One of the most important aspects of developing a successful business is ensuring attention is focused on brand management.
Your company’s brand must be seen as a leader in your particular industry for continued long-term growth as well as to develop loyal customers.
In this post, I’ll explore:
- What Is Brand Management? (Definition)
- The Importance of Brand Management
- Common Strategic Brand Management Steps
- How Employees Can Shape Your Company’s Brand
What is Brand Management?
From these two words, you might be able to formulate your own definition of brand management. Plus, you’d most likely be correct too.
However, I still want to include the brand management definition in this article so we are all on the same page.
Sound good? (Feel free to skip ahead to the other good parts if you don’t want a recap).
So what is brand management? Essentially, the term describes the design, overall placement, marketing, advertising, and distribution of the product or services that help develop the complete brand personality.
It is also the perception or perceived value your company creates to the market and the relationship between the audience and consumer.
Brand management is also a vital piece of marketing.
This strategy utilizes various techniques and marketing copy to boost market share, company value, and of course a strong brand.
Yet, what brand management really comes down to is trust.
Without developing brand consistency and experiences that also deliver on promises of what your product or services do, you lose potential buyers from choosing your company in their final buying stage.
And consumers generally believe that they can trust your brand to deliver, but if it consistently fails to meet the basic of needs — your trust is broken, damaging your brand credibility.
The Importance of Brand Management
Without having a good brand reputation — consumers, buyers, prospects, and even employees may be skeptical or are unsure of whatever it is your company does and represents.
No matter what industry or what your company provides (like a specific product, service, software, etc.), brand image will play a huge role in growing the business.
Yet, you also do not need to spend tons of marketing dollars on branding and many of the well-known companies themselves do not spend a lot.
Instead, these organizations focus on a strategic brand management process that enhances their brand and makes sure they are highly visible in their markets.
Of course, brand management can include a few different tactics (like spending some money), but it has become a term used more often — and in the digital age – -is valuable for company growth.
Where Brand Management is Impactful
You might think branding and brand management is just strictly impactful on marketing. But a brand should be embraced across your entire organization for success.
Here’s how brand management impacts your entire company:
- Marketing can communicate the value the products and services much easier.
- Sales can interact with prospects more clearly and get a pipeline of leads that better understand the value your company provides.
- Your prospects and current customers have a better understanding of what to expect from your business.
- You create a team of loyal and enthusiastic customer and employee advocates.
- Recruiting for top talent improves as your brand and culture naturally attract people.
Common Strategic Brand Management Steps
When it comes to your company’s image, it will take time to ensure a specific brand strategy is setup for success and long-term growth.
That’s where strategic brand management becomes necessary and important for your team to work on. Without it, your company brand can get messy and be inconsistent.
Here are four steps or “principles of brand management” that are most important and will help your company build a brand in the long-term.
- Brand Positioning – Clearly defining what the brand represents, what your company wants to achieve, and how it should be positioned with respect to competitors. This might be the hardest step as it determines which direction the entire brand should go. This is where research into your industry and differentiators will help shape brand position.
- Brand Marketing – This is where your overall marketing and teams of marketers become important. Items included in this section are the overall marketing initiatives, programs, etc. needed to get the brand messaging and company visible to the masses. Again, research and creativity are necessary to make sure your company sees results.
- Brand Measurement – Once you start marketing the brand, it’s important that your teams are measuring results and monitoring brand performance. This analysis can ensure your progress and that you pivot where need. Additionally you want to compare position with competitors, see how audiences view your brand, etc. Typically, a branding audit will be done and should be done in recurring check-ins.
- Brand Equity – The last part of strategic brand management strategy is maintaining and expanding the brand equity and value. Making sure your brand continues to grow, improve your products and services, and can tap into related industries to be seen as a leader. This part can take years to accomplish, but it is important for your company to work on it and stick with the plan.
- Brand Innovation – Even though you may have a solid brand in place, getting too comfortable can ensure your company falls behind as the world evolves. If you want your company to stay relevant, that means innovation will be very valuable. What customers expect and the changes in technology, means your brand needs to find ways to be creative. Being openminded and trying new things can keep your brand from going stale.
How Employees Can Shape Your Company’s Brand
There are a lot of brand growth techniques, but one that companies’ should focus on utilizing is what they have internally. By that, I mean your company’s workforce and the value they can bring to the brand.
Of course, marketing and brand marketing is important and certainly shapes the way audiences view your company’s brand.
But, employees from all departments will actually accelerate brand visibility and are important to include in your brand management strategy.
Any good strategic brand management strategy should focus on how to get employees advocating on the company’s behalf. The simplest way is to activate them online and encourage content sharing to their social media networks.
Here are two main reasons this is important:
Employees protect and defend the brand
As a business, it’s easy for the brand to become a target of unfair, incomplete, irresponsible, skewed criticisms and disparagement on social media.
Hence, when a business can count on a team of employee advocates to help shape and reshape social-media chatter, the business stands much better odds of being able to control and bring balance to what’s being said.
Of course, you will still have unhappy people and potential internet trolls via social or review sites.
But prospects seeing employees being proactive, responsive, and sharing content can help keep the level of transparency and positivity flowing.
Related: Learn how to build your company brand by utilizing employees and transforming employees into thought leaders. Download the complete guide.
Helps grow brand visibility and develop brand trust
Before I dive in, I thought it would make sense to share these few stats first:
- The average employee across the companies that use our platform has a network of over 1,500 connections (Source)
- Brand messages reached 561% further when shared by employees vs the same messages shared via official brand social channels (Source)
- Brand messages are re-shared 24x more frequently when distributed by employees vs a brand (Source)
- A Nielsen study showed that 84% of people trust recommendations and content from people they know (friends, family, and colleagues)
Those four above stats should paint a picture in your head as to why employees are valuable assets for your company branding.
Employees have a direct connection to hundreds, if not thousands of people your company may not be reaching.
Extrapolate that between your entire workforce (or even a portion of employees sharing and creating content) and your brand can grow exponentially without spending thousands a month on advertising.
The more attention your company content receives and the more engagement and consumption, the greater your brand awareness and overall trust will develop.
Related: Here’s how Dell activated and employee sharing program to boost brand management, leads, and maximize social reach. Download the case study here.
Brand management is one of the most important pieces to fueling your company’s growth and without focusing on a trustworthy image, you can easily be losing in the purchasing decision.
It’s important to understand what tactics and strategies can help your company continue to develop brand visibility and take your company to the next level.
Also, just because you’re not on the level of Apple or Starbucks, doesn’t mean you actually need a massive budget to devote to branding.
Your marketing department will have many tools and tactics that can elevate company brand, but it will take all departments to work together to make the branding great.
It’s why all employees at a company are incredibly valuable in shaping the company brand and how your products or services are perceived by the market.
Many companies underestimate the value their internal workforce can have on the image of their brand.
But give them the opportunity and tools to make sharing company content easy. Your company’s brand will reap the benefits.