Strategic Brand Management: Definition and How To Create Your Own
Strategic brand management is a tactic meant to support companies in their efforts to gain or improve brand recognition, increase revenue and meet their long-term business goals. Choosing the most effective brand management strategy for your organization may help you achieve these items. In this article, we discuss what strategic brand management is, why it's important, the types of strategies available and how to create your own.
What is strategic brand management?
Strategic brand management is the process of using words, images and techniques to show customers what makes your brand unique. It helps establish a brand and promotes its products in the financial marketplace. The word "strategic" means that the process is long term and incorporates every aspect of the brand, across channels through continuous review and updating. Brand management builds the unique identity of an organization and affects areas such as quality and customer interactions. Some companies may use strategic brand management to get global recognition or increase the perceived value of their products or services.
Related: Learn How To Become a Brand Manager
Why is strategic brand management important?
Strategic brand management may help a company grow in specific areas that help sustain the business in the future. It may improve brand perception through trust, increase quality customer service and keep and create loyal customers. Strategic brand management may help differentiate your brand from your competitors or make your marketing communications more dynamic or memorable. It can increase employee loyalty and create alignment among different branches or sectors of the same company. Strategic brand management may also help your company avoid repercussions from a drastic market change, accelerate trade cooperation and promote licensing opportunities.
Related: 4 Steps To Building a Brand
How to create a brand strategy
Use these steps to learn how to create a brand strategy:
1. Create a list of company values
Make a list of all the things that are important to your company and brand. Items may include how you interact with customers, qualities you hope your employees embody or the types of raw materials you use or suppliers with whom you work. Write down all your value points and put them in a document or cloud-based system that's accessible to everyone in the organization. This document can help you decide how to shape your brand strategy.
2. Determine brand positioning
Conduct an industry analysis to determine where your brand position is located among its competitors. Since one aspect of brand strategy is understanding how your product or company is different or better than its competition, understanding where your brand currently stands can help you identify areas of improvement. Explore if your brand could fill a niche market that targets your audience.
3. Align brand positioning and values
Compare your values document to the results of your brand positioning analysis to better understand if your own perception of your company and that of your target audience align. Understanding what points resonate with your customers and in which areas you can improve may help you discover the most unique elements of your brand and plan a wide cross-reaching strategy.
4. Create marketing materials
Create or update brand elements such as logos, images, slogans and symbols to best reflect the values you hope to share with your customers through promotions. Consider the language and wording of your slogans, the representation in your images and the color schemes in your symbols and logos. Each of these elements psychologically influences how people perceive a product or brand. Creating cohesive marketing materials allows you to make a strong, unique and favorable brand association through visual and auditory links.
5. Plan your marketing programs
Create advertising campaigns that prominently display your marketing materials and display the values and brand positioning of your company. Using the marketing materials can help customers make shape their attitudes and feelings about your brand and associate them with your images or slogans. Consider campaigns such as print advertising, film and television commercials or trailers, radio ads, social media strategies or other options that share your message with customers.
Related: How To Create a Brand Marketing Campaign
6. Monitor your brand's reputation
After the rollout of a new brand management strategy or the launch of a new marketing campaign, monitor social media and other customer interaction channels to see how people react to and interact with your brand. Understand what digital channels are most popular with your target audience and which new ones may help expand your reach. Note all positive and negative publicity to understand where you're successful and where you can make changes.
You can shape your brand's reputation from the image you communicate, but feedback, reviews and comments of others may also influence your target audience. For this reason, monitoring your brand reputation and maintaining a favorable status may allow you to increase brand trust and have more control over the brand's influence in the eyes of the public.
7. Centralize your brand materials
Centralize your brand materials so they're accessible by all company creatives. Developing a good, quality brand management communication system is one of the most important aspects of a brand management strategy because it ensures that everyone understands the goals and missions of the campaign and can distribute them across all channels.
How you centralize your brand definitions, assets and essentials may be different for each company. A common way is to create a brand guidelines document, similar to a style guide, that includes brand language to use or avoid, ways to interact with your target audience through certain channels, templates for emails or automatic replies and other standardized marketing and communication items. Consider distributing your document to all creatives through virtual means, such as email, and making it available in a cloud-based system for reference.
Related: Brand Voice: Definition and How To Find Yours
8. Measure and analyze your brand's performance
Continue to monitor the progress and success of your campaigns. Perform a brand audit at designated intervals to check the overall status of your brand with your target audience. You may conduct this process internally or with an external agency depending on your company size and financial resources. Areas to evaluate include:
Internal branding: Items like company culture, brand positioning and brand values
External branding: Items like marketing materials and print and online advertising
Customer experience: Items like in-person and virtual customer support and sales processes
Ensure that all these components share a consistent message across your brand and channels and that you present the same persona in person as you do virtually. Some of these elements you can measure with numerical data, such as the reach of online advertising. You may also engage with customers through feedback surveys or focus groups to get additional information. Consider conducting a brand audit regularly, even once per quarter, to ensure you're meeting your expected goals.
Types of brand management strategies
Types of brand management strategies that companies may use to shape consumer opinion include:
Brand name recognition
Companies use brand name recognition to encourage customers to recognize and purchase their products based on name alone. The success of this strategy may depend on the size of the brand, its product range and years of establishment. Older and larger companies may have more initial success with this strategy. Brands may use slogans, logos and even company colors to promote their products and create brand name recognition.
Businesses use individual branding when they have a smaller product or brand under a larger parent company. Marketers may implement this strategy to avoid competition among similar subsidiaries of the same parent company and establish a unique identity for the new or focus product.
Attitude branding focuses less on the marketing of a specific item or product and more on the overall brand personality. It involves appealing to particular feelings such as peace, excitement or other favorable qualities that aren't directly related to the brand itself. In doing this, marketers may help shape audience attitudes towards their company. Slogans and taglines are examples of tools teams may use to enforce attitude branding.
Brand extension is the strategy of using the brand name to create new or modified products to increase the reach of the existing brand. Examples of brand extension may include creating a new flavor of potato chips for a company that sells them or that same company moving into another untapped market, like creating a line of protein snack trays.
Private labeling is a strategy used by supermarkets or other retailers that sell a variety of products from different companies to compete against the brands they carry. You may also recognize private labels as store brands or generic brands. This tactic creates similar but less expensive products that compete with name brands that allow host stores to capitalize on the markets of products which they stock and sell for other companies.
Crowdsourcing is a brand management strategy that allows a company's target audience to engage in their marketing efforts. For example, an organization may hold a contest to allow the public to vote on a new flavor of soda and submit names for the new product. This strategy may allow for wider brand promotion and may recruit new customers.
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