What Is Brand Management (And How Can I Simplify It)?
Branding has been around for centuries, starting when farm animals were first branded to identify which group they belonged to. It evolved to include symbols imprinted in stonework and baked into bread loaves. It eventually became a way for governments to regulate quality with brand seals.
Today, the practice of distinguishing one brand from another has admittedly gotten more sophisticated compared to those early practices. But that also means it’s a lot more complicated to do correctly. And knowing the right way to market your brand can mean the survival or demise of your business.
Read on to find out what brand management is and how to make managing your brand correctly a whole lot easier…
What brand management is
Brand management is the part of marketing that determines how everyone from prospects to competitors perceive your brand compared to others in the same market. Because the first step to good marketing is to form a relationship with your target audience, brand management strategies should aim to make a good impression based on the target market’s preferences.
Every piece of marketing material that you distribute for your brand contributes to how your brand is perceived by its market. So, you want those materials to create the right impression and emotional connection.
When your brand management strategy is successful, you should see the perceived value of your products or services grow. You should also build a following of loyal customers or clients who are strongly aware of your brand and have developed positive associations with your messages and imagery.
The impression, or message, your brand radiates should express the purpose of your company–your mission and who you intend to reach with it. Having a defined purpose separates your brand from all the others in your market and gives potential buyers a reason to want to do business with you.
And we’re not talking about your functional purpose. The functional purpose of pretty much every company is to make money. That’s a given for most brands. What does your brand do beyond making money for itself? Who does it serve with its products or services?
After all, you can’t make money if you don’t provide something of value.
One of the best ways to relay your brand’s messages and imagery is with quality marketing materials.
Options for marketing material
Marketing material includes any physical or digital items that you have designed with your company’s branding messages, or visual identity.
Elements of visual identity include:
- Illustration styles
- And other design elements
Typically, companies will have a style guide document that outlines guidelines for the brand’s visual identity. Those guidelines should be followed in all marketing materials, whether they are physical or digital, in order to present a cohesive marketing message.
Not following a cohesive style causes confusion in the marketplace and makes it harder for you to form a strong perception of your brand.
Once you have a visual identity determined, where do all those visual elements get displayed? You can build your brand identity with either physical or digital marketing material.
Physical marketing materials include things like t-shirts, stickers, pens, brochures, and car designs with your unique visual elements. Anything you can distribute to people can be used as marketing material to manage your brand identity.
Digital marketing materials include social media posts, online paid ads, and email newsletters, as well as other digital content distributed by your brand.
Remember that brand’s success depends upon its perception in the marketplace. And your marketing materials are the primary way that potential customers or clients form a perception of your brand.
What to put on your marketing material
So what should you be putting on your marketing material? You need something to help you stand out from the competition in addition to your brand’s visual identity. And that something is a unique selling proposition.
Note that a unique selling proposition is not the same as “what makes your product or service stand out from the competition.” Instead, it’s taking that feature and crafting it into a powerful brand message.
A unique selling proposition is a characteristic that identifies your brand to others, often in the form of a tagline. When thinking of your unique selling proposition, keep in mind the purpose that your company serves with its brand identity.
For example, NerdFitness stands out from the huge crowd of health and fitness websites by catering to a very specific type of persona — the nerd.
And Saddleback Leather uses the slogan, “They’ll fight over it when you’re dead.” That’s a great tagline to put on marketing material that has a much stronger impression than just saying their leather bags are the best quality.
Coca-Cola uses uniquely shaped bottles to show customers that they are the real deal and not an imitation.
It’s a good idea to always include your logo with your unique selling proposition, that way people continue to associate the unique characteristic with your brand. The logo is basically your brand’s face. So every time someone sees it, they make an association with your brand. (If your logo is not leaving any kind of impression, a.k.a. is forgettable, then you should definitely reconsider the design!)
When you establish a face and a brand identity to go along with it, you build authority and credibility in your market over time. The longer you maintain a consistent identity, the more recognition and trust you have among buyers of your brand. That’s why it can be so difficult for companies to rebrand.
Once you have a cohesive brand identity, that makes up the template for anything you would ever put on advertisements and other marketing material for your company, or the particular business line your brand identity is associated with.
How much marketing material to have
How much marketing material should you have? Ideally, as much as you can produce and afford. The most successful companies, in terms of fast growth, are those that spend the highest percentage of their revenue on marketing.
In fact, Salesforce, the leader in CRMs, invests 46 percent of their revenue into marketing and sales. And they experience a 25 percent revenue growth year-over-year. Those are pretty impressive results.
The truth is that without marketing, you aren’t going to get much, if any, exposure in your market. Marketing is literally the lifeblood of any business. And the newer or less known your company is, the more time and effort you should be putting into marketing.
How brand management software can help
Remember what we said about making sure your brand presentation stays cohesive? Brand management software, like We Brand, can help with that, especially when you have complex marketing campaigns to juggle.
By keeping all of your brand elements organized with brand management software, you can increase the volume and quality of marketing materials that you release into the market. That means reputation protection and faster credibility growth with your target audience.
Having the right software ensures that as your teams evolve and different individuals take over tasks, your brand identity stays cohesive.
Because most of the elements of your visual identity are stored as digital assets, such as videos, photos, and other media files, the best kind of brand management software is digital asset management.
We Brand is a digital asset management platform that keeps all of your digital assets and marketing material organized. It enables anyone in your organization to access, edit, and distribute content, all while maintaining branding consistency.
Here’s how it works:
- Restrictable branded templates require almost no setup time for your users. The templates allow your team to customize content without making unauthorized changes to the designs.
- Increased employee advocacy ability allows team members to create their own versions of your branded content and spread your message on social media and other material.
- Maintain control of which fonts, colors, and placements are allowed in user content so that your digital assets are always used the way you intend.
- Stop the spread of incorrect information before it starts by putting price reductions and promotion dates into the brand management system.
- Keep up with the speed of digital marketing with a digital asset management system that is accessible from any computer, tablet, or phone. And notify the team when new materials are available.
- Take advantage of user-generated content and employee brand advocacy without worries that someone will make a bad impression on the brand.
- Access previous versions of your templates in case you need to use content that is no longer available in current templates or for A/B testing.
- Feel free to use stock content that We Brand makes available to users, including millions of images and thousands of icons, as well as stickers, banners, and fonts.
Equip anyone on your team to design and customize your marketing materials without ever compromising your brand identity. Check out how We Brand can help your business.