Brand Management

Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time. Sometimes it will be ahead, other times, it will be behind. But brand is simply a collective impression some have about a product."

Brand Management Brand Management

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Table of contents

    - Elon Musk

    A significant part of brand management involves shaping customer perceptions about your brand. However, there is more to brand building than just choosing logos, brand names, and web designs. Brand managers have to build, innovate, and maintain a cohesive and favorable image around the brand. Want to find out how? Read along and become an expert in branding.

    Brand Management Definition

    Brand management is vital to customer engagement. A brand manager's job is to create positive brand experiences and perceptions within consumer groups. Positive brand sentiment can lead to repeat purchases and brand loyalty.

    Brand management is the process of managing the promotion of a brand.

    A brand marketer has to ensure brand messages are communicated effectively across all communications channels. All promotional campaigns must contribute to greater brand awareness and preference. To do so, branding activities should be customer-centric - that is, conveying only what is relevant and valuable to customers.

    Importance of Brand Management

    One key aspect of brand management is communicating the brand position. The first step to developing a strong brand position is determining the company's purpose, values, and envisioned future.

    A strong brand position will help companies connect more deeply with customers while ensuring cohesive organizational operations.

    Take a look at our explanation of Brand Positioning to learn more.

    For larger brands, it is important to review the brand values against the company's strategic goals.

    For example, Tupperware has been around since the 1940s. Since then, both the brand and society have gone through many changes. Tupperware was often associated with moms and grandmas packing lunches and dinner leftovers. However, the brand decided it was time for a change and to focus on empowering women and small business owners. A couple of years ago, Tupperware chose to change its brand image - to more fun and vibrant one - and refocused its brand values to communicate the people-centric nature of the company.1

    Brand management also plays a crucial role in creating brand equity. Brand equity means creating positive associations with the brand in consumers' minds. Building positive brand equity can result in:

    • Increased customer loyalty,

    • Increase profit,

    • Effective brand extensions,

    • Access to new markets and channels,

    • Effective communications,

    • Long-term customer relationships.

    Check out our explanation of Brand Equity to learn more.

    Types of Brand Management

    Marketers may use various types of brand management techniques to reach different customer groups (see Figure 1 below). Let's take a closer look at some of them:

    Brand Management: Emotional Branding

    Marketers use emotional branding to connect with customers on a deeper level. Beyond outlining a product's characteristics and benefits, emotional branding allows customers to view the product as more than just a good or service.

    Emotional branding includes framing a product or a brand in a way whereby the customer becomes emotionally invested in it.

    There are many emotions marketers may try to evoke, but generally, the four most common ones are:

    • Humour - can be effective for creating awareness and sparking communication.

    • Fear - is used to grab the consumer's attention and induce a purchase.

    • Empathy - may be used to stimulate shared experiences between the customer and the brand.

    • Nostalgia - can evoke a familiar feeling within the target customer segment.

    For example, Nike's "Just Do It" brand approach encourages customers to better themselves and feel like professional athletes.

    Brand Management: Cultural Branding

    Cultural branding is a brand management technique that helps companies to address customers' societal and cultural needs. Its goal is to make people automatically associate the brand with certain cultural contexts.

    Cultural branding can address a variety of consumers, including cultural subgroups.

    Brands may also decide to champion a cause. That shows customers that the brand stands for something bigger than the product itself. For example, a brand can champion a cultural and environmental cause.

    Ben & Jerry's is known for taking a stand against environmental and social injustices. The brand advocates for various causes like campaigning for underprivileged children, protecting the environment, and using locally sourced, non-GMO ingredients.2

    Brand Management: Innovative Branding and Online Brands

    Brand managers may also adopt an innovative approach when handling consumer behaviour changes. As society changes, consumers' wants and needs also change. Changes are not comfortable, but they can bring new opportunities for the company.

    For example, when Netflix was founded, the company delivered physical DVDs to customers' houses. As Netflix noticed a shift in consumer behavior - consumers increasingly seeking out entertainment online - it developed a platform for streaming thousands of movies and TV shows online.

    As with Netflix, many companies have decided to move their brands online. Driving brands online requires managers to adopt new business models and communications strategies. However, it may also result in many benefits from a brand management point of view. For example, marketers learn much more about customers through their digital purchasing patterns. Additionally, digital channels may also allow for rapid international expansion.

    Strategic Brand Management

    The role of brand managers goes beyond creating effective positioning and communications strategies. Many companies have an extensive portfolio of different brands, which requires much effort to build a cohesive brand image. This is where brand managers have to make strategic decisions.

    Most brands must innovate to stay relevant with customers and survive competitive markets. However, innovations and brand extensions have to be planned carefully to avoid the risk of losing brand equity. To examine this concept in more detail, let's look at the 'perimeter of brand extensions' model (see Figure 2 below).

    • The inner core represents the brand as it is perceived by customers right now - what the brand is known for.

    • The outer core represents the immediate associations that come to mind when considering brand extensions. For instance, when conducting market research, interviewees may be asked to describe what they think would be a natural subsequent product development for the brand.

    • The extension zone is also known as the latent potential zone. This area represents potential untapped markets and product developments that could present opportunities for the brand. During the market research process, subjects may be asked to evaluate the extent to which the new products link to or differ from the brand's inner core.

    • The no-go zone represents extensions with weak connections to the brand's core, which customers may perceive as far-fetched from the brand's core values.

    For brand extensions to be successful, customers must see the link between the new product or brand and the brand's overall core purpose. The further away the new development is from the core, the less natural the extension will seem.

    Brand and line extensions may be successful in leveraging brand equity. However, to sustain brand equity, brand managers may have to rebrand, reposition, or extinguish a brand altogether from their portfolios.

    For example, luxury fashion house Gucci noticed that its brand was not as appealing to younger generations as it was to older generations. As a result, in 2015, it repositioned its brand to showcase its modern luxury appeal, appointed a new creative director, and started using digital communications tools to entice younger customers. This rebranding strategy changed customers' attitudes towards the brand and resulted in higher profits for Gucci.3

    Brand Management Example

    Before we conclude this session, let's consider an example of brand management in action.

    In 1879, James N. Gamble, a Procter & Gamble (P&G) founder's son, noticed that people were using two different bars of soap; one for personal hygiene and one for laundry. He then created a new type of soap that could be used for both - Ivory Soap. This soap became one of the company's most iconic initial brands.4 Later on, the company extended its product mix to include brands like VapoRub (invented in 1894), Tide laundry powder (1946), Head & Shoulders anti-dandruff shampoo (1961), and the Swiffer floor cleaner (1998).4 In addition to numerous product innovations, Procter & Gamble started acquiring various brands that were either immediate associations or had latent potential to build up its now massive product portfolio.

    Brand management - Key takeaways

    • Brand management ensures that a brand's positioning and values are communicated to consumers effectively.
    • A brand manager's goal is to create positive brand experiences and thus a favorable perception of the brand within consumer groups.
    • Managers shape positive brand attitudes to encourage repeat purchases and brand loyalty.
    • Emotional branding includes framing a product or a brand in a way whereby the customer becomes emotionally invested in it.
    • Strategic brand management encapsulates the decision-making process behind managing brand portfolios.
    • To sustain brand equity, brand managers may have to rebrand, reposition, or extinguish a brand from their portfolios.

    References

    1. Katy French. 25 Impressive Rebranding Examples (Plus Tips For Your Rebrand). Column Five. 2022. https://www.columnfivemedia.com/awesome-rebrand-examples/
    2. Ben & Jerry's. 10 Things You Didn't Know We Did. 2022. https://www.benjerry.co.uk/whats-new/2014/corporate-social-responsibility-history#:~:text=Ben%20founded%201%25%20For%20Peace,proceeds%20to%201%25%20for%20Peace.
    3. Keith Peterson. 5 Successful Brand Repositioning Examples. Marx Communications. https://marxcommunications.com/brand-repositioning-examples/
    4. Procter & Gamble. P&G History. https://www.pg.co.uk/pg-history/
    Frequently Asked Questions about Brand Management

    What does brand management mean?

    Brand management is vital to customer engagement. A brand manager's job is to create positive brand experiences and perceptions within consumer groups. Thus, brand management ensures that a brand's positioning and values are communicated to consumers effectively. 

    What is the difference between brand management and marketing?

    Brand management is an area within marketing. Brand management ensures that a brand's position and values are communicated to consumers effectively. In addition, brand management involves managing brand extensions and rebrands and finding innovative ways of targeting and appealing to new consumer groups.

    Is brand management part of marketing?

    Yes, brand management is part of marketing. Marketers may use various brand management techniques to reach different customer groups.

    What is the objective of brand management?

    The objective of brand management is to communicate a brand's positioning and values to customers. A brand manager's job is to create positive brand experiences and perceptions within consumer groups. Positive brand sentiment can lead to repeat purchases and brand loyalty.

    What are the fundamentals of brand management?

    The fundamentals of brand management include communicating the brand's position and values. A strong brand position will help companies connect more deeply with customers while ensuring cohesive organisational operations. Brand management is also vital to creating brand equity. Brand equity aims to create positive associations with the brand in consumers' minds.

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

    A brand manager's goal is to create positive ________ and thus a favourable perception of the brand within consumer groups.

    One of the essential aspects of brand management is being customer-centric - understanding what customers want and need.

    Brand managers must build a strong brand _______ as it helps customers connect with the brand and ensures that the inter-organisational operations are cohesive.

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