Did you know that it takes up to 7 impressions for people to start recalling and remembering a brand?
The guys that are responsible for knowing these stats are your brand managers. These are the people who truly make a business, a brand. They’re the ones who know that over 89% of people will stay loyal to brands that share similar values to them.
It all boils down to brand management.
Whether you’re a creative digital marketer who needs to know more about brand management or even a marketing intern who is eager to just learn: keep reading our ultimate guide to brand management and leave here almost a pro!
What Is Brand Management?
Brand management is one of those hard-to-define terms that marketers and CEOs seem to meaninglessly throw around the meeting room without any real oomph.
The fact is, brand management should carry much more weight than it does because fundamentally, it’s the level of brand awareness that your business has and needs.
It’s made of how the team uses branding to maintain better products and the perception of your brand. When done properly, brand management can be what drives customer loyalty and truly helps you to establish meaningful awareness of your brand.
The easiest way to understand it is as follows:
First, you create a brand. Then, you manage it. Brand management is the second phase of this process.
Brand Management Benefits
Brand management comes with a long list of benefits, some of which you may start to see immediately, others can take years to reap.
The list of benefits may seem short, but the value they can give to your business is almost priceless.
- can help you increase sales figures through higher customer advocacy
- is how you can continue to build a powerful brand awareness presence
- means you can leverage the best pricing to your customers through the association with a higher-value brand
- is how you will create and maintain longer customer relationships and increase customer loyalty
It’s really important though that you realize you can only reap these benefits if you remain committed to the strategy and the tactics that your brand management efforts are based upon.
You cannot perform one or two things and then expect to see the benefits. You need to stay on the journey.
Basic Principles of Brand Management
The basic principles of brand management are not a long list but it is one that you need to be prepared to constantly work on.
Also, you cannot simply implement one principle without the rest, the brand management machine will not run without all the gears in place. It would be like trying to implement social media tactics without a solid digital marketing strategy, a big no-no! 1. Brand Equity
Brand equity is what creates ultimate value as a result of reputation, perception, and brand impression.
Brand equity is what changes the value of your product or service simply because it’s sold as part of the brand and how it’s viewed. People will trust brands over products and services every time.
What does this all mean? Well, brand equity is what gives you the chance to increase prices simply because your brand’s perceived as high in the market. 2. Brand Recognition
Brand recognition is almost completely self-explanatory. You can describe brand recognition as how easy it is for audiences and consumers to recognize and identify your brand without seeing the name or hearing it said.
The best way to describe this is how easy it would be for you to recognize a famous brand simply by seeing its logo or iconography. Imagine how easily you would identify Coca-Cola just by seeing the two C’s that make up their logo.
Also, a good example would be if you’ve been scrolling Facebook and Instagram only for a video ad to start playing, and before the name of the brand has even shown up, you know who it belongs to.
THAT is brand recognition at work.
If you can create that, it’s so powerful for your brand to connect with customers in that way. 3. Brand Loyalty
Now, there’s virtually no point to brand equity and brand recognition if you cannot get them to do the second lap in the race. How do you go the distance?
Easy. You get your customers to come back for more. Time and time again.
Brand loyalty is just that. Over time, with positive experiences and good service, you’ll begin to promote healthy relationships with your customer base. This means that the people who buy from you will become hopelessly devoted (Thanks Olivia Newton-John!) to you and will not be open to buying from your competitors.
Brand loyalty is when a customer is devoted to a particular brand over their competitors. Note that brand loyalty isn’t customer loyalty, which involves the customer’s buying a product or service because of its specific quality.
What Is a Brand Identity?
Brand identity is the foundation upon which you build your brand management plan. You cannot venture into an expedition without the proper tools at hand.
You make up your brand identity of all the visual elements that make your brand stand out. But alas, don’t get confused!
Brand identity is not your logo and it’s not the image behind your brand. Oh no! Brand identity is what your customers and prospects, and even you, can see when it comes to all and every visual aspect that makes up your brand.
- your logo
- all the different variations of said logo
- your brand colors and the color palette in its entirety
- typefaces, fonts, and all typographic elements
- the style of your images and all your visual content
- graphical elements like icons
- brand style manual
- your visual identity on your website and your social media platforms
Brand identity is the entire package. It’s the shoes your brand wears, the way that it speaks, the way it behaves, and how its hair has been styled.
Brand Identity Design Basics
As you can tell, you make up your brand identity by how you design all the elements to create an overall look and feel.
So what goes into creating and designing the ultimate brand identity? 1. Clearly Defined Purpose and Positioning
Your brand purpose is exactly that, why does your brand exist? What ultimate purpose does it have?
Brand positioning is what you’ll do to ensure your product sticks out in the minds of your consumers and ideal target customers. Basically, brand positioning is how you make your brand purpose actionable and feasible. 2. Detailed Market Research
You wouldn’t take a product to market unless you’d done the research and you knew that it would sell well. The same goes for your brand and how it behaves in the market.
You can really help your brand’s purpose and positioning if you back the strategic direction by researching potential customers and your industry market. 3. Personable Brand Personality
Brand personality can be best described as how your brand would be if they were a person.
The brand personality should pull through in all places that your brand appears, from how your images on social media look to how your content on your website sounds.
Really, how likable is your brand? 4. Designed Elements For Your Brand
Ensure that all the touchpoints of your brand are well-designed, high-quality, and unique.
Your logo should be memorable and easy to recognize.
The typeface and font that you use across all platforms and in traditional marketing collateral should be true to the image you’re portraying for your brand.
A cohesive color palette is really important to pulling all your brand designs together. An off-the-cuff good example is if you had a renewable energy company then you probably wouldn’t choose to go with bright red colors for your branding.
Creation Of a Style Guide For Your Brand
The creation of a style guide or brand guide for your business is key to the consistency of your brand. A brand style guide is your instruction manual as to how your brand should be communicated at every level, on every medium, and at all times.
Your brand style guide is where you go to answer tougher branding questions. For example, the average Joe may think that your brand color palette is simply made up of greens and yellows, but a designer and marketer would know that these are very, very specific colors with very specific codes.
The style guide will tell you how to use your logo in different scenarios, where logos should be placed, what kind of font should go with your logo and many more difficult-to-answer questions.
The challenge is not that you don’t know these things, or that your marketing department will know these things, but people leave, and change positions, among other things, a style guide is the easy way to onboard new designers, marketers, and just about anybody else who may be working with the brand.
Common Branding Mistakes
Whether your business operates in a B2C environment, or your marketing is B2B-based, there are common branding mistakes that need to be avoided for any and all businesses.
1. Don’t Go Cheap Or Fast
Often when an entrepreneur is starting out, they feel the need to put together a logo and a name as fast as possible in order to start operating. We understand the reasoning behind this, but starting with a cheap design can often be harder and more expensive to improve upon later.
Rather try to put aside a decent budget and have something more than sufficient to launch your brand with.
2. Not Differentiating Your Brand
Another common branding mistake is when businesses fail to make their business stand out.
Spend time researching your competitors and see what it is you can do to help your brand be unique and stand out within your industry. Simply search for a unique angle and go with that.
3. Failure To Provide A Positive Experience
Some businesses forget that becoming a customer of a brand is somewhere a journey, and the entire experience should be a positive one.
This means that your brand management needs to extend through to every avenue in which your customer comes into contact with your brand. Everything from the staff that you employ to the systems you have in place will contribute positively, or negatively, to your customer’s brand experience.
Marketing and Branding: The Lowdown
Some people still don’t understand that marketing and branding are not the same things. Yes, they take each other hand in hand and they’re fast friends, but still, they’re not the same thing.
Branding is the culture that is your brand and your business. Marketing is the tools and processes that you use to promote your business.
Branding is what keeps your marketing efforts streamlined and consistent. Marketing is how you plan to tactically make sales.
Branding is how your customer feels when making that purchase. Marketing is the courting, the dating, the dinners, and the ring that you use to get to the proposal.
Branding is the declaration of love, the delirious happiness, the undying loyalty between you and your customer once you’re married.
Brilliant Brand Management Victories
Finding success with brand management means one thing: starting with a clear brand strategy. If your journey starts with one successful step in the right direction, then you’ll be setting yourself up for a great ride.
Stay consistent with everything that your brand is and what you’ve worked so hard to make your brand into.
Now that we’ve got a handle on brand management, you should head over and read up on our social media tips for brand messaging, you won’t regret it!