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Everything you need to know about brand management.

What is brand management? What do brand managers do? What is the difference between brand management and marketing? What does brand management mean?

Brand management is the process of proactively protecting and enhancing the value of a brand. The brand management process includes ensuring consistency in branding across all customer touchpoints, as well as developing and executing initiatives that will strengthen the brand's competitive advantage. Many businesses today are realizing the importance of investing in brand management services in addition to daily marketing efforts. In this blog post, we'll discuss what brand management is and why it's important for businesses to invest in it.

In order to successfully manage a brand, you must first have a clearly defined brand strategy in place. This will provide the framework for all of your brand management process. The brand strategy should define what your brand stands for, who your target audience is, and what your differentiators are. Once you have a clear understanding of these elements, you can strategically position your brand around them which will, in turn, give your customers and stakeholders a consistent reason to believe.

The brand management process is a complex one, but some of the most important aspects include brand identity, brand equity, and brand positioning. Brand identity is how the public perceives your brand. Your identity includes your name, logo, colors, messaging platforms, and your overall look and feel. Brand equity is the value that your customers place on your brand, and is rooted in customer experience. It's what makes them loyal to you and willing to pay a premium for your product or service. Brand positioning focuses on key differentiators and creates separation between your brand and other options in the market. These three key areas are the foundation for successful brand management.

First, let's focus on brand identity and your organization’s personality. If established correctly, your brand identity should have been created so everything experienced visually and audibly is done with consistency and intention. When customers come face to face with a marketing campaign or walk up to your booth at a trade show, they will be reminded of every other time they've interacted with your brand. If it's their first experience, it should set the tone for what to expect in the future to create a baseline for synergy. Maintaining this brand consistency can be difficult, especially when multiple resources are creating assets for your organization. Therefore, having a robust brand guidelines document to reference will provide a north star to guide their design and either validate or contest their creation so stability is maintained. This will empower resources to make informed decisions and eliminate uncertainties. Even with a proper brand guide accessible, your brand manager should conduct a regular audit to ensure that rules are being followed and consistency is maintained.

If your organization is large enough to require a digital asset management (DAM) tool, be sure that it's maintained and updated regularly so sales teams and influencers have current assets at their disposal. Another option is to use a file storage and synchronization platform such as Google Drive or Dropbox to keep everything created for your brand in one easily accessible spot. At Quill Creative Studio, we use Google Drive shared folders for all organizing and sharing assets with customers. At any time, you can access current files and easily share them with production partners or other stakeholders without the need to constantly attach large files to emails.

The second pillar of the brand management process is brand equity. Let's say that a customer interacts with some display ads, reaches a landing page, and makes a purchase. Game over, right? Wrong! The experience that a customer has after their purchase is where brand equity is built. Packaging, instructions, follow-up efforts to encourage positive reviews, warranties, etc. fall outside core marketing efforts and can be the difference between a one-time customer and repeat business. If the customer’s experience beyond initial purchase is tailored to exceed expectations, the lifetime value of that customer will increase exponentially. Giving attention to customer experience is a core area of focus during the brand management process.

It's important to not only focus on the post-purchase experience, but to also work backwards to understand what it took for that customer to reach the point of purchase in the first place. This is where brand positioning comes into play. By understanding your competition and what makes you unique, you can develop a strategy for how to strengthen your position in the market and provide sustainable competitive advantages. Undertaking branded initiatives aimed at highlighting key differentiators will provide long-term benefits and give customers reasons to believe.

In conclusion, the brand management process is a proactive one that ensures consistency and impact throughout all efforts. It's important to focus on three key areas: brand identity, brand equity, and brand positioning. Establishing and maintaining control of these pillars will result in a strong brand that will gain momentum like a flywheel.

If your marketing efforts result in adequate sales, that's wonderful. Now imagine how much you could increase the return on investment (ROI) from each sale if you had a properly managed brand and an intentional customer experience. Contact Quill Creative Studio to start a conversation with an experienced brand manager today.