What comes to mind when you think of the phrase ‘world-class brand’? Apple? McDonald’s? Nike?
While there are a number of brands you’ll find across the globe, one of the things that makes these world-class brands stand out and have a long lasting impact on a global scale is their brand management.
What is brand management though? In marketing, brand management is defined as a series of activities used to increase the perceived value of a product or service. Or, as Bynder would more eloquently say, it is described as the “marketing strategies to maintain, improve and bring awareness to the wider value and reputation of a brand and its products over time.”
But does brand management still have some relevance in 2021? The short answer? Yes, because your brand is so much more than logos and taglines. It’s the culmination of every experience that a person has with your business, and the perception that gets left in their mind. So marketers, if you don’t know yet, here are 5 things you should know about brand management, and how important it is to your continued success.
You need a brand to actually manage
This might sound rather obvious but brand management has two main aspects: establishing the brand and then managing it. More often than not, marketers find themselves dedicating a good amount of time towards managing said brand, but without a strong brand, there really isn’t a brand to manage.
Establishing a brand to manage is so much more than the creation and maintenance of logos, taglines and fonts. It’s about truly creating something that stands out from the rest, developing a unique value proposition and then selling that to your target audience. You have to be different, in this day and age, in order to establish a well-oiled brand that can be effectively managed.
Don’t neglect brand awareness activities
Fun fact when it comes to brand management: brand awareness is actually pretty crucial. If your target audience has no idea who you are or don’t even consider you in their customer journey and purchasing decisions, you’re going to lose out to your competitors.
And so, if you want future customers to have your brand be top of mind when making purchasing decisions, you’re going to need to do some marketing and advertising to get your brand name out there. There’s no need for star-studded, jaw dropping brand awareness efforts (although no one is holding you back if you’d like to do this). Just make sure that the message you share to your target audience actually speaks to them and encourages engagement with your brand awareness activities.
Have a finger on the pulse when it comes to your customers
It’s one thing to have your target audience know about your brand; it’s a different ball game when it comes to having your brand know how to reach said target audience. With the use of tools, such as Meltwater’s Audiense, you have a much clearer idea of who your target audience is – their habits and behaviours, their interests and values. Insights like this help brands with tailoring their marketing strategies to meet their customers.
Knowing your audience, and reaching out to them are just a few slices of the brand management pie; marketers should also work on building loyal customers. Having loyalty programs and rewarding customers helps but don’t underestimate the power that great customer service has in creating loyal customers. Maya Angelou once said: “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.
When executed right, customer service can be the very thing that makes people feel more connected to your brand, and in turn, feel more loyal because of the empowering encounter that great customer service can be between your brand and your customers.
Consistency really is key
Another no brainer in the marketing world but one does need to be reminded every now and then about the importance of being consistent. From content to tone of voice, a well managed brand knows how to reflect its brand identity and personality in a consistent manner, and across different media channels.
One of the best ways to ensure that you keep consistency within your brand is to create brand guidelines. These are documents that contain information on what your brand’s logo, fonts, colours, and other design attributes are, and how to go about using them publicly. As marketers, you want to ensure that you keep a consistent perception in the minds of your customers – with the operative word being consistent.
Brand management is always active
Once your brand has been created, the real work truly begins, because the work of brand management is ongoing and always active. Like oxygen to the human body, managing a brand happens constantly. Things like logos, taglines, and copy need to be aligned with your brand guidelines. Your messaging on social media should have a similar brand tone and feel as brochures and mailers. All interactions with your brand should positively reinforce your brand identity and personality.
Without proper management, a brand’s image can fade away. So marketers need to ensure that they are active in keeping a brand alive. Do more of what sets your brand apart and work on remaining consistent so that you remain relevant in 2021 and beyond.
The thoughts expressed in this external contribution are those of the author.
Khalipha Ntloko is the junior content marketer at Meltwater, the global leaders in media intelligence and social analytics, and a company focused on providing its customers with solutions that help them make more informed decisions. With her experience in Marketing, Khalipha enjoys sharing tips, insights and best practices on content marketing and social media management.
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