.
Put some thought into it
Determining the position of your brand and the goal your company wants to achieve takes lots of time and thought. Building a strong brand is not something that can be done overnight. Research should be done on the position of all your competitors in order to position your brand in a way that will set it apart from the rest. Integrate your core values into your brand, and in creating a brand space you will find a niche position to connect with your audience. This brings authenticity and also helps you connect with your customers. Once you find the values you want to display in your brand, make sure you stick to them. Make every decision based on if they fit into your brand and stand by your choices.
When building a brand and managing your reputation, media monitoring and social listening are some of the best tools to use. They allow you to know what is being said about your brand, by who, and where it is said. This will prepare for the future of your brand and gives the opportunity to steer a brand away from any potential negative publicity. Negative publicity can hurt your brand and lower the value consumers place on your brand. A lack of trust in your brand with consumers can lead to permanent damage to your company. A quick way to measure your brand's value is NPS. The role of brand reputation management is to be constantly monitoring and taking steps to ensure that your brand is protected from any negativity that may arise. A brand is only as strong as what the consumer thinks of it.
Keeping your communications on brand is an extremely vital part of any fine-tuned brand strategy. Regardless of the size of your company, centralizing your brand assets and guidelines is necessary for success. Building a brand system is something that can be achieved in a variety of ways. The traditional approach to this is by creating brand guidelines in a PDF that would then be sent to stakeholders and external brand builders entailing how to use your brand. This PDF would be attached to a large collection of assets either on Dropbox or on a Google Drive file. The other, more streamlined approach to this, is by creating a digital home for your brand in the cloud. There are currently a few options for this, such as SHO.ai and the BrandOS software that they offer, which helps by simplifying and automating the process. The advantage of this approach is that brand guidelines are centralized, always up to date, and can be shared with a single link. Software for brand management also contains libraries for all of your digital assets and helps employees use the right assets for the projects they are working on. Whichever way you choose to go, make sure you are centralizing your brand in one location and are ensuring ease of use and simplicity.
After your brand management strategy is defined and implemented, constant optimization and analysis needs to be conducted to ensure the best results. There are three areas that need to be covered when analyzing your brand, internal branding, external branding, and customer experience. Internal branding consists of your brand values, position, and company culture. Eternal branding consists of any advertising, marketing materials, public relations, social media, content marketing, newsletters, and your website. Customer Experience consists of your company's sales process and customer support. When checking over all of these aspects of a brand, make sure that they are all consistent. Ask yourself, “Is everyone in the company showing the brand in all of their actions?”. Don't forget to check in with your customers. Ask them questions about the appearance of your brand and how they view it. From that, you can see if any changes need to be made to get back on track. These brand audits should be done regularly, or at a minimum, each quarter. This will not only help you to stay on track with your brand and the goals you have set for yourself, but will also help avoid being drug down any unforeseen events that may affect your brand.
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