Brand management, as the name suggests, is the process of managing a brand in a manner that assimilates its positive image amidst the target audience. From product development or marketing to building a loyal customer base, everything falls under the spectrum of brand management. It can be described as a collection of different techniques that helps brands or companies build a unique identity for their products and services in the mind of their target market.
Branding is a challenging concept holding the potential to build or kill a brand, depending on the different strategies applied. Some examples of the most successful brands that have set themselves ahead of their competitors by following a solid brand strategy include Tesla, Apple, Trader Joe’s, and Nike, among others. Nike’s brand awareness in the United States is considered to be as high as 95%1.
Importance of Brand Management
A strategic brand management process is important for a plethora of reasons. It not only helps to create an emotional bond between consumers and companies but also helps to build customer loyalty.
In this era of extensive competition, several companies sell the same product or offer the same service. What differentiates these companies from one another is the brand. It helps to position the offering in a distinctive way that creates a marketplace for the company and also helps to boost customer value.
Brand should be viewed as an experience that stays in the customers’ minds for a long time. Successful brand management is only when consumers can recall the particular experience/brand when surrounded by the necessary trigger points related to the product usage or niche. This, in turn, not only helps boost sales but also creates a safe and reliable environment where the product line can be extended in the future.
Lastly, the brand management process is crucial to any brand since it helps create an environment where companies can charge a premium price for their products and services to generate more revenue.
Components of Brand Management
Typically, there are three components in the process of brand management. They are
- Brand Recognition
- Brand Equity
- Brand Loyalty
The first component in the process of product and brand management is brand recognition. Brand recognition refers to the ability of companies to evoke a positive emotion in the mind of consumers when they see a particular brand. This is especially important when new products are launched in the market, and the brand owners must make informed decisions to make the brand more recognizable.
In order to build strong brand recognition abilities in the minds of consumers, companies need to provide a consistent visual or auditory learning experience. Some examples of brands that have created strong brand recognition include Nike and Dunkin Donuts. The slogan of Nike, ”Just Do It,” has become so popular that, even without seeing the brand’s logo, customers can recall it just from the slogan itself. Similarly, consumers easily recognize Dunkin Donuts, just from their logo’s orange and pink typography, even before the words are spelled out.
Brand equity, the second element in the process of product brand management, refers to the commercial value of a particular product. Simply put, it is the brand’s value as a separate asset. Brand equity is built over a long period with the help of positive experiences, demonstrated value, and associations.
The third component of the brand management process is brand loyalty. Similar to brand equity, brand loyalty refers to the strong relationship between consumers and brands. A customer may recognize a brand and may even display strong positive value towards the brand. However, if customers, due to any reason, are easily swayed to switch to a competitor, then brand management has failed.
Brand loyalty cannot be built overnight. It requires a lot of effort and patience. In order to create a strong relationship with consumers, brands must first understand the needs and demands of their target market. Well-informed decisions can be made once ample market information has been gathered. Furthermore, excellent customer service is also paramount in brand loyalty. Some examples of successful brands that have been able to establish strong brand loyalty with their customers include Pepsi and Coca-Cola.
Brand Management Process
The following list contains all the necessary brand management steps crucial for building brand equity and making it grow over time.
Identification of Planning Process
The first and perhaps the most important step in brand management is to understand the need for strategic planning and ensure that all the departments of the company strictly follow it. The company values should be in perfect alignment with the strategic planning process, and the main aim should be to achieve the mission and vision statement of the said company.
One fantastic example of successful brand management includes Dove, which was launched in the year 1957, and has now left its mark worldwide. The mission of Dove is to make a positive experience of beauty, that is accessible to all women. All its marketing approaches and campaigns based on this idea have led it to its enormous success today.
Following this, it is time for the company to design a proposal plan and analyze its position in the market. In simple terms, this is the stage where a particular brand needs to establish its differentiation point. The brand must highlight to its consumers the various advantages it can offer over its competitors. It should be done after a thorough analysis of the existing competitor brands in the market and an understanding of the current marketing trends and techniques.
Dove positioned itself not just as a soap but as a moisturizing beauty bar, which makes it different from all other soap brands while adding to its USP. However, many competitors have tried to mimic this moisturizing aspect of the brand over the years. Dove had to look for more new ideas and marketing strategies, which ultimately led to the birth of its most hit campaign, ‘the real beauty’.
Once the brand positioning has been established, the company must create a brand that is acceptable to the consumers. It involves tasks such as choosing the various elements of a brand, starting from its logo and color palette to images and slogans. The ultimate goal of these elements is to promote the brand in the market since these are usually the first things that customers tend to notice before trying a product. During this stage, creating solid and unique brand associations that support marketing activities is essential.
Dove’s unique marketing strategies and campaigns are some of the many reasons it has successfully set itself apart from its competitors. Plastic waste is currently one of the biggest challenges faced by the world. To be a part of the solution to this problem, Dove follows the ‘No, Better, Less Plastic’ framework, which tries to eliminate plastic usage by adopting alternative materials and a new packaging format. Furthermore, another successful strategy Dove applied is featuring real women instead of models in their ad campaigns.
Analyzing Brand Performance
Analyzing or measuring a brand’s performance means understanding the effectiveness of marketing programs and activities. During this stage, a brand equity measurement system should also be designed and properly implemented to measure and manage the brand’s profitability. Brand managers will then use the data gathered via the system to form strategic decisions, which will be beneficial for the brand in the short and long run.
Researchers claim that the brand value of Dove was estimated to be $5.1 billion in the year 2021 alone. Furthermore, its innovative ad campaigns have also won various awards both at a global and national level over the past 15 years.
Growth and Sustainment of Brand Equity
Last but not least is defining the brand strategy with the help of various techniques such as brand hierarchy, brand-product mix, and brand portfolio, among others. It also involves managing brand equity over time by considering international factors, market segments, and types of customers.
Dove has slowly emerged as one of the biggest beauty brands worldwide. Over the years, it has expanded its product range by including shampoos, facial skincare, moisturizers, and self-tanning products. What started with a beauty soap bar has now become one of the giants of the beauty industry, and this very growth is the reason behind its sustenance in the market.
The ultimate goal of brand management is to create a specific perception of a particular product or service in the consumer’s mind. With the help of a strategic brand management process, owners can directly impact their profitability and create result-driven marketing campaigns. In today’s world, implementing a successful brand management system has become a necessity for companies to optimize their presence and boost conversions. Detailed knowledge of the latest market trends and techniques is also paramount to understanding the needs and demands of consumers.
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Q: What is the objective of brand management?
Ans: The ultimate goal of brand management is to maximize the unique identity of a brand by effectively maintaining both the tangible and intangible elements of the brand, which include its logo, slogan, name, and personality.
Q: What are some of the most important elements of a brand?
Ans: Eight essential elements make up the cohesive identity of a brand. These include name, logo, color, slogan, image, shape, graphics, and typography. Each element helps a brand stand out from the competition and makes it more memorable in the consumer’s mind.
Q: Are there any features of brand management?
Ans: Yes, there are three main features of brand management, namely,
- Targetability- refers to the specific set of audiences a brand wants to target.
- Awareness- refers to the number of people who know about a particular brand or have heard of it.
- Loyalty- refers to the strong emotional bond between consumers and brands. It is one of the greatest assets that a company can achieve.
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