Updated June 6, 2023
Introduction to Brand Management
When selling your product or service to many customers, it’s best first to connect all of them to a common platform and then clearly articulate what’s there for each. The goal should be to generate an engaging conversation allowing you to change perceptions, diagnose expectations, and forge clarity in the dialogue. That, in essence, is the moot point to develop a brand management strategy, i.e., the foundation of your communication, which builds authentic relationships between you and the audience. A brand strategy helps you to utilize your advertising, marketing, public relations, and social media, to accurately and consistently reinforce your product/service character.
What are the Principles of Brand Management?
Principles of Brand Management is all about capturing the target market for your product or service and generating confidence in the minds of the present and prospective customers. Branding aims to convey a message vividly, raise customer loyalty, and persuade an individual to buy the product, thereby establishing an emotional connection with customers. It also builds customer perceptions about a product or service. The main aim of branding is to create differentiation.
A strong brand reduces the perceived safety, monetary, and social risks of the customer buying a product or service. A customer can better perceive tangible goods with a brand name. A strong brand has a higher market share and should be given good support to sustain itself over the long run. It’s essential to manage all brands and build brand equity over time.
Here comes the usefulness and importance of brand management. A good brand management plan helps to build a corporate image, and the brand manager must oversee the overall brand performance. Successful brands are the result of a robust brand management system.
The Key Principles of Brand Management
Here are 12 major brand management principles that can usher in business success.
1. Define your brand
It begins with authenticity, the essential purpose, mission, vision, position, character, and value. Focus on what you can do best and then consistently communicate your strengths. There have been several instances where companies acquired other brands only to sell them off later because the acquisitions didn’t fit into the parent company’s brand architecture. Microsoft acquired Razorfish, a major internet and technological innovation company—when it bought aQuantive—a digital marketing service company—for about $6 billion in 2007. But a few years later, Microsoft sold off Razorfish for about $530 million.
Simply put, Razorfish didn’t fit Microsoft’s brand strategy well.
2. The brand is your business model
Support and challenge your business to maximize the potential of your brand. Think of personal brands like Richard Branson, Martha Stewart, or Barack Obama. These individuals almost built their businesses right atop their brand, and everything they offer extends that brand promise.
3. Consistency, consistency, and consistency
If that wasn’t enough, consistency in your message is always the key to differentiation. Own up to your position on all reference points for all that you do. Obama, for instance, focused on only one message during his 2008 presidential campaign: Change. Automobile central BMW has always been branded as the “ultimate driving machine.”
4. Start inside out
All those working for your company can tell you what they feel and think of your brand. And that’s the story you must place before your customers. Drive the impact beyond mere marketing walls. That’s how online apparel store Zappos empowers its employees to bolster customer perception about the brand.
5. Connect at the emotional level.
A brand is not just a logo, name, website, public relations exercise, or TV commercial. These are merely tools and not the brand. A brand is a much larger thing, a desirable idea manifested in products or services, places, people, and experiences. Coffee Central Starbucks created a third space experience that was exclusive and desirable so that people preferred staying back and paying for the overpriced coffee.
Try selling something which satisfies not only the physical needs of people but also their emotional needs. They will slowly start to identify with your brand.
6. Empower brand champions
Award those who love your brand and help to drive home a message so that they can be a part of the brand-building process. If your brand advocates stop telling you what you should do and shouldn’t, it’s about time you start evaluating the brand promise.
Go and speak to someone working at an Apple retail outlet or an iPad owner, and you’ll see how passionate they are about the company. It’s almost a culture and a lifestyle.
7. Stay flexible and relevant
A well-managed brand should always remain open to adjustments. Remember, branding is not a race but a process. It’s not an eventuality. So constantly tweak the message for your target group and refresh your company’s image. A successful brand will never cling to the traditional ways because they delivered results in the past. It has to adapt to the changing market conditions. It will always try to reinvent itself by being flexible. Companies embracing change positively will be able to free themselves to become more creative and savvy.
Sample this: Hyundai Motors introduced an assurance program when the global economy went southwards in 2009. It allowed buyers to return their cars if they suffered a job loss, with no outstanding financial obligation or damage to the owner’s credit.
At the end of February 2010, only two buyers returned their cars. But at the same time, Hyundai’s sales saw a 14% year-on-year jump. Hyundai was one of the only two companies able to increase its revenue in those hard times of truncated business activity, while companies like Honda saw sales plummet by over 30%. The Korean automobile major again rebranded its image with another program by guaranteeing a year’s worth of free gasoline at $1.49 per gallon across most models, when gas prices pushed higher during the peak summer travel months. It was less clever marketing and more of a carefully devised rebranding strategy.
8. Align your tactics with your strategy
Convey your brand statement using specific campaign objectives on the most appropriate media platform. Each day, consumers are bombarded with commercial messages. It often becomes overkill. Many customers actively block commercials on the internet or switch channels on TV. Invest your branding efforts in the right platform which communicates it to the target audience.
While TV may be the most expensive, it has a broader reach and can produce instant results. On the other hand, social media is much cheaper but has a longer response time. The resources may not give a prompt outcome if that’s what you want.
9. Measure the effectiveness
Focus on the return on investment (ROI), which is a crucial indicator to measure the effectiveness of your brand management strategies. It often depends on how well your company can be inspired to carry out these strategies. The significance is also reflected in your brand valuation, i.e., how the customers react to your product and price adjustments. Brand readjustments should lead to better sales and profits. But focus on more than just increasing sales when you can achieve better margins by reducing expenses and overheads.
There are several options to test various marketing tactics. Just make sure they complement your brand authenticity and also align with the strategy you have taken.
10. Keep enemies closer
Even if you have one of the most highly desirable and innovative products or services, expect new competitors with a better value proposition to enter the market some days down the line. A call, regardless of the product or service, is never small enough to discourage new players from entering it and create competition. You’ll always find another competitor delivering faster, better, and, more importantly, cheaper products or services. Call it innovation economics or hyper-competition; peer challenge could be better for you, believe it or not. It urges you to raise your strategy and give more value.
For instance, look at how the big three automobile manufacturers—Ford, General Motors (GM), and Chrysler—were crushed in the past decade by car makers from Japan and Germany. Not only the latter made better cars, but they also did that more efficiently and commanded much better brand loyalty. Toyota, in 2008, beat GM, while Honda overtook Chrysler in the US market.
11. Cultivate your community
The community is an effective and powerful platform that can engage buyers and also create loyalty toward the brand. In active communities, members are urged to connect regarding your brand’s consumption. All of us want to be an insider to something. It is usually exciting for us to tell others in our community that we have some exclusive knowledge about something.
In several ways, we take pride in our ego to be part of a professional group or, say, a sports team. Which car would the members of a Jaguar club consider at the time of purchasing their next vehicle? A brand community allows companies to collaborate with customers across all sections of value creation via crowdsourcing, like pricing strategy, product design, availability, and selling metrics.
12. Brand strategy thinking
CEO of IDEO, Tim Brown, calls design thinking a “process for creating new choices.” It means not just settling for the available alternatives but thinking outside the box sans being limited. The concept, in effect, applies to the brand strategy creation process that experts often term brand strategy thinking. It’s always easier to execute tactics instead of introducing a new strategy because that could imply a possibility of failure. It’s always much more accessible to copy what worked for the competitor than create something creative and original.
But the fact is, you can’t do that because it violates the very basics of brand management. Branding is about creating the correct experience, which involves all stakeholders devising a better strategy. Leveraging the ecosystem, which includes your partners, employees, and customers, to help you articulate the brand strategy so that they can sync together could be a wonderful idea.
Why do Customers Matter?
Present and prospective customers will identify your company, the product or service, and your status in the market via your brand. A great brand is built via strong messages, advertisements, and images. But whether you realize it or not, your company is carving out goodwill and reputation with everything you and your sales channel do. Thus, you must ensure you continuously live up to your brand’s promise daily.
Upholding your product or service’s image is crucial to brand management. A proper brand management strategy must ensure that all promotional pieces, touchpoints, and every use of your logo, name, and message support the company and its goals by reinforcing the brand in the planned way. This would enable you to continue strengthening your brand’s association with customers. Many reputed brands fell apart in the past for not being adequately managed.
Most large companies hire a full-time brand manager to ensure that the brand earns goodwill in the market, which at the same time, is not misused. Even with brand managers, producing top-quality campaigns could be challenging for most brand management companies.
What does Principles of Brand Management lead to? An appropriate brand management strategy will bring meaning and clarity to your product or service so that you can focus on making, creating, and selling things that people genuinely care about. Once you do that, your brand will become unique and memorable and earn a reputation in the market. But then also begins the most challenging part, i.e., upholding the brand value in the coming days.
We hope that this EDUCBA information on “Principles of Brand Management” was beneficial to you. You can view EDUCBA’s recommended articles for more information.