Brand management is important to every organization as it has become one of the key aspects of business strategy. With the advent of the internet and the smartphone, target audiences can now be reached through a plethora of media – print, website, email, radio, TV, social media, etc. Successful organizations are able to maintain consistency around their branding and messaging no matter which marketing channel is used. Organizations are more successful with a recognizable and consistent brand name than those without.
What is Brand Management?
Brand management is the continuous process of creating a positive association between your organization’s audience and your product or service. Everything that your audience interacts with you – be it website pages, direct mail pieces, advertising on the radio, packaging, press releases, or customer support – needs to reflect your organization’s values. The end goal is to make your audience think of you first when they need to purchase what you are selling.
Who is Responsible for Brand Management?
Arguably, everyone in your organization is responsible for brand management, but there are several possible roles that this task typically belongs to. A brand manager would be responsible for creating the brand strategy for your organization’s target audience. They would be tasked to maintain brand integrity across all organizational marketing communications. Unless your organization is quite large, you may not have the resources to support a brand manager.
Your marketing department would be the responsible group for performing these tasks if a specific role is not part of your organizational structure. This department should already be consistently using organizational logos, branding and messaging and would be the key undertakers of brand management.
If you would prefer to out-source your brand management, there are many brand management companies that would be willing to perform this task for you. The majority of these companies are also design agencies.
For truly successful brand management, you really need to get ALL of your employees to buy into managing your brand as they are the ones interacting with your audience every day!
How to Rally your Employees Around your Brand
Every organization has employees and they are absolutely essential to successful branding. The better your organization can communicate what your brand means, the better your employees can become brand evangelists. There are many techniques to help your employees with this.
You can use employee onboarding along with an employee handbook or welcome manual. Include the story of your brand, perhaps how it all started, your vision and why it’s important. This should also be followed up with regular updates as brand management should always be evolving.
Organizational activities, both during and outside of normal working hours, can be used to reinforce your brand messaging and culture among your employees. Perhaps using one of these activities to get your employees’ input surrounding your brand will further empower them to be brand ambassadors?
Provide tools to your employees to help them consistently represent your brand.
What Tools Help with Brand Management?
If you would like to manage your brand in-house, or simply would like to help your employees rally around your brand, there are many tools available to help. Some of these tools will help with certain aspects of brand management and may require additional tools.
A visual identity program or brand style guide will lay out the rules on how to communicate your brand. As the single most important tool to manage your brand, it will serve as a reference to all the organization’s employees, and potentially some vendors, for all of your marketing channels (website, marketing collateral, social media, etc.).
A Digtal Asset Management (DAM) system is an important tool to manage your brand. This system will allow you to organize and share brand assets from a central storage location in-house or possibly in the cloud.
A web to print online ordering system can also be a very useful tool in managing your brand, particularly if you have a lot of print marketing materials, forms or promotional items. In some ways similar to a DAM, web to print systems can house pre-approved branded materials to maintain consistency. They can also reduce costs through economies of scale and reduce time to market via fast order processing and providing a catalogue of options in a centralized, private storefront. A fine example of web to print system is OOSys.
Newsletters, via email or mail, and direct mail marketing pieces are great ways to build brand awareness and loyalty especially with regular intervals. Printed newsletters have some critical benefits over email newsletters as discussed in this article.
But is Brand Management Really Important?
Just as every organization strives to provide a consistent, positive and dependable service or product so, too, do organizations want to provide that with their brand. Even post-secondary educational institutions are now offering courses specific to brand management! (Check out Cornell University and UCLA, for examples.) Successful brand management will lead to increased brand awareness and loyalty and will influence your audience’s purchase decisions in your favour. Successful brand management will lead to happy customers who will advocate for your brand and increase your bottom line. This is what makes brand management so important!