Successful brands don't consist of a few images, a product offer, and good fortune. They’re developed through a continuous process of strategic brand management. And this isn’t limited to centralizing digital assets or maintaining brand consistency across various touchpoints. It involves a long-term strategy called strategic brand management that enables your organization to build, manage, and expand your brand in an effective manner.
This article will dive deep into what strategic branding is, the importance of strategy, and how you can create a brand management process for your brand.
Let’s start with what strategic brand management is.
What is strategic brand management?
Strategic brand management is a set of techniques that a brand uses to select a branding strategy and measure its effectiveness to achieve the following:
- Gain brand recognition.
- Strengthen brand identity.
- Maximize brand success.
In essence, its primary goal is to promote a brand and gain the necessary recognition to beat competitors and become successful.
Consequently, the organization can meet long-term business objectives, increase the value of its products and services, and stay ahead of its competitors.
Note: Brand management shouldn’t be confused with branding, as the former refers to the strategies an organization uses to manage its identity, while the latter refers to creating a distinct identity for the organization.
Benefits of strategic brand management
With the proper brand management strategy, a company can improve its brand loyalty and value perception and create a powerful sense of familiarity with its customers. Ultimately, this will lead to the following benefits for the organization:
- Increases the appeal and differentiation of a brand.
- Improves customer retention.
- Boosts employee engagement and alignment.
- Reduces vulnerability to competitive marketing actions.
- Improves the effectiveness of marketing communication (MarCom).
How to create a brand management strategy?
Here are the steps you should follow to come up with a brand development strategy that works for your organization.
1. Determine your brand positioning and company values
One of the most important aspects of developing a solid brand management strategy is determining the brand’s positioning and the company's goals.
This is difficult as it requires some thought and time, but here’s what you can do to make it easier:
- Research your competitors’ positioning to learn how they differentiate themselves from other players in the industry.
- Based on the information above, create a list of your company’s values and create your own brand space so you’ll be able to find a niche position resonating with your audience.
- Lastly, integrate the brand values into your products, brand assets, and customer service so it doesn’t fall by the wayside.
2. Build a brand management system
One of the most important aspects of a well-executed brand management strategy is keeping your communications on-brand. So, centralizing your brand definitions, assets, creatives, and essentials is a must whether you're a one-person show or a global enterprise (especially so).
This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Traditionally, you’d create PDF brand guidelines and direct stakeholders to a collection of creatives and assets stored on Google Drive or Dropbox to educate them on how they should use your brand.
The other option is to use a cloud-based digital brand home like Artwork Flow for your company. It allows you to create a centralized space for your brand guidelines, find its latest version and share it throughout your organization with nothing more than a link.
It also provides libraries that host your creatives and assets and assists employees in using the right assets for the right project - this is known as digital asset management.
3. Create marketing materials
To best reflect the ideals you intend to communicate to your customers through promotions, create or update brand elements such as logos, photos, slogans, and symbols.
Think about the words and phrases you use in your slogans, the representation in your pictures, and the color schemes you use in your symbols and logos. Each of these factors mentally affects how consumers view a brand or product.
You may establish a strong, distinctive, and positive brand association through visual and aural relationships by creating unified marketing materials.
4. Monitor your brand’s reputation
The way you present your brand can influence its reputation, but your target market may also be swayed by other people's opinions and remarks.
So, you need to keep an eye on your brand's reputation using social media listening tools and monitor your online channels. This will uphold a positive image, boost brand trust and exert more control over the brand's influence among consumers.
5. Conduct a brand audit
Once you’ve established your brand management strategy, you must evaluate and improve its effectiveness for the greatest impact. The best way to do this is through brand audits and depending on the time and resources you have, you can conduct an audit internally or hire an external agency.
Whichever path you choose, ensure you cover these three areas:
- Internal branding: company culture, brand positioning, and brand values.
- External branding: public relations, social media, websites, newsletters, print and online advertisements, marketing materials, and content marketing
- Customer experience: includes both the online and offline sales process and customer assistance.
In addition to this, make sure you also conduct regular interviews with your customers to understand how they see your brand. This will help you find gaps between how you want your customers to perceive your brand and how your customers actually perceive your brand.
Types of brand management strategies
There are different types of brand management strategies companies may use to shape consumer opinion. These include:
1. Brand name recognition
A brand's size, product line, and years of establishment may all have an impact on its value and recognition.
So, larger and well-established businesses like Apple use their brand name to entice customers to purchase their items.
2. Attitude branding
Attitude branding focuses more on the overall brand personality and less on marketing a particular item or product.
It appeals to specific emotions like calmness, excitement, or other positive attributes that aren't directly associated with the brand itself. This helps marketers influence how the public views their brand.
For instance, Redbull, the energy drink brand, appeals to youth with a penchant for adventure, so its branding and content are centered around creating a sense of excitement.
3. Brand extension
Brand extension is the tactic of using the brand name to develop new or altered items to broaden the appeal of the already established brand.
Creating a new flavor of potato chips for a firm that sells them or the same company entering a new, untouched market, such as developing a line of protein snack trays, are examples of brand extension.
How Artwork Flow helps in strategic brand management
Artwork Flow is a collaboration tool specifically for marketers who want to simplify their creative process.
It helps you establish a robust brand development strategy by allowing you to centralize your assets and marketing materials, ensuring brand consistency with the aid of proofing tools integrated within the brand compliance software.
This, in turn, helps educate stakeholders on how they should use your brand and help you gain more control over how your customers perceive your brand on various channels.